Resource launched to support ageing workforce

The Age Action Alliance’s Healthy Workplaces Group has launched an employer resource to support a healthy and productive ageing workforce.

It includes top tips, easy-to-use resources, and practical information and advice for all sizes of organisations.

Denise Keating, chief executive of Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (Enei) and chair of the Age Action Alliance’s Healthy Workplaces Group (pictured), said: “Employers need to attract and retain workers of all ages to remain competitive and ensure a skilled, experienced and productive workforce.

“Those who don’t, risk higher costs through increased absenteeism, lower job performance and greater loss of expertise.”

Steve Webb, minister for pensions, added: “Supporting older people in employment is absolutely critical to the economy. We cannot afford to lose the valuable skills and experience of older workers prematurely.

“Government measures, such as removing the default retirement age, extending occupational health services and extending the right to request flexible working, will help to give employers and employees more control over how they organise and manage their work to best meet the needs of both the business and its workers.”

Dame Carol Black, co-author of Health at work: an independent review of sickness absence and co-chair of the Health at Work Network’s Public Health Responsibility Deal, said: “I very much welcome this new resource for employers. The aims of the Age Action Alliance are simple and they are necessary.

“First, we must help to restore the dignity and respect accorded to older people that once was the accepted norm in our society. Part of that respect, a focus of the gathering today, is to realise the social and business value contained in the experience, commitment and motivation of older people, by enabling those qualities to flourish. Not only is this key to maintaining dignity, it also makes good sense to draw on this still-undervalued human resource for business.

“Of course there are challenges. Alongside the strengths of experience and maturity, with honed skills and tested judgement, ageing brings familiar disadvantages. Common among them are threats to health and the tiresome burdens of physical wear and tear.

“And often there are continuing personal responsibilities, as carers, for example. These bring a need for workplace flexibility, adaptations and compromise, and, above all, an imaginative and empathic approach by employers to support continued valued working life.

“A major purpose of the Age Action Alliance in launching a new employer resource is to provide a stimulus with information and practical advice to support a productive ageing workforce, by maintaining [employees’] wellbeing and working capability, helping them to keep as healthy as possible.”