Age neutral workforce planning is currently highly relevant to the NHS, as an employer.

NHS workforces are ageing which is creating and will further create significant issues for delivering functions and services. The development of effective age management strategies is a crucial element of success in the NHS

The age-neutral management challenge for NHS employers

The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 make it illegal to discriminate either directly or indirectly, against employees because of age – it makes discrimination on the grounds of age, both older and younger, as unlawful.

An age-neutral management strategy enables NHS organisations to achieve an efficient and competitive edge through organisation specific resources, which in turn provide the stability and continuity in the NHS.

The key is to address the important aspects of planning, design and implementation of an age-neutral management strategy within the context of effective human resources management for NHS organisations.

Maximising your workforce

To maximise your workforce involves consideration of the following:

  • Age-neutral basis for a workforce that supports sound HR principles and business results
  • Matching of a worker to a job on an age-neutral basis
  • Assemble a relevant and supportive workforce planning process understanding of workforce organisation and monitoring of the make-up of the workforce
  • Design and install an appropriate work review and development scheme to support promotion and progression
  • Examine motivational and communication processes to support and encourage the aspirations of the older worker
  • Operate a combination of retention and transition to retirement by adopting positive and flexible arrangements involves good practices

Main factors on age and employment

Chronological age as an institutionalised criteria, which governed:

  • Managerial attitudes towards older workers
  • Equal opportunities for the older worker
  • Perceptions of ageism and attitudes by all people working within the organisation
  • The use of age related criteria
  • Employment practices and employment cycle within an NHS organisation
  • Absence of an age management strategy approach

The central issues of understanding and age-neutral workforce management

Key roles for the manager are:

  • As an employer, ascertain your recruitment and retention of skilled people based upon age-neutral principles and procedures
  • Appreciate the motivational practices of a quality mixed age workforce and the growth and development of the workforce
  • Practice effective communication to promote the management of age diversity among the workforce and support transparency of approach with demonstrations of intentions with positive outcomes.
  • Link career paths to promotion and progression practices and to job design
  • Ensure flexibility in viewing older workers with less formal qualifications by providing access to training related to job requirements rather than any age-related considerations
  • Manage the work-life considerations that influence older workers’ ability to achieve harmony between their paid employment obligations and their roles, responsibilities and activities in their private life

Managing a blended age-neutral workforce - deploying competence across the ages

The process of producing an age neutral management workforce plan involving:

  • Age audit
  • Age profiling
  • Producing the strategy and planning actions
  • Worked example to be included