launches free age diversity toolkit has launched a new free toolkit for employers seeking to target older workers, giving advice on best practice in areas ranging from mindset and recruitment to retention.

Line of people different ages waiting for their turn for interview.

Request a copy of the toolkit

How do we move from awareness of the needs of older workers to action? As part of National Older Workers Week [NOWW], sponsored by Phoenix Group, has launched a free employer toolkit which aims to do just that.

NOWW exists to raise awareness about the issues facing older workers, but also to push employers and policymakers to action to address some of the challenges, from ageism in the recruitment process to returning to work after a career break and a lack of part-time opportunities.

The first employer event of the week highlighted those challenges from the point of view of older workers. The second sought to point out examples of employer good practice. The last aimed to move from understanding and inspiration to action.

Our new age diversity toolkit provides employers not just with the reasons why they need to be more age diverse and how they and all of us can benefit as a result, but also the practical steps that they can take now so that they are on the front foot and not struggling to cope with wave after wave of crisis management.

It starts with promoting an age inclusive culture. Mindset is all when it comes to age diversity and that requires an awareness of the nature of the problem. To be aware of a problem you need to engage and listen. How many employers ask their older workers about their perception of the workplace or take notice of the discrepancy between surveys of employers and those of older workers with regard to ageism at work?

A recent study by the Institute for Employment Studies found age bias is not seen as a priority issue by employers and when they do think about it they are more worried about a lack of younger workers. Most think they already have an age diverse workforce and some said they would only take action if there was a big age discrimination case or something similar. The study showed those who did collect data on age didn’t really analyse it.

To tackle a problem you need to be aware of what it is and how it relates to your organisation. An age-diverse culture involves challenging the negative stereotypes that we see and that we internalise and promoting the benefits of a multigenerational workforce.

If you get the culture and awareness right, then the practical steps of how this applies to all areas of your organisation will ensue.

From commitment to action

The toolkit covers everything from flexible working and how to get the most out of it for both employers and employees, including how to manage a hybrid workforce, the recruitment process, from interviews to job adverts and assessments, career breaks and ensuring those who have taken them are supported back into work and appreciated for all their experience rather than overlooked, upskilling and redeployment, reverse mentoring, midlife MOTs and supporting carers and those going through the menopause to ensure they don’t have to drop out of the workforce.

The subject areas and focus on practical steps are backed up by employer case studies which show how individual employers have addressed each area and how it has benefited them. The toolkit ends with the case study of an employer who sees employing older workers as its unique selling point, turning the negative stereotypes on their head.

Among the actions employers can take is to target older workers through advertising jobs on sites like which cater specifically to these audiences and to sign up to our Top Employers Charter. Employers who do sign up to the charter are doing so as a public statement of their commitment to fully embracing the business case for employing older workers.   That includes:

  • Having a commitment to openly supporting flexible working across the organisation and throughout the working life cycle
  • Having a commitment to treating older workers as equals, to stamping out age bias from recruitment onwards
  • Demonstrating a commitment to providing a diverse and inclusive workplace for all employees, regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability or sexual orientation
  • Being committed to enabling employees to develop and build their careers – whatever their working pattern and whatever their age, for instance, ensuring training is available and appropriate for all ages
  • Being aware of issues affecting older workers, such as caring responsibilities and health issues, and providing an open and supportive culture which enables employees to discuss these and get the help they need
  • Working towards other progressive and innovative practices and policies which support and educate employees (including age awareness programmes for line managers, for example).
  • Having an awareness of the benefits to organisations of these policies and practices
  • Sharing a commitment to the communication of the business benefits of flexible working to the whole organisation.

We hope that the toolkit will give employers some food for thought and some concrete ideas for action.

The population is ageing now. As a society, we have delayed addressing the issue of age diversity in the workforce, but it cannot be avoided and those who prepare now, who have the structures in place to support a multigenerational workforce, will benefit the most.

You can download the free toolkit here.

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