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Workplace discussions are extremely valuable. Having open and honest discussions with staff can assist managers plan more effectively for the future and, where appropriate, can help facilitate the transition from work to retirement for both the individual and the department.
Opportunities such as PDR and one-to-one’s may be a helpful place in which to discuss, with all staff members, their aims and ambitions, as well as departmental plans and staffing needs.
It is recommended, particularly during PDR discussions, that managers take the opportunity to ask each staff member, regardless of their age, about their career and contribution to the University, for the:
Asking open questions about future plans during any workplace discussion will help to avoid suggestions of age discrimination. It is not necessary to ask all staff the same questions, but all the relevant issues should be explored with all staff in an open way which avoids making assumptions about age.
During these discussions, manager's should also give all staff the opportunity, irrespective of their age, to develop and learn new skills through staff development and training initiatives.
These discussions will help managers to assess how the staff member’s skills and abilities can be matched to the departments’ future plans.
The following tips may help managers to hold such discussions:
Bear in mind that some employees may not choose to discuss his/her plans openly with you.
Following workplace discussions
It is essential not to hold a staff member to what is said as part of these discussions, as they are entitled to change their mind about their plans for the future.
It is important to ensure that careful consideration is made before making any changes that may impact on the staff member’s job role, which may have been directly or indirectly influenced by these discussions. For example, if a manager did not consider a staff member for a role within a forthcoming project, as they had indicated, within discussions, that they planned to retire in the coming year. This may be considered to be age discrimination, if this decision is unjustified.
It is also important to make a record of these conversations and it is recommended that a copy is shared with the member of staff.