Increasing company competitiveness through an HR demographic analysis
Knowledge of a company’s characteristics, dynamic and problems related to its entire organization makes it easier to obtain all the advantages that the Age Management toolbox offers.
Credibility and recognition of the proposer skills and capacity are the main factors that make companies ready to take part in the process of an analysis of the HR demographic situation.
In order to reach the expected results, the company working group needs to include all of the decision-makers i.e. top management team members.
Age management project tools allowed managers from different departments in the companies, we consulted, a variety of results: Through those tools we could identify issues right across the whole organization.
What results and impacts could we provide?
Consulted companies shared with us that they could increase their awareness about the relevance of critical and rare skills owned by some of their employees and workers. This made them reflect on the urgency about the how and where to act.
For instance, some managers expressed their intention to adapt the company strategy to the skills of their older workers.
In these cases, a self-diagnosis provided to these workers, showed to be fundamental for the employees as well as for the company.
Another feedback we got by the managers in those companies reports that this HR audit created greater perception on the need and urgency to transfer older workers’ key skills to other younger workmates.
Even in those companies already prepared in Age Management and competencies transfer, the projects helped to redefine their market characteristics based on the analysis of internal skills.
Such audits always provide a huge opportunity for the company to improve their general management of Human Resources. It becomes much clearer what skills need to be further developed and what working groups need to be further created, supported and encouraged.
Greater sensitivity towards retaining evolved skills that are not always available locally, through normal training channels is one of the most important aspects that this audit provides.
Often there is scarse awareness about the real risk and threat that an organization faces, when such profiles and expertise is rare on the labor market or in the close geography.
Result and impact of HR audit
Some of the results and impact of such an HR audit in the organizations that we could see:
- awareness about the need of some training skills for older workers to affect their skills transfer
- To increase intergenerational dialogue in reciprocal respect and enhancement of diversities
- To increase sensitivity to gender differences in the use of professional skills
- To enhance awareness of the needs for some organizational changes (it forces them to compare the skills problem with company strategies for the future)
As far as the consulting method is concerned, it is important to help the companies in planning the information collecting work, scheduling deadlines and checkpoints.
Constant support seems necessary because the tools do not turn out to be effective with an autonomous use, at least for the first run.
Tools such as charts, during our intervention, were particularly appreciated as they enabled visual interpretation of the situation. These tools will be further developed because they are an effective aid in helping perceiving of the described phenomenon.
First benefit was the evolution in management of key skills transfer;
The company top management moved from inconsistent management depending on the presence of a responsible aware of/ or worried by/ the possible retirement of key people, to a preventive structured attitude.
The methodological components, “the tools” used for the HR demographic audit were meant to be clear and easy to use aiming to provide a systematic organization overview (like a helicopter photo)
This “photo” allowed companies to see and focus on the most critical and urgent areas and measures and identify priorities and even designing strategic plans.
One of the tools “the Age tree” visually show how company population is distributed as to age and gender. This makes possible to take specific and concrete decisions regarding how to use older workers time before they retire.
The analysis of age-related risks tool helps companies to highlight specific shortcomings.
Often companies would give particular credit to the use of Self-diagnosis questionnaires for older workers in order to start assessing skills and energies on that side. This is surely something to be taken into consideration for providing precious information that could orient management about how to make the older employee role evolve.
At the same time this appears to be a very delicate question.
Outcomes and Success
First of all, the outcomes cannot be shared with the company, unless this is done by older worker himself. This means a lot of attention must be paid to the communication part: how to communicate about this tool to the older worker, why you are involving him in such an exercise, etc.
Success by such a process is guaranteed by the quality of the relationship among participants (company top management, counterpart, human resources manager, consultants, etc.). Most significant results were achieved when company decision-makers or case management staff or company owners were present. This, in fact, guarantees that decisions made and activities agreed upon will be activated in the company.
Another element that makes the difference by such an audit refers to the communication part expecially returning the analysis, in order to increase motivation to move onto action after each one phase.
And what impact on older workers? Our experience by such a process provided an increased awareness in their professional skills, above all of the strategic ones for supporting company needs.
Our reflection at the end of the project with the organization we recently consulted with on this theme, made us observe that the process added value of:
- supporting development of lifelong education and training, also for middle, smaller companies, educating them to enhance key skills and standardize knowledge
- increasing workers’ awareness about their skills value and contributing to enriching this with new abilities necessary for transferral
- considering the target of older workers, prolonging their presence on the labour market and also promoting intergenerational exchange.
The project should be followed up and monitored over the medium-long term to see results. The implementation stage reveals that the project needs longer application times.
Further intervention could include training HR managers to promote and coordinate HR demographic audits and implementation.
A critical aspect is that it turned out to be more effective to work on the “age theme” starting from the company point of view rather than starting from the older worker.
The project’s strongest points include the fact that HR demographic audit may become the base for creating HR policies in the medium and long term, in alignment with company strategies. It also allows strategic decisions to be made that refer to people and also to their relationship with the customers and market.