In today’s workforce, employers are seeking ways to ensure they are promoting diversity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace. One important aspect of inclusivity is age, and creating an age-friendly workplace can benefit both the employer and employees. Over the past two decades, the share of workers 55 and older has almost doubled, increasing from 13% in 2000 to 23% in 2021. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects this growth will continue and, by 2031, fully one quarter of the labor force will be 55 years or older. In this article, we’ll explore the keys to become an age-friendly employer (or push the agenda for your company).
- Age Diversity
Age-friendly employers recognize the importance of age diversity in the workplace. They understand that people of different ages bring unique perspectives, experiences, and skill sets to the table. Age-friendly employers do not discriminate against applicants or employees based on age and are open to hiring and promoting employees of all ages. Recent studies have shown that a multigenerational workforce can significantly enhance a company’s overall performance. To boost productivity and improve decision-making processes involving complex tasks, consider forming mixed-age work teams within your organization.
- Flexible Work Options
Flexible work options are another hallmark of age-friendly employers. They understand that employees of different ages may have different needs when it comes to work schedules and may require flexibility to meet their personal obligations. Age-friendly employers offer options such as part-time work, job sharing, and telecommuting, allowing employees to balance their work and personal lives more easily. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can provide numerous benefits for employers. It can lead to increased productivity, lower absenteeism rates, and improved physical and mental health among employees. Additionally, a better work-life balance can foster higher levels of commitment and motivation towards work.
- Partner with support and affiliate groups for older workers
To attract older workers, get your company involved with programs and networking groups designed for them. Employment offices, labor departments, senior service organizations (like CWI Labs) and groups (join AWC!) can all link your company to older workers seeking employment. By partnering with these organizations, you can tap into a network of potential candidates and help them find meaningful employment. In addition, they can provide information and resources on how to create an age-friendly workplace and keep you up to date with the latest findings.
- Career Development and Training
Age-friendly employers recognize that employees of all ages want to learn and grow in their careers. They provide opportunities for career development and training, including mentorship programs, job shadowing, and skills training. Age-friendly employers understand that investing in employee development benefits both the employee and the organization, as employees who feel supported and challenged are more likely to stay with the company.
- Age-Inclusive Policies
Age-friendly employers have policies that promote inclusivity and prevent age discrimination. They ensure that job postings and recruitment materials do not include age-related language, that performance evaluations are based on job performance rather than age, and that age-related stereotypes are not tolerated in the workplace. Age-friendly employers understand that promoting a culture of inclusivity benefits everyone and helps to create a more positive and productive work environment.
In conclusion, becoming an age-friendly employer can benefit your organization in many ways, from attracting a diverse and talented workforce to improving employee engagement and retention. By adopting the traits of age-friendly employers, you can create a workplace that values employees of all ages and promotes a culture of inclusivity and respect that will benefit everyone.