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Danone - Attention to individuals as a lever of performance

Added on 22-03-2013





Business challenge

The number of older people is steadily growing, while all younger  age groups are shrinking. In light of these demographic changes, it has become crucial for companies to radically change their entrenched ways of thinking. With 45% of the Danone plant’s workforce exceeding 45 years old, the challenge is to maintain senior employees’ good shape and good morale.


The establishment of wellbeing policies targeted at older employees is based on a quantitative and qualitative diagnosis focused on employees’ age, as well as on Danone’s “senior handbook”. The diagnosis and action plan are also established based on individual interviews, statistics and projection figures. Based on this information, the plant designs an action plan in order to achieve both better performance and better wellbeing of older employees. This project is implemented by a diverse team including physicians, nurses, Human Resources, managers and external partners.

Tips for implementation:

  • Place seniors in the heart of the process, allowing them to express their expectations and feelings: don’t think for them
  • Have a holistic approach including:
    • Diagnosis shared and agreed with social representatives
    • Changing mentality tools (training, raise awareness amongst managers)
    • Opportunities for employees at mid-career to do an assessment of their career in order to increase their autonomy and better anticipate their future
  • Involvement of different partners, including external (employers association, training organisms, ergonomists …)
  • Organize various multigenerational actions, such as mentoring or tutorial session

Challenges/Lessons learned:

Benefits for the Company:

  • Key indicators of performance of the plant increased resulting in less loss, better productivity, less absenteeism
  • By working on work station improvements for seniors, Danone is also contributing to the feminization of technical jobs and to a better integration of disabled employees.

Benefits for Older Employees (+45):

  • The set of individual solutions aim to address not only personal expectations, but also improve the recognition of seniors’ contribution to the workplace and the recognition of their engagement and knowledge. Senior employees are proud, engaged resulting in a better internal cohesion.

Benefits for the rest of the Employees:

  • The main benefit is the enhanced dialogue between generations.

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