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老龄化的商业机遇和启示

2016-03-02金蜜蜂David Grayson 编译|李长海0

目前,全球60岁以上人口占比接近11%,2050年将升至22%(届时总人口超过90亿)。在发展中国家,这一比例会高达33%,发达国家则每10个人中有1位超过80岁。

人口老龄化现在更多发生在发达国家,但预期也会在今后的二三十年内重现在发展中国家。例如,中国到2050年即将成为老龄化程度最高的国家之一,那时中国人的年龄中位数将达到45岁,这一数字在1980年仅为22岁(英国的对应数值分别为42.5岁、34.4岁)。

同环境保护一样,为养老投资越来越成为人类下一代可持续成长的攸关选项。可以看到,“代际公平”的观念持续激发人们关于照料老年人的辩论:谁应当提供老年人护理的服务,谁又应该为此买单?

代际公平是维系社会可持续性的一项必须且重要的因素。然而,人口年龄层分布的变化日益明显,这也促使企业开始思考,老龄化社会对于其自身的可持续性和责任(CS&R)意味着什么。

对那些致力于增进企业可持续性和责任的商业组织来说,老龄化社会的机遇和启示尤其重要,这与15至20年前企业面临的残疾人雇佣议题有些相似。与企业可持续性和责任的其他维度一样,应对人口结构变化应当成为企业行动的必要组成部分,在商业与道德方面都是这样。企业如果能够实现卓有成效的应对,就可以增加其竞争优势和机遇。

高龄劳动力趋势

随着劳动人口高龄化,强制性退休逐渐失去意义,员工退休年龄不断提高,这使得企业雇主需要提供更为灵活的工作机会,如兼职、季度性工作、轮班制、休假等,允许高龄员工从初级管理岗位流动到不致降低原来社会地位的较低薪酬职位。企业还需要确保高领员工免于遭到歧视,这或者由于无知和偏见,或者因为机遇和就业技能不足。

很多的英国零售企业像阿斯达(Asda)、百安居(B&Q)等已经领先一步,尝试为高龄员工提供更加灵活的工作机会。这也为其带来赢利能力提升、缺勤率降低等积极成效,最为关键的是提高了顾客满意度。

这要求企业做出更多的创新,从而最为有效雇佣高龄员工。

发表于《哈佛商业评论》的一篇文章提到了宝马公司的案例。在做出安排高龄工人到一条生产线工作的决定后,宝马发现,尽管最初被称为“退休线”的该条生产线产能有所下降,但最终仍然提升到了公司工厂的平均水平。其原因是,这些员工先后引入了多达70项相对较小的工艺革新,如新的椅子、更舒服的鞋、放大镜和可调控的桌板等等。

许多机构面临着同时管理处于四个年代员工的挑战,这些挑战可能来自于相互冲突的员工期望、沟通障碍、技术应用差别、解决问题和革新的多元途径等,由此引发的社会问题严重性远高于性别及民族冲突。

但如果处理得当,企业就有机会领先一步,创新不同代际间员工共处的雇佣模式。这不同于传统的、单方面的高龄员工向年轻员工传授技能,而是需要机构做好实现代际员工相互取长补短的准备。

在同一个工作场所,高龄员工将需要学习新的技能,如社交媒体及其他通信技术和提升可持续性的途径。同样,高龄员工也可以通过知识转移、技能和个人交往帮助到年轻同事。急于担负更多职责的年轻员工可以从高龄员工那里得到帮助,这样就能够将雄心抱负转化为切实的行动。

上述愿景的实现需要一种新的语言体系作为支撑,该语言用以描述那些离开管理职位的高龄管理层以及成为合格的非管理层级顾问后的员工。同时,个人和机构还要具备新的心态,制定出恰当的程序,从而保证高龄员工并不是被简单地疏远到一边,而是自愿承担新的有意义的角色。

这方面最为成功的一个例子就是美国的公民创投(Civic Ventures)。这项倡议由社会企业家和作家Marc Freedman在1998年发起,旨在鼓励“婴儿潮一代”(指二十世纪四五十代出生的人口)成为促成变革的关键劳动力。在美国,这一代人预计有数百万之多。

重视经验的价值

经济学家弗里德曼曾倡导社会企业的“第三年龄职业”,即为来自于大企业的高级管理人员实行定向再培训及员工配置项目。福特公司就为其供应商制定了技术援助项目,项目指导成员全部为福特退休员工。

许多员工不得不比原计划更早地结束职业生涯,其中一个原因就是他们需要负起照顾年长亲属的责任。不过,调查显示目前只有五分之一的英国雇主制定了帮助员工平衡工作与照料职责的政策。

