foCuS finlAnd / THE HEAVYWEIGHTS the working world requires new leadership I n upcoming decades, the working-age population will decrease throughout Europe. Finland will be one of the first to face the change, so solutions are already being vigorously pursued. This radical change requires insight, flexibility and common will. "In order to cope with the upcoming labour shortage, work must be organised more flexibly based on the needs of different employee groups and employers," emphasises managing director Satu Huber, who heads Tapiola Pension, one of Finland's biggest pension insurance companies. As a result of Finland's pension reform in 2005, workers over the age of 63 accumulate more pension than their younger colleagues. In fact, people are retiring at a slightly older age than they used to. Moreover, the working capacity of people must be taken care of; ageing programmes and general occupational health care have led to improvements in this area. Employers, in turn, receive support from occupational health care and from pension companies to help identify and solve problems at the work place. There is still plenty of work to do. Manage flexibly Studies show that workplace well-being stems from community spirit, meaningful work duties, and the opportunity to influence one's own work. Leadership has a bigger impact on these issues than legislation and labour market agreements. Expert companies pursuing innovativeness need management doctrines that are different from those created in the early 1900s to boost the efficiency of the car industry. "We have a lot of valuable research data, but the adoption of best practices must be developed further. It is a practical challenge for managers," Huber says. Flexible models are needed in issues like daily work hours, sabbatical opportunities and work loads. The democratic model of `the same way of operating for everyone' no longer works. A big challenge is the creation of team spirit. "An atmosphere must be created where the younger employees learn from the experiences of their elder colleagues; and vice versa, where the older employees learn, for example, IT skills from their younger cohorts." Z Labour shortages in upcoming years will force Finns to remain in the workforce longer. We have to become more innovative and flexible, says Satu huber, managing director of Tapiola Pension. Text: risto Pennanen Photo: Aino huovio 28
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