Workplace Culture

Creating an Age-Friendly Workplace

By Rita Pyrillis

Dec. 6, 2016

There are a number of things that employers can do to create a workplace that is friendly to older employees, according to Ruth Finkelstein, associate director of the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center at Columbia University.

Every year the center and the New York Academy of Medicine select the winners of the Age Smart Employer Awards. The initiative, which is funded by the Sloan Foundation, recognizes employers for their age-friendly policies and practices. Past winners include clothing retailer Brooks Brothers, NYU Langone Medical Center and pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

Please also read: Boomer Bust Ageism in the Workplace

Here are recommendations for employers seeking to improve their efforts to recruit and retain older workers from the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College:

Identify opportunities for older adults to support organizational missions and/or business strategy.

Explicitly state in job notices that mature workers are welcome.

Educate managers and HR leaders to identify and address misconceptions about older workers.

Create non-virtual, alternative pathways for job applicants.

Partner with community-based and/or educational organizations to reach older adults.

Provide technology training as part of the job applicant screening process to ensure access to a wide possible pool of talent.

Use older adults as interns to try out the “job fit.”

—Rita Pyrillis


Rita Pyrillis is a writer based in the Chicago area.


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