Embracing Age-Inclusive Workplaces.
Occasionally, someone enjoys a week at MEA in Baja and says it was life-changing, but in the next sentence, they say, “But, how do we change the workplace to embrace the need for modern elders?”
In short, our work is half done.
However, it was encouraging for me to see this recent TIME magazine article entitled “Companies Embrace Older Workers As Younger Employees Quit or Become Less Reliable.” I love the story of Bob Adams, who, at 73, says the only way he could stay in the office pod manufacturing company he’s worked in for two decades is if they gave him a permanent four-day workweek with Fridays off.
(Dear Wisdom Well readers, now is the time to make these requests given that employees have more power [with a low unemployment rate] than in a normal economy).
The AARP Employer Pledge has been signed by a wide variety of companies, from Microsoft to Marriott to Macy’s. I’m proud that Airbnb signed the pledge when we asked. And, then, there’s Procter & Gamble that created their Mastery Society long ago as a means of keeping their institutionalized wisdom in the company, even if these tenured leaders don’t necessarily have a traditional path up the corporate ladder.
What do older workers want? The list is as diverse as are workers over 50: flexible work schedules, learning & development opportunities, the ability to mentor or retrain as an in-house coach, keeping company-sponsored health insurance when moving to part-time, caregiver leave, access to wealth advisors for free, and free MEA tuition to improve their TQ, “transitional intelligence” (okay, as for that last one, a CEO can hope, right?!).
It’s taken nearly a century for companies to get smart about developing retirement programs. Let’s hope it takes less than a decade for companies to start offering mainstream renewal programs for older workers who have no desire to leave the workplace any time soon. As we move from the era of retirement to the era of renewal, this goal is more essential than ever.