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The urgency of sustainable employability is certainly being felt, but this is not being converted into policy

Projections indicate that the potential workforce will decline by 1 million people between now and 2038. Yet, most HR departments spend only 10% of their time on sustainable employability. This would appear to indicate that sustainable employability is not yet an important theme with HR departments. This is one of the conclusions drawn from a survey conducted by Berenschot among 242 organisations in collaboration with HR Strategie (Strategy).

The objective of the research was twofold. On the one hand the research focused on the role of sustainable employability within organisations, and more specifically HR departments. On the other hand, factors were identified that affect the individual employability of older employees. The research shows that in most organisations the urgency of sustainable employability is high (55 percent). This result would appear to be in contrast to the earlier findings, which show that most HR departments spend only 10 percent of their time on sustainable employability. According to the researchers there is also ambiguity in terms of who is responsible for sustainable employability.

Meaning

The research shows that the degree to which workers consider their work as meaningful plays an important role as a factor that promotes the individual employability of older employees. When older employees consider their work valuable and important, they expect to continue to be employable in the future and to continue working longer.

Recommendations

Furthermore, it appears that the HR professional senses the need for sustainable employability, but that it is difficult to have a high degree of impact in convincing the company management or board of directors. Organisations perceive the urgency of sustainable employability, but this has not yet been translated into policy. In addition, the findings show that organisations can promote individual employability by investing in increasing the meaning of work for employees. To really enforce policy, it is important for the management or board of directors to stand behind it. HR can contribute to this by properly supporting its arguments in its advice to the board of directors or management, by qualifying and quantifying these arguments and by identifying what the policy will ultimately produce for the organisation and how. A concrete example of quantifying arguments is the preparation of a Business Case. It is important to identify the various players, the so-called stakeholders, to involve them and assess their interests and how a sustainable employability policy can help them. Furthermore, it is useful, as HR professional, to have a sponsor on the board of directors or the management team who supports the policy proposal and lobbies for it.

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