Integral Workplace Health Age Management

 As a result of demographic changes in the workforce, it has become more and more important that workers remain healthy, motivated, competent and productive at the workplace. Often, Human Resources Management is mainly directed at the employability of the workers, with a focus on their skills and knowledge. Health, wellbeing and lifestyle behavior get less attention from HRM. I-WHAM addresses this gap. It integrates concepts and models from workplace health promotion with concepts and models of age management.

From the workplace health promotion perspective, I-WHAM is linked to Integral Health Management (IHM). This is a systematic approach to managing the business impact of (occupational and personal) health and includes the promotion of health and well being of personnel and of the company.

IHM distinguishes seven lines of development:

  1. Health as a strategic company interest
  2. The realization of a healthy primary process
  3. A safe and sound physical (work) environment
  4. An inspiring social (work) environment
  5. Healthy (vital) people
  6. A sound relationship with the immediate organizational environment and local community and
  7. Healthy products and/or services.

Age Management (AM) is an HR policy in which the specific conditions and demands of employees in the different phases of their life and work career are taken into account as much as possible. AM is focused on employees of all ages. The approach provides extensive information on the impact of age on work. This includes a clear distinction between calendar age (number of calendar years), functional age (number of years performing a job), organisational age (number of years working at the company), psychological age (self perceives age) and life span age (life stage). All these aspects of age have a different impact on work.

AM distinguishes between curative actions (to reduce the effects of ill health or limited workability) and preventive actions (continuous development of skills and knowledge, providing enough variation in tasks and jobs, and promotion of a healthy lifestyle).
In this way, the I-WHAM model integrates the age-related physical, psychological and social health issues of employees into a strategic HRM perspective. This is considered the basis of a sustainable approach to HRM which aims at sustaining employee health, work pleasure, productivity and employability throughout the employee’s whole working life.

From the employer’s point of view, the I-WHAM model offers clear benefits:

  • Stability in workforce planning
  • Reduced absenteeism and associated costs
  • Improved productivity
  • Retention of experienced and knowledgeable workers
  • Improved workforce morale



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