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Recruiting and Employer Branding Strategy for Employees 40 +: 10 Tips Continuing education in digitization

The digital revolution is making rapid progress, but especially in the IT industry, there is a lack of good young talent. Company should therefore also invest in 40 + employees through HR management, targeted training and agile corporate strategies. 10 tips how to do that.

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Training against skills shortage?

"Life never stops learning." Behind this quote from Michael Marie Jung (* 1940), among others Professor, Executive coach and coach is a message that can be seamlessly transferred to our current world of work. Learning processes have long ceased to be an entry into the world of work, because the half-life for knowledge has declined sharply due to the digital transformation and the rapid pace of technological innovation.

With Gen Z, a new generation of digital natives is gradually pouring into the job market, but companies are still having great difficulties in covering the shortage of skilled workers.

Companies have to invest in existing potential

According to the Prognos study “Arbeitslandschaft 2040”, there will be a shortage of 2020 million workers by 1,8 in Germany alone. Young professionals, especially in the IT industry, are rare, often 'unfinished' and inexperienced. It is therefore imperative for companies to invest in potential that they already have at hand.

They often have a wealth of experience from employees older than 40 years. The catch here: not infrequently digital innovations are unknown territory for this group of workers. However, this can be changed by further education and re-qualification measures.

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Continuing education as a success-critical factor

The question that companies have to ask themselves: Why are further training and re-qualification measures particularly important in today's world? The answer is obvious: You can decide for companies about future economic success. The reason for this is the “War for Talents” resulting from the shortage of skilled workers. A trigger for this development was the desire of many companies to reduce the average age in the company.

The effects are now felt by companies extremely. Public education systems can not respond to new educational needs fast enough and will not be able to do so until quite recently. There is an urgent need for rethinking in the human resources departments: not only the recruiting of new employees should be in the foreground, but also the investment in strategically designed further and re-qualification programs for employees - regardless of their age.

Knowledge transfer as a future factor

By building knowledge and competence, companies remain sustainable and connected to their market and their environment. Know-how in-house enables autonomous action through increased flexibility. This pays off in exceptional situations where agile needs to be responded to. Positive side effect: dependence on external providers is reduced.

Another reason for the development of further and re-qualification measures is the safeguarding and, above all, the transfer of the expertise, which has been laboriously built up over the years. Not an unimportant factor for employers, because without the further development of Human Resources Assets and the establishment of a learning culture in the company, the wealth of knowledge can not be transferred to younger generations. Here, long-term employees are required who can take on mentor functions, but knowledge transfer also needs to be learned.

Further education? Yes, please - but where to start?

Companies that want to build a learning culture and a range of further education and re-qualification measures in their own house first face the question: where to start? The most important thing in advance: all training and re-qualification concepts must be worked out individually for each individual employee.

Everyone learns differently and therefore needs personalized learning opportunities. In doing so, companies can resort to external service providers who set up a suitable, individual continuing education concept. The classic continuing education catalog of company-owned academies has also become obsolete.

Establish new learning culture: 10 tips for companies

But how can companies motivate the Generation 40 + to learn more than before? The following points should serve as guidelines for companies to establish a culture of learning in-house:

