Employees over 50 make up a significant portion of the workforce in the U.S. With millions of people in this group, making a workplace age-friendly is a priority for countless businesses. In fact, economists say there has been a tremendous increase in above-average age-friendly jobs and workplaces.
Is your business one of them?
Signs of an age-friendly workplace
Having an age-friendly company means not only accommodating older workers but encouraging them.
For instance, some hallmarks of an age-friendly business include the following:
- Scheduling flexibility
- Ongoing training programs
- Accessible entrances, parking and other facilities
- Respect for workers’ experience (both life and professional)
- Physical limitation accommodations
- Age-balanced workforce
- Employment decisions based on person and performance, not proximity to retirement
- Recognition that work-life balances may look different for older workers
- Clear policies against harassment and discrimination
- Programs (like mentorships) that facilitate multi-generational relationships
These measures can indicate that a business and the employer are age-friendly.
Is there room for improvement?
Despite the increasing awareness of, and interest in age-friendly workplaces, there is room for improvement. For instance, you might offer remote work options for older employees, but do you also provide training to help them work and communicate with colleagues when they are offsite?
As an employer, you can advocate for older workers by researching and pursuing solutions to build an inclusive workplace. Occasionally reviewing your practices and policies can help you see what is working and what is not.
Learning about state and federal laws, developing fair policies, and encouraging positive work relationships can also be crucial.
These measures can require time, money and resources initially. However, they help to retain valuable workers and protect against claims of harassment, age discrimination, and retaliation.
As the workforce ages, businesses that adapt and embrace age-friendly policies could be on more solid ground than businesses that do not.