TV2/NORD, Denmark: Changing attitudes, development and flexible working practices
Retention of senior employees
A senior policy has been developed at TV2/NORD to ensure that senior employees have good working conditions
TV2 in Denmark is a system of TV stations: one national and eight regional ones. The regional stations are independent to the national station and do have their own Board of Directors and management. TV2/Nord has operated since 1989 and covers North Jutland in Denmark. There are approximately 500,000 inhabitants in the area. TV2/NORD is a public service station and the programmes consist of a mix of news, live inputs/coverage of current affairs, sport, music, religion, features etc. In the morning on weekdays TV2/NORD is broadcasting news and longer features programs. The working expenses are exclusively funded by television license revenue from the television viewers. On a daily basis approximately 217,000 people watch some of the programmes on TV2/NORD, and during the last year approximately 60 % of the inhabitants in the area watched the evening news at 7.30 pm.
TV2/NORD employs 69 people. Most of the employees are journalists or photographers and members of the Danish trade union for journalists. The percentage on female and male employees is almost equal. About 20 % of the employees are above the age of 50 and it is quite normal that employees continue to work until their late sixties. More than half of the employees are above the age of 40. The turn over rate in the company is relatively low because people tend to stay in the company for many years.
Social dialogue with the trade unions is cooperative and the unions are involved in initiatives regarding work issues and policies.
Good practice today
To ensure the greatest level of expertise and know-how in the company TV2/NORD finds it very important to have representatives form both the young and the old age groups among the employees. Senior employees are valued for their unique and profound knowledge on how to make good television and therefore the management wishes to retain its skilled and able senior employees in all age groups.
Today TV2/NORD has a formal written down senior policy which was initiated in 2006. The senior policy was one of the results from and initiative called “project better television” which included development of a number of new personnel policies in different areas including a senior policy. The initiator of the programme was one of the managers in the company who wanted to secure better working arrangements for the future senior workers. The first step was to establish a working group consisting of representatives among the employees and an adviser who had been hired on a temporary basis from a company called CUBION. CUBION assists companies in finding their way and developing in an ever-changing world. Their ambition is to develop innovative and resourceful managers, teams and organisations. The advisor and the rest of the group came up with some ideas on how to formulate such a senior policy and the results were handed over to the management. The senior policy was finished on February 2007.
The purpose of the senior policy was to formulate in paper that the management wishes to retain its skilled and able senior employees. The intention was that the policy would make it easier for the senior worker to remain actively employed in the department while gradually preparing for the third age after retirement. Everybody above the age of 55 will be able to apply for a special senior arrangement. Today every employee who turns 55 is invited to a personal development interview with the management once a year. During these interviews the employer and the employee discuss topics such as: How has the year been for you? Are you satisfied with your work tasks? Do you need further training or education in an area? Are you satisfied with the salary? How is your relationship with colleagues? As part of this interview the employee is also asked about how he or she wishes to plan the last years before retirement. They talk about the future career plans and how and when the person wants to retire. They also discuss whether or not the employee wants a special senior agreement. If an employee wants to be included by a senior arrangement he or she has to apply for it in writing to the management and formulate what is wanted. The senior arrangement is agreed upon in cooperation between the management and the employee. Because the senior policy is relatively new no senior employees have until now wanted a special senior agreement, but the senior policy has been put out on the company intranet where everybody can read about their possibilities. The management says that it will probably take some time before the policy is used on a common basis among the older employees.
There are different kinds of senior plans that can be offered if the employee and the employer want it.
- The employee can continue to work on a part-time basis with a reduction in the salary
- The employee can be given different working areas if he or she finds the present work task strenuous. For instance he or she can get other work tasks or be transferred into another department.
- The employee can be offered further training in a working area if that would help him or her to manage the work in a better way. This means that also the senior employees are offered the possibility to keep track of the new technologies and methods.
- The employee can be offered longer vacations with a similar reduction in the salary.
Finally one of the possibilities for the senior employees could be to continue to work for a few hours after retirement. In Denmark, the early retirement scheme makes it possible for most people to retire from the age of 60, without having to fulfil any health criteria. At the same time the early retirement scheme makes it possible for people to continue to work while receiving the early retirement benefits. According to the new rules from 1999 people can work as many hours as they want, but a deduction in the allowance is on an hourly basis. In other words, for each hour worked, the allowance will be deducted. One of the possibilities for the senior employees at TV2/NORD is to retire but continue to work on a freelance basis for the company. This is beneficial for the company because it can rely on the former employees in times of pressure of business and it can benefit the employee because he or she can still keep in contact with the workplace and colleagues.
TV2/NORD does not have any future plans according to developing their senior policy any further.
Bo Jeppesen. Tlf. +45 96969696, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Company homepage: www.tv2nord.dk