Sep 07, 2012 01:21 PM EDT
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BMW Displays Blueprint For Managing Older Employees

By Donovan Jackson
BMW
(Photo : Reuters) Employees stand next to BMW luxury car at production line of German car manufacturer's plant in Dingolfing

America is not the only country dealing with the impending problem of deciding rather to keep aging employees or to replace them with their young counterparts. With the job market as fierce as it is, some companies worldwide are trying their best to collect and analyze data that will benefit them in deciding how to accommodate aging workers. BMW may have found a way.

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In 2007, the luxury automaker set up an experimental assembly line with older employees to see whether they could keep pace. The production line in Dingolfing, 50 miles northeast of BMW's Munich base, features hoists to spare aging backs, adjustable-height work benches, and wooden floors instead of rubber to help hips swivel during repetitive tasks.

After implementing this practice, the managers at BMW were shocked to discover that not only could the aging workers keep up with their competitive young staffers, they also completed their task at a much more efficient rate and with better quality.

Like BMW, Germany's other automakers are grappling with an aging workforce. With the country also facing a shortage of qualified engineers, many in the industry have decided that it's best to keep good workers on the job as long as possible by adapting factories to their needs.

BMW says it implemented more than a dozen changes in favor of their elder workers. Some of the changes include movable instruction screens with larger letters and a magnifying glass, and a two-hour rotation cycle to keep minds sharp by regularly switching tasks.

"The 2017 assembly line became as productive as the younger one, but the quality was higher," said Jochen Frey, a BMW spokesman on personnel issues.

In the glooming job market that belongs to America, the country should take notice of what Germany is doing and attempt to mimic the practice themselves.

A lot of Americans are currently out of work even though the number of unemployed just went down from 8.3 percent to 8.1 percent.

What BMW is inadvertently displaying in its new practice is that  workers need to be accommodated for their imperfections, especially the ones they cannot change such as old age.

Companies must begin to realize that investing in your employees before anything else is a sure way to see a return on their investment (ROI).

When employees realize that they are loved by the company, they will have no problem with completing all of their task with love for the company.

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