20世纪80年代,英国一系列的税收减免政策鼓励了像汇丰银行这样的大企业为员工提供儿童保育福利。现在,包括英国电信在内的领先企业开始呼吁就鼓励员工照料亲属立法。

人口结构变化不仅对工作场所的可持续性提出挑战,也影响了更广泛的市场环境。老龄化程度的加剧使得几乎每个人都将迟早面临一些身体或思维上的限制。

到2050年,大多数的老年人口将已持续多年使用移动通信技术,这一趋势只会越来越明显。这一需求就将为ICT企业带来重要的商业机遇,连同老年消费者不断增强的购买潜力,健康产品和服务以及养护、文化等领域的市场将大幅增长。

认知未来消费群体

商业力量应该瞄准老年消费市场。可持续的市场营销需要唤起老年人的年轻记忆,同时甄别出健康状况下降导致的需求。今后,可持续商业的关键将是与消费者感同身受,像“苹果模式”那样基于用户的思考来改进设计与营销。

像通用电气、飞利浦电器这样的企业开始营造一股可以称之为“定点养老”的技术浪潮,开发更多的信息技术以使老年人有更多的时间留在家里。家通常是老人们最感觉舒适自在的地方,而不是护理中心或医院。老龄人口的增多也在强化建筑和城市基础设施的便利性。零售商和经营购物中心的企业需要做到有利于老年人的环境设计。

广告商也要将老年消费者考虑在内。以往类似“退休”或“年老”的用词已经不适合用来描述更加长寿及多元化的生活,人们需要更为准确、聪慧的营销语言。

老龄化社会意味着市场将迎来更大比例的高龄消费者和老年群体消费力,这就需要新的金融产品和服务。金融机构是否会为老年用户长期理财提供更加专业化的股票发行方案?医疗公司是否将投入更多的研发力量,专注于老年群体的身心健康领域?零售企业是否计划为老年消费者推出特色服务?

德国连锁超市Kaiser早在2006年就开设了一间面向老年人的试点商店,商店进行了众多“老年友好型”设置,如更宽的通道、帮助读取商品标签的放大镜、可以锁定车轮和座椅的购物车等。英国乐购超市在纽卡斯尔市也有相似的试验店面。

负责任的企业可以在社区参与上更多考虑到老年人。例如,企业可以加入英国时代(Age UK),同包括苏黎世金融服务集团在内的先行者一起鼓励员工从事定期联络社区孤独老人的志愿活动。企业还可以向集体性的自我服务倡议组织如Southwark Circle提供志愿者和管理服务。Southwark Circle是一个会员制组织,致力于为住在内伦敦的老人们创建一个有效的邻里社交网络。

令人鼓舞的是,越来越多的组织开始关注和发掘商业在老龄化社会的责任。在英国,有老龄化雇主论坛。在欧盟,作为CSR Europe企业2020倡议的一部分,日立、沃达丰、巴斯夫参与发起了“联合投资”项目以应对欧洲人口结构变化。

在古代,人们用寒冬来描述晚年生活。正如老年病学专家George Giarchi所说的,现在则应该是“又一夏”了。在这里,有质量的老年人生活可能会有下述定义:身心的、社会的、情绪的需求得以在安全、关怀和有保障的环境里获得满足,并且是有尊严的和最多独立选择机会的。

这并不仅仅是企业的责任,或政府、媒体、公民社会哪一方的责任。应该说,所有利益相关方都有责任帮助老年人创造高质量的生活。对于商业企业而言,这不但是一项紧要的职责所在,更是重要的机遇!

(文章编译自David Grayson为《WTO经济导刊》所写“积极老龄化”专栏文章,David是英国克兰菲尔德大学教授,同时是克兰菲尔德大学Doughty企业责任中心主任、社会企业Housing21董事会主席)


以下为英文原文

Business Opportunities and Responsibility in AgingSociety

At present just under 11% of the world’s6.9 billion people are over60. By 2050 thatwill have risen to 22% (of a population ofover nine billion),and in developed countriesto 33%. In the rich world, nearly one in10 will beover 80.

While an ageing population is currentlymore a developed-worldphenomenon,developing countries are predicted to experiencethe same pattern,just two or threedecades later. (See diagram two). China, forexample, thanks tothe one child policyintroduced in 1977, will by 2050 be one ofthe oldest countriesthe world has ever seen.The Chinese median age by 2050 will be

over 45, compared with 22 in 1980.(Thecomparable figures for the UK are 42.5 and34.4).

