Age-friendly workplaces: A self-assessment tool for employers

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A healthy work environment means more productive and engaged employees. An important aspect of creating a healthy work environment is cultivating a workplace culture that embraces and values workers of all ages and abilities, and that includes older workers.

Age-friendly workplaces are good for business, and good for employers and employees.

Adopting age-friendly recruitment practices that attract applicants over 50 years of age enables employers to draw on a wider pool of talent. Employers that retain older workers are retaining experience, corporate knowledge, productivity and diversity in their workplaces.

Any sized business or workplace can become age-friendly and adopt age-friendly practices. Take this simple assessment to find out if you offer a workplace that is attractive to older workers.

Human resource planning checklist

  • We know the age profile of our workforce.
  • We offer support in effective retirement planning, including the financial and non-financial aspects of retirement (e.g., phased retirement).
  • The business case for recruiting and retaining older workers is well understood in our organization.
  • We have policies that recognize the diversity of all workers, including older workers.
  • We have policies that recognize the specific needs of older adults who are caregivers, including offering flexible work hours and ensuring workers job security upon return from their care-giving role.
  • Our pension plan (where applicable) offers an option for gradual retirement with a gradual decrease in work hours and increase in pension benefits.
  • We have implemented policies aimed at recognizing the specific needs of our employees who are returning from sick leave, whether in terms of scheduling or specific needs related to workstation ergonomics.

Recruitment checklist

We state in our job advertisements that we seek employees:

  • With extensive work experience and/or skills
  • From diverse backgrounds
  • Other

When interviewing applicants we:

  • Focus on skills and experience
  • Use people of different ages on selection panels, if appropriate
  • Make sure the interview setting is accessible to applicants with mobility and/or communication challenges
  • Other

We place job ads where older workers are likely to see them, such as:

  • Local newspapers
  • Electronic websites and job banks (e.g., Third Quarter website)
  • Shopping centres
  • Seniors' centres or community centres
  • Recruitment agencies
  • Professional/trade/association newsletters
  • Other

Training and development checklist

We provide flexible training opportunities such as:

  • On-the-job coaching
  • Peer training/cross-mentorship between older and younger employees
  • Individualized training
  • Job rotation
  • Cross-training
  • Special projects
  • Job shadowing
  • Other

To help keep the skills of all employees, including older employees, up-to-date, we:

  • Conduct a training needs assessment
  • Help employees develop an individualized learning plan
  • Provide funds for employees to take approved training
  • Pay professional dues or support attendance at industry conferences
  • Other

Retention checklist

We show we value employees by:

  • Regularly giving positive and constructive feedback
  • Encouraging, listening to and implementing suggestions from staff feedback
  • Having regular staff meetings
  • Establishing a culture of respect in the workplace
  • Celebrating employees' achievements
  • Conducting "stay interviews" to ascertain what older workers need in order to stay with the organization
  • Providing information sessions on life transition issues (retirement, caregiving, aging in place, healthy aging, chronic disease prevention, etc.)
  • Addressing the needs of individuals using assistive devices by ensuring our building is accessible
  • Offering similar or pro-rated benefits to our part-time employees
  • Other

We provide, as needed, accommodations to assist employees in doing their jobs, such as:

  • Amplified telephone equipment
  • Computer screens that allow for visual enhancement
  • Ergonomic keyboards/chairs
  • Modified lighting to ensure good visibility
  • Reduced physical loads to minimize lifting
  • Reduced above-shoulder work and other postural demands
  • Grip-friendly tools, and long-handled tools to reduce bending
  • Increased time between steps of a task
  • Other

We offer flexible work options such as:

  • Part-time work
  • Temporary work
  • Seasonal work
  • Consulting
  • Job Sharing
  • Flexible work times
  • Telework or working from home
  • Remote access
  • Phased retirement plans
  • Other

We educate our staff members on:

  • Discrimination laws, including age discrimination
  • Benefits of hiring and promoting older workers
  • The importance of discussing and addressing ageism and intergenerational issues in the workplace
  • Other

This document has been jointly prepared by the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Seniors Forum. The Forum is an intergovernmental body established to share information, discuss new and emerging issues related to seniors, and work collaboratively on key projects.

Québec's participation in the development of this document was aimed at sharing expertise, information and best practices. However Québec does not subscribe to, or take part in, an integrated pan-Canadian approach in this field and intends to fully assume its responsibilities for seniors in Québec.

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