  1. HR Management:  As part of the fourth industrial revolution, companies must also understand their own HR management as 4.0. As part of the digital transformation, it is important to raise awareness of the disruptive developments in the world of life and work and to reinvent HR departments accordingly. The focus here is on dealing with alternative and innovative sourcing solutions as well as networking and cooperation with like-minded people and strategically oriented sourcing solution providers.
  2. Strategic anchoring at the management level: It doesn't work without support from above. The topic of personnel development / qualification, re-qualification must now be anchored at least at C-Level, ideally with the CEO himself. This should also be included in all steps of the development of a strategic personnel development concept and the strategic company orientation. In the context of digital transformation, the four tones of digitization, networking, automation and innovation, it makes sense to merge strategic personnel development with the strategic sourcing strategy. The focus should not be on young professionals alone. Even employees who have decades of experience can be a valuable asset to the company.
  3. Consistent change of leadership, understanding of leadership and leadership behavior: Leadership concepts should move with the times and adapt to circumstances and employees. Companies must therefore question their management understanding and behavior at regular intervals and restructure if necessary. Modern concepts, such as servant leadership, which describe the work of leaders as a service to the led, enable transformational rather than transactional leadership. Executives can also constantly acquire new Kow-How.
  4. Competence Mix Reloaded: Each employee has individual competencies. It's the mix of these that make a business viable and innovative. Weaknesses of the one can be compensated by strengths of the other. Employers should therefore re-prioritize their strategic focus on skills development. In addition, investments offer the enterprise capital in the area of ​​soft skills as well as the development of change management competencies.
  5. “Agile” as a corporate principle: In order to establish the principle of “agile” in the company, employers have to take the concept seriously and show the will to understand it. Adapted to your own company and applied by all employees, it enables changes. Condition for successful projects: allow or promote agile procedures. This calls for managers, who set a good example, from group or project leaders to CEOs.
  6. Newwork: Companies that want to optimally prepare themselves for the future of work promote flexible and creative work and a corresponding working philosophy. The reason for this is that digitization is gradually eliminating simple job descriptions, as these are standardized by the much higher degree of automation. As a result, the share of creative work in the value added is steadily increasing, which means that more people have more free time. For the few creative and knowledge workers, however, this leads to an extreme increase in working hours. Timeouts for creative workers to preserve creativity and mental health are becoming more and more important. Both developments require an unequal distribution of working time and income.
  7. Attractive employee branding also for experts (Seniors): A sense of being in the company is not only important to attract or retain young talents. Even long-standing employees need a way to identify with the company. Because just as the fresh approach of young people to new tasks can be enriching, just as the knowledge and experience of older people is essential for small and medium-sized businesses. In other words, providing companies with a good working atmosphere that also respects the needs of older employees, such as joint workshops to help shape the company, creates a we-feeling that workers will inevitably bring to the outside - the next networking event, their training , Sports club, etc. An additional incentive can for example offer a bonus fairy, an older employee recruits a candidate as a new colleague.
  8. Job Rotation - Promote Agility: Digital transformation is changing job profiles very quickly. For example, in the IT industry, specialized knowledge takes a back seat in many occupations. Rather, they are looking for generalists who can judge processes not only from the point of view of IT, but also those of specialist departments. In order to gain a comprehensive picture of work processes in the company, it is therefore essential for employees to be able to change the area of ​​responsibility within the company.
  9. New experiences for long-time residents: Especially older employees, who have worked in a special area for a long time, profit from this in other departments with which they work closely together. It's about much more than making the solid technical tools available and operating. Instead, it is more and more based on integrative and social skills. Because new unknown techniques that come to the employees are always accompanied by reservations and fears. These must be recognized and reduced.
  10. Use diversity: The student learns from the master. Companies have already accumulated a great deal of expertise. But this has to be passed on to the younger generation. But a master also learns from the student. A mentoring program, where a junior is accompanied by a senior, lends itself to this. Research shows that mixed-age teams produce the best results in complex tasks. Innovative ideas of younger employees coupled with the experiences of older people together form the basis for mastering entrepreneurial challenges. Whether young or old, shaping age diversity in companies is an appropriate tool to stay competitive in demographic change.

Conclusion: Long-term retention with employer branding

Well thought-out training concepts and offers increase the company's reputation in addition to its innovative strength. Here, too, there is a positive consequence: fluctuation decreases. Because an attractive employer who values ​​the further development of its employees improves its brand in the “War for Talents”.

Employees remain loyal to the company longer - young and old. In the long run, this also improves employee motivation and, as a result, their efficiency. Ultimately, the respective customers also benefit, whose satisfaction can at least be secured, if not increased, by motivated, efficient employees.

* Source: Young, wink. A psychological journey with humorous aphorisms and poems, BoD 2005

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