When asset managers talk about intergenerational transfer, they are typically referring to how wealth is handed down from one generation to the next. But given the fact that more and more people are working longer, focusing on the intergenerational transfer of skills within the context of the workplace is as important—if not more—for long-term wealth transfer and economic stability.

To promote workplace practices that encourage older workers to stay in the workforce and transfer their knowledge to younger workers, the Columbia University Robert N. Butler Aging Center runs The Age Smart Employer initiative and awards program.

The Age Smart Employer program has collected over a hundred examples of employers, both big and small, for profit and non-profit, across a variety of industries, who are actively managing multiple generations at work. As a result, the program has learned a couple of key lessons:

  • Age-smart employers have an inclusive mindset. They see their employees as people first, and value whatever they bring to the table. By embracing their multigenerational workplace as an opportunity, these leaders 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.

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Anne Weisberg is the Senior Vice President for Strategy at the Families and Work Institute. She is a recognized thought leader who has designed innovative practices to build effective, inclusive work environments, including co-authoring the best-selling “Mass Career Customization: Aligning the Workplace with Today’s Nontraditional Workforce” (HBS, 2007).