Employing and supporting older workers

Five top tips to promote an age-diverse workforce


Research shows that businesses that promote an age-diverse workplace can benefit in many ways. Age diversity improves performance and productivity, reduces employee turnover, helps to drive innovation, and promotes stability.

Tips to create an age-inclusive workplace

We have outlined five top tips to help you create a workplace environment and culture where workers of all ages can feel welcomed, valued, and supported. These tips are especially helpful for older workers who may feel underrepresented and sometimes overlooked in the workplace.

1. Recruit from all age ranges

Develop an age-inclusive recruitment strategy to attract job applicants from all age ranges. To encourage older workers to apply for job vacancies consider the language in your job descriptions and advertisements to avoid age bias. If you are an age-inclusive employer promote this as part of your recruitment drive. Advertise your job vacancies across various media and digital channels to reach applicants from a diverse range of ages.

Examine the benefits package your organisation offers to attract job applicants and look at ways in which you could attract older workers eg offering flexible or part-time work. You should also take steps to ensure that staff are aware of how best to reduce bias and avoid discrimination throughout the recruitment process. See recruiting older workers.

2. Develop workplace policies promoting age-inclusiveness

Assess your current workplace policies on whether they help to promote age-inclusiveness. Adapt and enhance those existing policies where required. Identify gaps and determine if there are new policies that you could introduce to combat age discrimination and promote age-inclusiveness in your workplace.

Communicate and promote age-inclusiveness as part of your equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) strategy to make sure your staff and potential recruits are aware of the steps you are taking as an organisation to welcome people of all ages.

3. Identify and offer support on issues specific to older workers

Consider and offer help on issues that are specific to older workers such as:

The best way to understand the issues facing your workers is to ask them. Create a staff forum or working group and get employees involved from a diverse range of ages in identifying and providing solutions to key challenges.

There are several organisations that provide guidance and advice to older people - you could provide signposts to this information perhaps through a dedicated organisational intranet page.

4. Create an environment for shared learning

Older workers usually have a wealth of knowledge and experience. Provide an environment and culture that encourages knowledge and learning exchanges between workers in your organisation of different ages and varying levels of experience. This will ensure that vital knowledge and experience are not lost when older workers retire but are transferred to younger and newer staff.

Provide opportunities for older and younger workers to interact and mix, eg by building mixed-age teams and hosting age-inclusive social events. See training methods to fit your business.

5. Offer training and development opportunities that appeal to workers of all ages

Provide training and development opportunities that are attractive and open to workers of all ages. Consider that older workers may want to retrain on new technologies and processes that have been introduced into your organisation. Ensure that any development opportunities don't have any barriers that would prevent older workers from applying. See training your staff.