How can we combat ageism at work?
Stay alert, keep an eye out for stereotypes, and don’t make pre-assumptions.
Getting into such a mindset and assuming that your senior workers are counting the remaining days to retire or that the incumbent will quit for a better job is harmful to your company’s overall morale. It also exposes your company to serious legal issues. Pay attention to the details and ask managers to search for the applicants that fit the bill.
1. Provide possibilities for training and promotion.
Keep all of your company’s training programs (e.g., new hiring, leadership, diversity and inclusion, awareness, etc.) up-to-date. Since many employees are unaware of ageism in the workplace, doing so will cover this subject. It’s not a disadvantage to have an individual with much more experience than the position requires. Since having many applicants is an advantage in today’s employment market, tell your managers to keep the candidates flowing. Regardless of the candidate’s technological capabilities, ensure that training is included in the onboarding process. Constant coaching and employees being able to review their previous learning is beneficial.
2. Keep an eye out for social cues in the workplace.
It’s also critical to look for social signs in the workplace. Although usually done with kindness and humor, those birthday cards that make fun of old age are unhealthy and can indicate age discrimination within the company. Although it seems innocent, these are usually the main culprit in age-discrimination lawsuits.
3. Have meaningful conversations with your employees
It’s crucial to prevent ageism in the workplace by creating a friendly environment where employees can share their concerns and ideas and participate in a meaningful dialogue. Communication is the best method to build trust with your employees, demonstrate commonalities, and break down the generational walls that may have formed unwillingly.
4. Establish mentoring programs
Aside from the plethora of evidence backing up mentorship programmes, such as increased job satisfaction, organizational loyalty, professional growth, and perceived work-related satisfaction, mentorship programmes can effectively address age-related issues. Further, the expertise and information that senior workers contribute to a business are priceless. Others can only obtain that info if older employees are willing to share their experiences with other co-workers.
Another way to connect these age groups is through reverse mentoring. Reverse mentoring is when a younger employee assists their mentor to get familiar with less known technology, programmes, and social media platforms. It helps both parties bridge the knowledge gap, increases their chances of having a compassionate perspective about the company’s future, and minimizes involuntary bias.