We know the environmental imperativesof sustainable development.But, growthtoday without endangering the resourcesavailable to futuregenerations also involves– among other things – the sustainablefinancing ofpensions. Hence, the increasingreferences to “intergenerational equity” –AgeingsocietyGrey skies thinkingDavid Grayson says that companies can benefit fromrecognising that society isageingfairness between the generations.Already, wesee some of the challengesthis creates in the heated debates about whowillprovide and who should pay for longtermcare of the elderly.

Henri de Castries, AXA’s chairman andchief executive has said: “Oursocial welfaresystems, designed for a past demographicsituation, will no longerbe able to providefinancial independence for the majority ofpeople. Thesituation will generate eitherhuman drama for the elderly or socialtensions dueto the risk of an inter-generationaleconomic imbalance.”

Intergenerational equity is an integraland important element ofsocial sustainability.Yet the implications of the dramaticdemographic changesnow unfolding haveyet to translate into a coherent and comprehensivenarrativeof what the ageing societymeans for corporate sustainability andresponsibility(CS&R).

The implications of an ageing societyshould be particularlyimportant for businessescommitted to CS&R. This is prettymuch analogous tothe disability issue some15 to 20 years ago for companies. As withotherdimensions of CS&R, addressingdemographic change effectively should beanintegral part of how business behaves. Itis both a commercial and a moralimperative.

And managed well it can be a sourceofcompetitive advantage and opportunity.

Older workforce

As theworkforce ages, mandatory retirement isphased out andretirement ages rise,employers will need to offer more flexibleworkopportunities such as part-time andseasonal working, job-sharing,sabbaticals,and allowing people to move out of linemanagementroles and move tolower paywithout any loss of social status within theorganisation. One positiveeffect of theclosure of many final salary pensionschemes may be, albeitunintentionally, tomake such practices easier. Employers willalso have toensure that older people are notdiscriminated against – either throughignoranceand bias or through lack ofopportunity and relevant skills.

A number of British retailers, such asAsda and B&Q, havepioneered moreflexible working for older staff. This has hadpositive resultsfor profitability and absenteeismrates – and crucially forcustomersatisfaction.

It does require innovation to work outhow to use older workers tothe best effect.

A recent article in the Harvard BusinessReview co-written byChristoph Loch,professor of technology management atbusiness school Insead,looks at whathappened when car company BMWdecided to staff one of itsproduction lineswith workers of an age likely to be typical atthe firm in 2017.At first “the pensioners’line” was less productive. But the firmbrought it upto the level of the rest of thefactory by introducing 70 relativelysmallchanges, such as new chairs, comfier shoes,magnifying lenses andadjustable tables.

Many organisations will be facing thechallenge of managing fourgenerations atwork at the same time. With this comes therisk of conflictingexpectations, difficultiesin communication, differential use of technology,anddiverse approaches to problemsolving and innovation. The resultingsocialtensions could soon present challenges farexceeding those associated withefforts tofracture the glass ceilings associated withgender or ethnicity.

Handled effectively, there are opportunitiesto pioneer new forms ofmutualmentoring between baby-boomers andgeneration Y-ers, as John ElkingtonandCharmian Love of Volans and I argue in anew paper for the Second HalfNetwork.Instead of traditional, one-way help fromolder to younger staff, weneed organisationsprepared to encourage mutual mentoring.

The older partner will need to acquirenewskills – for examplein useof social media and other new communicationstechnology,and inembeddingsustainability.Senior executivescan help by transferringknowledge,skillsand personal contacts,while ensuring thatinstitutional memoryis retained.They canhelp younger generationX and Y managerseager to assumegreaterresponsibility,and find effectiveways of translatingtheir ambitionintorealistic and relevantaction.

This will requirenew language todescribe older managers stepping outfromexecutive responsibility and becomingeffectively non-executive advisersandcounsellors. Individuals and organisationswill need new mindsets and newproceduresto ensure that senior staff are not seento have been shunted asidebut willinglyassumed new and valuable roles.

One of the most exciting initiatives in thisfield is Civic Venturesin the US, which isleading the call to engage millions of babyboomersas a vitalworkforce for change.Founded in 1998 by social entrepreneur andauthor MarcFreedman, Civic Venturesworks to define the second half of adult lifeas a timeof individual andsocial renewal.

Make experience count

Freedman has pioneered third agecareers insocial enterprises for senior executives from companies such as HP throughtailoredretraining and placement programmes. Fordruns a technical assistanceprogramme fortheir suppliers, using Ford retirees.

