01 Oct 2019

10 tips for creating an age inclusive workplace

Businesses that embrace age diversity and inclusiveness are more likely to succeed with a more stable and high performing workforce.

Age diverse teams with a balance of youth and maturity tend to be more engaged, more innovative and more productive.

Many mature workers are choosing to stay working longer. We can expect 3 or 4 generations to be working together.

Companies that recruit and retain the best talent regardless of age have a competitive edge as talent shortages soar across a range of occupations.

Here are 10 tips for becoming a more age inclusive employer:

1.       Focus on age inclusiveness - Aim for an integrated age diverse workplace that values all age groups.  

2.       Implement age inclusive policies and practices – Review your policies and practices through the lens of life stages. Consider introducing measures for age diversity, as what is measured gets done.   

3.       Lead from the top - Send clear concise messages about age diversity and role model good inclusion practice. Real change happens when leadership is matched by the attitudes and actions of managers, team leaders and HR professionals.  

4.       Communicate clearly - Encourage timely, open and honest conversations between managers, workers and colleagues to fix problems early on.

5.       Bust myths - Challenge ageist attitudes, outdated beliefs and myths about older and younger workers. Negative stereotypes can reinforce unconscious bias.  

6.       Deliver awareness training – Ensure managers and workers gain a better understanding of unconscious bias, longevity trends, their impacts and opportunities.     

7.       Encourage collaboration across mixed age teams - Generate new ideas and improve productivity. Set up networks which facilitate knowledge sharing and mentoring.   

8.       Know your workforce - Understand the age profiles across your company and identify key roles where you are most at risk.  

9.       Create transition pathways – Retirement may not be the destination for many. Have early trust-based talks with older workers about future plans and their intentions.

10.   Run pilot projects – Do test runs of age inclusive initiatives. Build in constructive feedback and make changes, if needed.

Multiple generations working together are here to stay. The younger workers of today will be the older workers of tomorrow.

Mary
Author

Mary Somervell

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