Oberpfaffenhofen, September 27, 2018. Yesterday, the partners of the “Older employees and the working world” initiative visited OHB System AG’s Oberpfaffenhofen facility. The main purpose of the initiative is to enable older employees to work for a long time in good health and duly motivated. The Bavarian State Ministry of Family Affairs, Work and Social Matters (Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Familie, Arbeit und Soziales) established the “Older employees and the working world” initiative in 2011 together with the Association of Bavarian Chambers of Skilled Crafts, the Bavarian Association of Chambers of Industry and Commerce, vbw - Vereinigung der Bayerischen Wirtschaft e. V., the German chapter of the Federal Association of Trade Unions and the Bavarian Regional Directorate of the Federal Employment Agency.
The partners in the initiative explore matters relating to the demographically oriented structure of working, health promotion and management as well as vocational further education and life-long learning. “These are precisely the themes that we are also interested in,” says Klaus Hofmann, OHB’s Chief Human Resources Officer. “In aerospace, we normally working on stand-alone projects. This is why the experience that our experts accumulate over time and the need to share this knowledge are of key importance for us. Similarly, life-long learning is decisive for us as a means of asserting ourselves against the competition. We have implemented a whole bouquet of measures to address these challenges, which - incidentally - are being accompanied by a dire shortage of skilled professionals.”
The visitors were particularly impressed by the way in which knowledge is systematically shared within the company and the fact that OHB specifically leverages the expertise and experience held by older employees.
“12 percent of our new recruits - equivalent to 44 employees- over the last five years were older than 50 years on the date on which they joined OHB,” explains Alexandra Kübler, head of human resources at the Oberpfaffenhofen facility. “The fruitful coexistence of young and experienced employees is normal for us. Both sides benefit mutually. We try to accommodate our employees as best we can when their specific circumstances render a change necessary, such as a reduction in weekly working hours, a sabbatical or a change in duties. And we also support an orderly handover upon retirement.” OHB offers its employees a sports program that also includes interesting “soft” offerings for older staff and has been holding a health day and offering a flu vaccination program for many years. The lifetime working time account provides additional flexibility, e.g. for a necessary break, private further education or the transition to phased retirement. It goes without saying that annual appraisal reviews and further training are available for employees right up until retirement age.
The head of human resources and his staff showed the members of the initiative examples of the large and small measures taken in daily routines. In addition, the guests were given an opportunity of learning first hand from various employees about the measures that were either implemented in their area of responsibility or that they used personally. A guided tour of the building gave the visitors a chance to experience the architecture with its open style conducive to good communications, to talk to other people and to get a taste of space technology.