HR Research: retention-management in the spring and winter of our working lives

joerg_korffA study undertaken by the University of Mannheim, Business School in partnership with Jacobs University Bremen shows that work satisfaction and corporate loyalty are linked to HR providing employees with perspective on their future

Excerpts from a full article featured on the University of Mannheim website: No Future? No way! – The Future Perspectives of Employees: a Compass for HR Management

How one’s own future is perceived, whether as a time full of opportunities and chances or as a time full of threatening restrictions, is highly influenced by personnel management and can result in work satisfaction and corporate loyalty. Research at Mannheim leads to the conclusion that the future perspective of, and especially older employees, should be taken into account particularly in times of demographic change.

Forever young – if the management approach is right

iStock_000064008579Copyright Geber86

In the spring of his working life

Researchers looked at the options available for the HR function when organisations face a fast-ageing workforce. Jörg Korff, researcher at the Chair of Business Administration, Human Resource Management and Leadership at the University of Mannheim, and heading the research project, states that ‘it has long been known that when people get older they deal with time differently – time becomes increasingly precious as they are faced with their own finiteness. On the other hand, young people tend to be unbound by time restraints and their mindset is focused on “conquering the future”’. Korff  argues that a new and interesting factor for the HR function is that “the framework in businesses highly influences the perceived future perspective. Businesses are therefore able to manipulate the motivational age of its employees and make them, as it were, younger.” Among the many surprising results that the research highlights, one conclusion is that when employees are judged on their performance and not their age, they become younger from a motivational perspective. And this positively influences work satisfaction and corporate loyalty.”

PRP can be motivational at any age

Businessman in snow storm rolling down with chair

And still going strong in winter

The Mannheim and Bremen research indicates that here are important implications for the management of fast-ageing employees and how companies approach and implement performance-related pay mechanisms: those that have no such mechanisms convey a message that the employee’s time in the organisation is ending. The result is that the employee will tend to withdraw their involvement as motivation drops and even seek employment elsewhere, possibly draining the company of expertise and experience.


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