People are living longer, and working longer, too. In New York City’s 700,000 workers are over 55 —18% of the workforce. Many will work well past traditional retirement age. Employers need guidance on how to create a workplace that encourages different generations to work productively and profitably side-by-side.
The Age Smart Employer Awards – an initiative of the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center, founded in partnership with The New York Academy of Medicine and funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation – aims to address this need by researching and identifying best practices, honoring employers who value workers of all ages, and supporting businesses looking to maximize the potential of their workers as they age.
Age smart employers recognize the value of older workers. By embracing their multigenerational workplace as an opportunity, these visionaries use innovation, flexibility and creative talent management to stay ahead. They also realize that hiring, retaining and using older workers strategically can solve a variety of pressing problems business owners face.
Age smart strategies directly support and utilize the talents of older workers, but these strategies benefitall workers. Age smart strategies have helped employers lower costs, boost productivity, spark new business, and better align their products and services with New York City’s booming older adult consumer market.
Some businesses don’t realize they’re age smart. Age-smart practices include:
Flex hours and telecommuting; phased retirement; encouraging mentor/mentee relationships; wellness programs; recruiting older workers; cross-training all workers; allowing employees to swap shifts; creating new paths of advancement within a business; enlisting older workers to strategically retain and transfer a business’s networks and knowledge across generations; rewarding employees who model work ethic and emotional intelligence for others and ensuring that training and development opportunities are offered to workers of all ages.