People are living longer, and working longer, too. In New York City’s 700,000 workers are over 55 — 18% of the workforce. Many will work well past traditional retirement age.  Employers need guidance on how to create a workplace that encourages different generations to work productively and profitably side-by-side.

The Age Smart Employer Awards – an initiative of the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center, founded in partnership with The New York Academy of Medicine and funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation – aims to address this need by researching and identifying best practices, honoring employers who value workers of all ages, and supporting businesses looking to maximize the potential of their workers as they age.

Age smart employers recognize the value of older workers. By embracing their multigenerational workplace as an opportunity, these visionaries use innovation, flexibility and creative talent management to stay ahead. They also realize that hiring, retaining and using older workers strategically can solve a variety of pressing problems business owners face.

Age smart strategies directly support and utilize the talents of older workers, but these strategies benefit all workers. Age smart strategies have helped employers lower costs, boost productivity, spark new business, and better align their products and services with New York City’s booming older adult consumer market.

Some businesses don’t realize they’re age smart. Age-smart practices include:

  • flex hours and telecommuting

  • phased retirement

  • encouraging mentor relationships

  • wellness programs

  • recruiting older workers

  • cross-training all workers

  • allowing employees to swap shifts

  • creating new paths of advancement within a business

  • enlisting older workers to strategically retain and transfer a business’s networks and knowledge across generations

  • rewarding employees who model work ethic and emotional intelligence for others

  • ensuring that training and development opportunities are offered to workers of all ages

Past awardees include Silvercup Studios (TV and movie studio), National Grid (utility company), PFK O'Connor Davies (accounting firm), Brooks Brothers (clothing manufacturer and retailer), Amy's Breads (wholesale and retail bakery) and Montefiore Medical Center (health care). For a complete listing and more information, please click here or visit agesmartemployer.org.

To read coverage of past award cycles, please see the following links:

  • Mailman School of Public Health, “NYC’s “Age Smart” Employers Honored,” January 19, 2018

  • Forbes, “How Age-Smart Employers See The Value Of Older Workers,” January 18, 2018

  • Queens Gazette, “Three Queens Companies Finalists For Award For Outstanding Workplace Practices,” January 10, 2018

  • Transmission, Mailman School of Public Health, “Age Smart Ceremony Celebrates Older Workers and the Companies They Work For,” December 21, 2015

  • Huffington Post, “Ageless in NYC,” by Michael Hodin, December 16, 2015

  • Wall Street Journal, “Companies Tap Fountains of Age” by Corinne Ramey, December 8, 2015

Resources: Age Smart Industry Guides
Because small businesses are NYC’s largest employer, our team asked 100+ small business owners and advisors about their older workers. The Age Smart Industry Guides: How NYC Small Businesses Use Older Workers to Solve their Staffing Challenges are the result of these conversations. They are filled with peer-to-peer advice on solving staffing challenges and thinking about age as an asset when building a small business team. Businesses in the guide come from all boroughs and include city landmarks, neighborhood stalwarts and up-and-coming destinations.