Eneslow Pedorthic Enterprises is a comfort footwear store. They specialize in readymade and custom-made shoes to reduce foot pain and improve balance and gait. They currently have two stores in Manhattan and one in Queens.
Of the company’s 36 employees, 14 are over 50 years old. A 79-year-old does all of the shoe modifications and Robert Schwartz, owner of the company, is 75 years old and still enjoys working seven days a week.
Robert Schwartz says he believes having a multigenerational workforce is extremely valuable and explains, “it is my belief, that if we take care of ourselves, we only get better with age.”
Specific Age Smart Policies & Practices
• They provide in-store paper applications so people who walk in off the street, don’t have access to a computer and/or can’t access the internet can apply.
• They welcome older workers who have trouble getting jobs elsewhere. “We are happy for them to come and work for us. Their maturity gives them greater people skills and patience which is very important to our business model,” says Robert.
JOB RESTRUCTURING & TRAINING
• The Eneslow Pedorthic Institute (EPI) gives every new employee (regardless of age or experience) formal training in pedorthics, shoe fitting and retail shoe sales.
• They cross-train every new employee in their behind-the-scenes business operations (the stock room where the shoes are kept, the workshop where they are made, and the administration).
PHYSICAL WORK ENVIRONMENT
• The workshop has a cleaning and filtration system that keeps the air clean from the dust and debris that occurs in the shoe making process.
• All of the equipment in the workshop is ergonomic. Machines can be adjusted to fit people of different sizes and work styles. Ergonomic stools are provided to factory staff who sit in one place for long periods of time to do very delicate work.
• Supportive footwear is also encouraged through a substantial employee discount for Eneslow shoes.
FLEXIBILITY IN SCHEDULING
• Staff can swap shifts with advance notice or take a leave of absence for personal reasons if necessary.
• People with jobs that don’t require them to work on site are allowed to telecommute with remote access.
• Workers can join the Shoemakers union and/or the Salesforce union and receive additional pension and retirement benefits.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR THOSE APPROACHING RETIREMENT/RETIREES
• As employees reach retirement age, or semi-retirement age, they can “dial-up or dial-down” their workloads, working fewer or more hours.
• Retirees continue to receive their employee discount and are invited to come celebrate with the company when they have events.