July 29, 2010 Leave a comment
So, at long last, the Default Retirement Age (DRA) is to be scrapped. The decision has been a long time coming but, for all that, it is very welcome and a great step forward. It must be especially pleasing for the various campaigning groups which have been tirelessly working for its abolition.
However, the real winners will be those employees who wish to work past 65 plus the economy in general and we will now see objective evaluation of the vast skill pool of older workers, hitherto consigned to the scrap heap because employers found it convenient and an easy form of “management”.
Nevertheless, as with all decisions, this marks not the end but the start of the real process of change. There is much for legislators to clarify and there is much for employers to tackle. For many it will mean a whole culture change and the application of proper, objective performance management systems instead of a shrug of the shoulders and a “you know it’s not down to me” attitude.
But the real overall winner is age neutrality in the workplace. The implied, associated rigorous and defensible measurements of performance are not confined to older workers – they should be taking place at all ages – and continued employment should be properly earned and justified by employer and employee alike.
It is also not just a question of dealing with those approaching 65. The tendencies to allow people to stagnate, to coast or to “bat out time” through the latter parts of their careers must be fundamentally re-examined for the benefit of all concerned. New ways of managing and engaging staff, flexible working possibilities – all very exciting.
Watch this space!