Last week, Martin Lavallière, a postdoctoral research fellow at the AgeLab, presented a keynote lecture at the International Symposium on Occupational Safety and Hygiene (SHO2015) held in Guimaraes, Portugal (February 12-13).
Dr. Lavallière’s talk, titled The "Aging" Readiness of Industries: Challenges and Opportunities, addressed the impact of aging on the workforce and it’s implications for various industries. Companies need to address the aging workforce and place themselves in a strong position to tackle the challenges this “new” reality may impose. Businesses need to capitalize on their changing workforce in order to stay on the leading edge of their market and prevent lost knowledge due to massive retirement departures. Although aging is often presented as a risk factor from the human factors and ergonomics perspective, older workers have advantages in terms of experience and knowledge and are often go-to employees with significant “know-how.” Aging should not be considered merely a challenge, but an opportunity to review, revise, and reinvent how businesses operate.
His presentation covered how companies can use knowledge transfer, benefits and process, and human factors and ergonomics to benefit from the aging of their workforce. This research has been part of a collaboration between Dr. Martin Lavallière, Dr. Joseph Coughlin, and Dr. Pedro Arezes from the University of Minho (Portugal).