If employers fail to tackle the current widespread neglect of older workers’ training and performance management requirements, they will leave themselves open to discrimination claims when the default retirement age is phased out in October.
This is the warning issued by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development after publishing a survey of 2,000 respondents, which revealed that 51% of staff aged 65 or over had received no training in the last three years compared with the average across all other age groups of 32%.
The study entitled ‘Employee Outlook: Focus on an Ageing Workforce’ also found that 44% of older personnel had not been given a performance appraisal over the last two years compared with an average elsewhere of 27%.
But Dinah Worman, the CIPD’s diversity adviser, warned that, although some employers assumed older staff were nearing the end of their working lives and needed less attention, from October they would have to change their attitude or find themselves open to legal challenge.
“The removal of the DRA will rightfully put a stop to lazy management of older workers, with employers forced to maximise the talents of an ageing workforce. Failure to address poor performance of older workers may also pave the way for discrimination claims following the phasing out of the DRA if there is a dispute over capability,” she said.
The survey also indicated, however, that employers needed to do more to help older personnel continue to do their job despite physical difficulties. More than three quarters of employers had failed to make any reasonable workplace adjustments, despite the fact that 51% of older staff reported some physical decline and 28% said that their physical abilities had dwindled signficantly with age.