The world of work used to be quite rigid. Workers moved their way up the career ladder according to age and experience. Then, when they retire younger workers stepped up from the rungs beneath them. Retirement dates were fixed so it all moved quite smoothly (though almost certainly unfairly)
A combination of legislation changes and shifts in working practices have set fire to the ladder, chopped up the bits and then buried them in a dark hole in the ground. This has left some employers playing catch-up, while other roar ahead in success and productivity. In the coming 20 years, the growth in older people, and decline in the number of younger workers, will see your older staff seeking employment for much longer.
Tips for age-inclusive workplace policies
This needn’t be a huge challenge for employers to manage. And doing it well brings considerable benefits. Age-inclusive policies that bring people together can:
● Strengthen your firm’s creativity and innovation.
● Allow for digital and traditional skills-sharing.
● Help you to understand changing attitudes among your clients.
● Improve your brand perception.
● Build a solid and inclusive working culture.
● Help you develop your approach to delivering statutory responsibilities around diversity and inclusion in employment.
Advice on age-inclusivity policies
In practice, the changes you need to make in the workplace can actually be quite small. These could include:
● Flexibility: Employers benefit from offering working arrangements that support the employee as well as the employer. This could be opportunities such as caring leave, remote working, or flexible medical leave.
● Reducing bias: Age-positive recruitment which doesn't discriminate against older, or younger, candidates is key to modern business good practice.. Anonymous screening of job applications is a great place to start - age, like gender or race, doesn’t impact on who can best do the job you have on offer.
● Workplace adjustments: Good occupational health and leave policies are vital to keep a happy and healthy workforce. Existing legislation already requires buildings are accessible, but are your current policies really considering the full breadth of the workforce? Are your provisions future-proof for a changing workforce?
● Equal access to training: both older and younger candidates have reported in the past that they were passed over for promotion or professional development because of their age. This is now illegal in law but does it still happen in your business? Does an employee’s future length of service really measure the value extra training could add to your company?
How to find great staff
The workforce is changing, is your business plan? Find out more about how we can support your company to grow its diversity and inclusion strategy here.