One reason many workerscurrentlyleave the workforce before they want to isthat they have caringresponsibilities forelderly relatives. Yet it is estimated that onlyone in fiveUK employers currently has apolicy to help staff balance work andcareresponsibilities.

In the late 1980s, tax breaksencouragedmajor companies such as HSBC in the UK toprovide childcare for employees,therebyincreasing workforce participation andopportunities for female staff.Today,leading companies, including BT, are callingon law-makers to introduce atax breakenabling employers to offer vouchers foremployees caring for adependent relative.

It is not just in the workplacethat demographicchanges demand new approachesfrom responsible businesses, butin themarketplace too. With an ageing populationsooner or later almost everyonewilldevelop at least some limitations in vision,hearing, dexterity or learning.

By 2050, most elderly people willhavebeen using mobile communications foryears and will expect to continue doingso.Meeting their needs presents a significantbusiness opportunity for firmssuch asNokia. The ageing of the population,combined with the potential increaseinrelative spending power of olderconsumers, will create growth in marketsforhealth products and services, and inrecreation and cultural activities。

Know your consumer

Businesses should market to olderpeople as mentally young peoplewithgrowing physical impairments(visual, hearing, motor). Successfulmarketing willappeal to the young part of the older person whilerecognising the needsgenerated bythese impairments. The key to goodbusiness is to have empathy–designers and marketers need toadopt the “Apple model” and thinklike theircustomers.

Companies such as GE, with itsHealthymagination programme,andPhilips Electronics are riding anew technology wave called“ageing in place”that is designed tohelp older people stay longerwhere they’re most comfortable–at home – rather than having tomove into nursing or assistedlivingfacilities.The ageingpopulation also reinforces the needto improve the accessibility ofbuildings andurban infrastructure. Retailers and companiesrunning shoppingmalls have aresponsibility to ensure their premises aresenior-friendly – ratherthan seniors-free.

Advertisers too need to stop airbrushingolder people out of thepicture. As wordssuch as “retired” and “old” become increasinglyinaccurate todescribe much longerand much more varied stages of life, weneed cleverwordsmiths to help create newlanguage.

An ageing society means a larger number of older consumers – and alargerpercentage of spending power controlledby older people. There is going tobe greaterdemand for new financial products andservices. Will financialinstitutions offermore tailored equity release schemes forolder people tofinance long-term eldercare?Will pharmaceutical companies, forexample, investmore in R&D for newproducts offering not just enhancedlongevity but greaterfunctional physical

and mental longevity? Willretailerscustomise services for older people?

Germany’s Kaiser supermarket chainopened a pilot store in Berlin in2006targeted at older people. The store boasts anumber of “senior-friendly”features,including wider aisles, magnifying glassesto aid the reading oflabels, shopping cartswith locking wheels and turndown seats.Tesco has pilotedsomething similar inNewcastle.

Responsible businesses can help bypaying more attention to olderpeople intheir community activities. Companies canjoin pioneers including Zurich Financial Services, which has partnered with Age UKto encourage employeevolunteers to makeregular social phonecalls to befriend lonelyand isolatedolder people. Business canprovide volunteers and managementcapacity forcollective self-help initiativessuch as the Southwark Circle, in SouthLondon –a membership organisation thathelps older people take care of householdtasks,forge social connections andtake advantage of new opportunities.

It is encouraging to see anincreasing range oforganisationsexploring the responsibilities ofbusiness in an ageing society.Inthe UK, there is the EmployersForum on Age. At the EU level, aspart of CSREurope’s Enterprise2020 initiative, Hitachi, Vodafoneand BASF are participatingin a“collaborative venture” to addressthe impacts of demographicchange inEurope.

Collective responsibility

In ancient times, later life was described asbleak winter. It shouldbe – as gerontologist

Prof George Giarchi puts it – “asecondsummer”. A good later life might be definedas “where the physical,mental, social,emotional and spiritual needs of olderpeople are addressed in asafe, caring andsecure environment, with dignity and themaximum opportunitiesfor independence

and choice”. It includes physical,mental,social, emotional and spiritual well-being.

It is not the job of companies – or indeedof governments or themedia or civil society– to create a good later life. It should betheresponsibility of all these players to helpolder people create a good laterlife forthemselves. For businesses this is not just anurgent responsibility –it is also a significantopportunity. !David Grayson is director of the Doughtycentre for corporateresponsibility at Cranfield School of Managementandchairman of the social enterprise Housing 21 which servesolder people. He isa member of the Ethical Corporationeditorial advisory panel.

(责任编辑:小黑)

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