In Forbes, Next Avenue contributor Richard Eisenberg covers the 2017 Age Smart Employer Awards in New York City. The awards are a project of Columbia University’s Aging Center at the Mailman School of Public Health. The awards go to New York City-based businesses and nonprofits who are agents of change in the workplace. Director Ruth Finkelstein says,
We do them to call attention to the concrete and specific policies and practices that employers can use, and are using, to recruit, engage and retrain workforces of all ages, including older workers.
and Dr. Linda Fried, dean of Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and a Next Avenue Influencer in Aging said,
We’ve increased our life expectancy by 50% in the last 100 years. That’s astounding and an immense achievement to be proud of. Now we have to design society for longer lives, and these awards, I think, are a linchpin of that
A hundred firms and nonprofits entered the 2017 competition, double the number in 2016, which was 2 ½ times the number of the year before. The breadth of applicants expanded, too.
Gary Kesner, executive vice president for Silvercup Studios (one of this year’s Age Smart Employer Award winners) offered a terrific quote at the ceremony:
As a mature worker myself, I can only echo Ingrid Bergman, who said: ‘Getting old is like climbing a mountain; you get a little out of breath, but the view is much better!’
Here are some insights into the approach and thinking of the winners.
People talk about the aging workforce. We just call them our workforce.
You hire community members in their 50s, 60s and 70s, but you don’t just hire them,” said Finkelstein. “You set them up for success with intensive and ongoing training and mentoring.
We bring people into our organization who may be ‘aged out’ in other organizations
It’s great to see our community engaged at all ages and continuing to keep on learning throughout their lifetime. You have to keep reinventing yourself. These people do that every day and the kids are inspired by that.
It costs more to recruit and replace employees than to retain them.” Also, he added, older employees “are not necessarily looking to move up and out,” have low absenteeism rates and “have a maturity in handling problems; they don’t get as rattled.
Link to a full list of winners and the article: How Age-Smart Employers See The Value Of Older Workers