The FMB is working with the Pensions Ageing Society Directorate on the Extending Working Life project (EWL) and the effect it will have on the construction sector.
This initiative aims to prepare and advise the sector of the procedures which need to be in place when the Default Retirement Age (DRA) of 65 is abolished in October this year.
Some managers and supervisors can be unsure of how to behave towards workers of different ages, so here are some tips that will help combat managers’ fears particularly if they have concerns about managing workers who may be older than themselves, or older than workers they have managed in the past.
Tips for supervising employees of all ages
Reduce the risks of prejudice
Get to know everyone who works for you and encourage them to get to know each other – this helps break down barriers and avoids people making assumptions or using stereotypes. In some companies, socialising after (or outside work) is discouraged but spending a bit of time together as a team often delivers results, a friendly pint after work would do the trick – people can learn they have more in common than they expected. Getting to know people helps everyone to stop labelling and assuming things.
Understand the facts
Be aware of individual circumstances, for instance where people having caring responsibilities or health issues. Some colleagues may be shy about sharing personal information, so they will have never told you they have a health problem or have need to care for a partner or child.
Help colleagues avoid self-stereotyping
Work with employees to encourage them to see their own potential at whatever age they are and help them challenge their own assumptions about their capabilities.
Nip poor performance in the bud
Be brave - don't put off tackling someone's poor performance because of an assumption you have made that they are too old or too young for the job. Think about why their performance is poor.
Try to accommodate flexible working options and establish a pattern of working that fits with people of all ages – this might include flexible hours or shifts.
Be clear about job requirements
If you have thought through the skills and abilities you need from your team, this will not only help you in recruitment, selection, training and promotion decisions, but will ensure that when you discuss their performance you are focused and fair.
For further information speak with your trade body, and there is further support available from ACAS at www.acas.org.uk or DWP at www.businesslink.gov.uk/agepositive