Include, Individualize, and Integrate: Organizational Meta-strategies for Mature Workers

Sharon K Parker,  Daniela M Andrei

Work, Aging and Retirement, waz009,

Published: 2 September 2019


In this commentary, we synthesize the literature on mature workers in organizations to support the development of an intervention-focused research program. We identify 3 broad approaches, or “meta-strategies,” which theory and research suggest organizations can use to reap the benefits associated with a mature and age-diverse workforce. “Include” involves strategies to create an inclusive climate in which mature workers are welcomed and fairly treated and is based on theories such as optimal distinctiveness theory. “Individualize” involves strategies to adapt the work to meet the individual needs and preferences of an aging workforce, such as work redesign and is based on theories about how people change over the life span. “Integrate” involves strategies to address the greater age diversity that comes with an aging workforce, such as how mentoring schemes enable younger and older workers to better learn from each other, and is based on theories such as those concerned with team diversity. We believe that this framework will help organizational decision makers to think more broadly and more proactively about how to manage, and harness the benefits of, an aging workforce. Our framework also challenges researchers to give more attention to intervention studies, including considering what configurations of strategies might be most helpful, as well as whether sequencing of strategies is important.