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AARP Launches New Digital Tool to Help Employers Build Age-Diverse Workforce

Online platform earns recognition for showing how a multigenerational workforce benefits employers’ bottom lines

Senior adult African American businessman is looking at laptop computer screen during conference or business seminar. He is being assisted by professional young adult Hispanic businesswoman. The colleagues are taking a seminar or business training class with other diverse professionals.
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With people living and working longer than ever before, employers must balance the needs of workers from four or five different age groups in order to be truly successful. AARP, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the World Economic Forum have created a new interactive online platform, Growing with Age, to give employers the necessary tools, research and resources to help them develop better practices to build their multigenerational workforce.

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"As people live, learn and earn longer, AARP is committed to working with businesses to help them reap the benefits of a multigenerational workforce where people can continue to work for as long as they need or want to,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins when the platform debuted. “We are thrilled to launch this new digital platform with the World Economic Forum and OECD to continue helping employees and businesses thrive through workforces that maximize diversity, equity and inclusion."

The online platform, launched Dec. 16, 2020, is a continuation of the work of the Living, Learning, and Earning Longer Collaborative Initiative. The initiative is comprised of more than 50 global employers, representing over 2 million employees and more than $1 trillion in annual revenue. On May 4, 2021, the Growing with Age platform received honorable mention recognition in the Politics and Policy category of Fast Company’s annual global innovation awards.

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“AARP is honored that our Growing with Age platform has been recognized as a Fast Company 2021 World Changing Idea,” says AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Public Policy Officer Debra Whitman. “We are working with employers across the globe to help them embrace age diversity and capture the benefits of a multigenerational workforce.”

The Growing with Age platform provides employers with:

  • A new assessment employers can use to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their age-specific diversity and inclusion initiatives.
  • A Workforce Benchmarking Tool that can help businesses better understand how their age-diverse efforts compare with those of other companies. Employers can also download a tailored toolkit based on their results.
  • Case studies from age-inclusive organizations around the globe.
  • Research from AARP and other organizations to help employers build, support and sustain multigenerational workforces.

"If employers and other key stakeholders are to adapt to ongoing changes in the world of work — now accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic — they will need to reevaluate their policies and practices with an eye toward an age-inclusive workforce,” said OECD Director of Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Stefano Scarpetta in a report released simultaneously with the launch of the platform.

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The report, “Promoting an Age-Inclusive Workforce,” offers strategies businesses can use to ensure that all employees are getting the opportunity to fully contribute and grow. The report recommends that companies:

  • Use strategic workforce planning to identify where skill shortages might occur, then train employees to fill those needs regardless of age.
  • Invest in diversity-training programs to eliminate conscious and subconscious age bias, in some cases specifically targeting some managers or teams who can be held accountable.
  • Use age-neutral imagery and language in job advertisements and descriptions, and utilize software programs that can minimize the impact of age stereotypes when sorting through applications.

“Despite older adults now being healthier and better educated than ever before, their talent often remains underutilized and overlooked,” Scarpetta said. “This will have to be turned around."

Editor’s note: This article originally was published on Dec. 16, 2020. It was been updated with information about the Fast Company award.

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