- De babyboomers hebben het gedaan
- 5e Jan Brouwer Conferentie
- Book/source title
- Solidariteit tussen de generaties onder spanning: verslag van de Vijfde Jan Brouwer Conferentie, 21 januari 2009 te Haarlem
- Pages (from-to)
- 36-44, 69
- Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen
- Document type
- Conference contribution
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
The baby boomers are to blame
Is there anything to gain in stirring up a fight between generations? In practice and on the shop floor, the generation gap is not that bad, says Aukje Nauta, professor occupying an endowed chair at the University of Amsterdam. Age says so little in terms of individual performance. Emphasising differences in age is the worst thing that organisations can do. The emphasis in the social discussion on solidarity between the generations often lies on a justified result, but in practice, people are often mostly concerned about procedural justice, i.e. unequal treatment. Most people full well understand that they, other than previous generations, will need to work longer. Hence is it strange to see that in the Netherlands, until recently, people still had the option of early retirement at nearly 70 percent of all companies. Among government institutions this figure was no less than 92 percent. Aukje Nauta passes a number of relevant thoughts in review on the role of age. Various studies show that calendar age or differences in age as such is not a problem. Age is a given fact, a vague indicator of the phase in someone’s life. Though there are a number of other problems that do require tackling. First, people do not work long enough. Second, organisations do not invest enough in their people and third, we are obsessed with stereotype images, not about young and old, but in terms of what an exemplary career looks like. There is ample room for improvement in that respect. First by customising the shop floor, by positively anticipating opportunities to match the needs of employees and the company, which requires a healthy dose of creativity from both managers and staff alike, in addition to excellent communication skills and the desire of both parties to do something for each other. Second, ‘career advise 2.0’ is needed, a package of professional, partly digital and partly face-to-face services in the field of personal development in conjunction with a development budget. Companies need not have the expertise to do that just by themselves. They can hire this from, e.g. mobility networks, unions that more and more develop into professional career advisors and other suppliers. However, whatever is on offer must become much more interactive. Allow employees to actively think along and make choices for themselves. Third, smart communication concepts are required that entice employees to work on their personal development rather than impose it. In that respect too, a lot of new and promising concepts have been developed that can still win a lot in terms of effectiveness when labour relations change and in terms of personal responsibility and customisation. Central agreements can play a role therein, as well as individual agreements with employees, also referred to as ‘I-deals’, which stands for ‘idiosyncratic deals.’ We ultimately need customisation aimed at employees of all ages. For employers and workers this means that they must create room for negotiation with development budgets.
- Discussie op p. 45-47.
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