Age at work - an agenda that matters across the UK

Age at work is an agenda that matters across the UK, and as Manchester is the UK’s first age friendly city, we were grateful to the Co-Operative Group for hosting us and companies from across the region to work through how business responds to our ageing population, and how to make the most of an intergenerational workforce with four generations in work.

I presented our Missing Million report recommendations, and set out the next steps for the age at work campaign.  As we speak, this is a new agenda, and a number of our member companies are in the early stages of delivering their commitment to achieving real change. 

There is more that organisations can do to ensure we make the most of our people, and business is resilient for the future.

Helen Webb, HR Director of Food Retail at the Co-Operative Group, and a member of BITC’s Age at Work leadership team, spoke about the importance of this agenda to the Co-Operative group.  Co-op stores are rooted in their communities, and store workforces reflect those communities, achieved through an inclusive recruitment process.  Helen spoke about the importance of training and skills, valuing life experience and developing people.  Flexibility is a way of life in retail, with varying shift patterns, and the Co-Operative Group is working through what more they can do.  Developing ideas on occupational health and wellbeing, and supporting line managers to make the most of an intergenerational workforce are amongst the organisation’s next steps. 

Janice Henson , Managing Director,de Poel Community , described in invaluable detail the work she has done to build partnerships and create support to get older workers into jobs. 
Read a review of the de Poel Community.

Sodexo was a finalist for the BITC Championing an Ageing Workforce award, and Katy Rawlinson, HR Business Partner, Sodexo, spoke about Sodexo’s Generations workstream. 

In the table discussions, it became clear that, whilst many of our members are doing good work on flexibility and occupational health, having spent some time thinking through the impacts of our ageing population, there is more that each organisations can do to ensure we make the most of our people, and business is resilient for the future.