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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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Loewe AG

Winner: 2008 AARP International Innovative Employer Award

Industry: Electronics Industry
Location: Kronach, Germany

Highlights of 2008 Winning Strategies

Within Loewe’s approach to addressing aging workforce issues is an emphasis on educating executives on the need to develop sound strategies within the context of an aging workforce. This is one of four action areas covered under Project 67, a company initiative aimed at addressing demographic developments in its workforce. A second action area aims to counteract the risks of decline in health and productivity associated with final assembly production by introducing job rotation and a greater variation in assembly-line duties. Such policies help prevent joint and skeletal disorders arising from repetitive movements common to assembly-line workers.

Additional Policies and Practices:

Lifelong Learning and Training: Loewe recognized that its company is based in a region which will be more strongly affected by demographic change, including aging and population decline, than other regions in Germany. Therefore, in 2005, the company initiated “Project 67,” which is being implemented within the framework of the program “Mit Erfahrung Zukunft Meistern” (“Mastering the Future with Experience”) of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

In addition, the company is involved in the labor-market initiative “Perspective 50-Plus,” which aims to facilitate the reentry into employment of workers over age 50.

The company has defined four action areas that are of particular importance in light of demographic developments: management development and competence management, job rotation in final assembly, job enrichment in manual assembly, and realignment of workplace health promotion. As the company management was hardly aware of the issue of demographic change before “Project 67,” Loewe developed a workshop concept to educate its executives on the matter.

Flexible Work Arrangements: The introduction of job rotation in final assembly aims to counteract the risks of repetitive strain, skeletal and joint diseases, mental illnesses, and low employee initiative, as continuous job rotation and a larger variety of tasks facilitates a better learning and health environment for work activities. Wherever possible, individually tailored working time models are provided. This includes parental leaves, telecommuting work, home offices, and flexible working-time models.

Health Promotion and Protection: Loewe encourages diverse sports activities. For example, the company initiated a Nordic Walking group and organized a tennis course as well as ski days and a gymnastics group. In doing so, the company cooperates with local sports clubs, fitness studios, and swimming pools, where its employees get a price reduction. Employees also take part in an on-the-job training in gymnastic exercises and stress prevention.

Diversity Promotion: There is no explicit policy for older workers at Loewe; nevertheless, its approach is age-integrated. Loewe’s approach aims to promote employability as early as possible. Age has never been a criterion to select team members. Thus, age-mixed teams are a natural part of the organizational culture. Loewe has also specifically targeted recruiting to unemployed persons age 50+ to offer them new occupational perspectives.

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