Keeping a good team working well whilst the people in the team get older.
We have plenty of examples of people who lose their capacity for accurate, realistic and logical thinking as they age. In Britain one only needs to look at Gordon Brown whose critical faculties failed him in his latter years as Chancellor of the Exchequer or Sir Fred Goodwin (‘Fred the Shred’) who suddenly had delusions of complete infallibility.
All employers, as does society as a whole, need to develop a modus operandi which recognises that people’s performance peaks and the balance between knowledge, experience, speed of thinking and movement, and the ability to implement changes or even to do routine tasks, alters over a length of time.
Currently the style is “If you’re past a predetermined age, you’re thrown out” (unless you are an owner or you’re in overall charge, when for some reason the rules are just ignored) with disastrous damage to the individual and huge costs on society. The only criterion being a set age is obviously not appropriate as we are all different. Somehow we need to develop a continuous ‘review, retrain and recognise’ culture that runs through the whole of our working lives.
It needs to be based on a proven routine for measuring each person’s
capabilities and comparing this performance with earlier performance to identify new learning and earning opportunities. The success of the health profession could then be measured on their success in extending society’s effectiveness rather than just extending their lives. This route would also mean that education comes under the auspices of the health profession
Whilst we know it will be imperfect to begin with, we can use tools that are available to us now. One of the tests we may use is IQ tests even though we know that IQ tests are inaccurate as they only measure what they can measure. We do know however that brain exercises will cause the IQ scores to increase or certainly to stop the continual deterioration that otherwise occurs.
This as part of a whole range of measurements including eyesight, hearing, mobility, dexterity, will be good for everybody in society. Possibly this will be the underlying bedrock for continuing adult learning.
At present we know some people want to carry on working for a further period, and some for as long as possible. We do know that their physical and mental capabilities will alter and therefore we need to be able to help them adjust to the new roles that we can create for them.
The role of the present employer is crucial as he will be the focal point in finding a useful role for his employee, even though it may be with another organisation, although it may be just a case of providing his employee with more appropriate equipment to use to fulfil their role or of agreeing amended hours of work. If an employee fails to attend the training courses or join in the continuing adult learning then the scope for extending their effectiveness will be severely diminished and curtailed.
This also means that the employee’s hobbies, interests and leisure time activities may become the basis for their next career or job structure.
Actually this is a wonderful opportunity for society as it will create a huge increase in the working population whilst simultaneously reducing the financial cost of providing pensions for those not well enough to work.