Communicating Employability Enhancement Throughout the Life-Span: A National Intervention Program Aimed at Combating Age-Related Stereotypes at the Workplace

Martine van Selm, Beatrice van der Heijden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The stimulation of lifelong employability of employees is one of today's challenges in all sectors of the Dutch society. In this article, we will outline the historical context of the life-long employability issue in the Netherlands, and provide an overview of current business responses to the issue. We will discuss key obstacles for improving older workers' employability: the current economic situation, contra-productive aspects of collective labor agreements or legislation, and negative stereotypes about skills and capacities of older workers that are prevalent in working organizations. We will propose a national intervention program communicating employability enhancement aimed at (a) combating age-related stereotypes about older employees in working organizations; (b) increasing the proportion of (highly) employable older employees; and (c) improving corporate performance outcomes. A strong asset of the intervention program is that it is rooted in the alignment of two bodies of knowledge: literature on the dimensional Stereotype Content Model developed in social psychology literature, and theoretical notions and empirical research on sustainable employability developed in management science literature. The national intervention program includes a screening instrument by which all communication outlets in working organizations are analyzed. In addition, the program incorporates a translation of academic knowledge and empirical evidence on the employability of older workers into a self-test inventory and a communication guideline. The intervention is part of a national approach that is prescribed by the government and (non-) adherence is rewarded or sanctioned. The intervention program's outcomes are monitored by means of empirical research
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-272
JournalEducational gerontology
Volume39
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • METIS-295602
  • IR-85373

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