Age Diversity in the Workplace | Midlife Fulfilled Podcast
135

Ep 135 Age Diversity in the Workplace is Good for Employers and Employees

The economic imperative of age diversity in the workplace is beneficial to employers and employees alike and should be embraced in all industries.

Welcome to my takeaway from episode 134, my conversation with Maureen Wiley Clough where we discussed the economic imperative of age diversity in the workplace.

Happy Thanksgiving if you’re seeing this on November 23, 2023, in the U.S. I am very thankful to you for listening to the Midlife Fufliedd podcast!

Here is a recap of the three key discussion points from my conversation with Maureen Wiley Clough on ep 134.

1️⃣ Age diversity in the workplace contributes to innovation and better outcomes. A wide range of ages and experiences brings different perspectives and ideas to the table. It’s an economic imperative for companies to embrace age diversity and create an inclusive environment.

2️⃣ The tech industry in particular, along with the corporate world, has a bias towards youth. Many young startups tend to hire and surround themselves with a predominantly young workforce. This devalues the experience and wisdom that older employees can bring. Companies should actively seek to include older workers and benefit from their wealth of knowledge.

3️⃣ Awareness is the first step towards change. By openly discussing age bias and discrimination, we can create a supportive community for those who have experienced it and work towards finding solutions. Let’s celebrate getting older, challenge ageism, and improve the representation of all age groups in the tech industry and beyond.

As with any movement, awareness is always the first step. Maybe you’ve heard the saying “nothing changes if nothing changes.” Change for any cause begins with calling attention to the issue and why it needs to change. 

What Maureen is doing so boldly is calling out companies collectively, for age discrimination. Whether a company discriminates intentionally, or “unconsciously” it doesn’t matter. Maureen is shouting from the hilltop to companies and saying “become aware if you practice age discrimination in your business, and do something to resolve it!” 

Maureen is astutely pointing out that there is an economic imperative for companies to resolve the age discrimination problem because there is evidence that organizations with a diverse workgroup across all aspects of diversity, including age, are more innovative and more productive. For this reason alone, employers should be motivated to improve their age diversity. The bottom line is that age diversity is better for the bottom line. It’s not complicated. 

Maureen is also astute to point out that employees benefit from age diversity by offering them more variety in experience and knowledge to tap into. And, the truth is that all workers benefit from this vast array of knowledge. It’s not one age group benefiting more than another age group. They all benefit. And, these benefits flow to better outcomes, which is good for a company’s bottom line. The benefits of an age-diverse workplace are obvious. There are many examples of this.

What if SHRM created a Hall of Shame that lists companies with the worst age diversity records? No leader will want to be on this list.

Imagine if LinkedIn offered a digital badge that allows anyone to display “I support age diversity in the workplace.”

My takeaway and challenge to you is building awareness of age diversity as an economic imperative is the way to abolish age discrimination in the workplace. Do you have examples of age diversity in the workplace that you can share as success stories? If you do, post about them on LinkedIn calling attention to the age diversity as well as the successful outcome. And, if this is the norm in your organization, boast about it! If that seems a little odd, it’s not. Remember, that ageism in the workplace is not an easy topic to discuss out in the open. The best way to call attention to it is with good news, in other words with examples of organizations whose workforce is age diverse and getting great results. 

We need to see more and more examples of age diversity leading to great outcomes for business leaders to hear the message and so that they become more aware of the problem, especially if the problem is in their own organizations. 

I applaud Maureen Wiley Clough for carrying the torch on this topic through her podcast It Gets Late Early. On her podcast, Maureen interviews people from a variety of industries and expertise with insights, ideas and proposed solutions to put this issue behind us.

Do you have examples of age diversity in the workplace that you can share as success stories? If you do, post about them on LinkedIn calling attention to age diversity as well as the successful outcome.

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