Give older staff equal opportunities, says NICE

Employers should give all their staff the same opportunity to train and develop new skills – no matter how old they are.

This is one of the messages from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), in updated guidance on workplace health published today/in March.

The guidance examines how organisational culture and the role of managers can be used to improve the health and wellbeing of employees.

It suggests that employers should be wary of preconceived ideas that older staff - which it defines as those aged over 50 - may find it difficult to learn new tasks, or that younger employees are less dependable.

New recommendations in the guidance state that employers and line managers should

  • offer older staff the same access to training and development opportunities as younger employees
  • treat each staff member as an individual and avoid making stereotypical assumptions based on their age
  • consider delivering a workplace health promotion programme, which incorporates both physical activity and diet, for staff of all ages

Jenny Nissler, CSP professional adviser, told Frontline: ‘This updated guidance promotes a ‘life course’ approach that takes the health and wellbeing of staff of all ages into account.

‘It encourages employers to take an individual approach and avoid making assumptions about older workers.

‘This inclusive perspective is very welcome, and it addresses the realities of the workplace now and in the future.’

She added that the guidance also notes gaps in available evidence and gives recommendations for areas for further research, including establishing effective and cost-effective interventions to help older employees.

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