5 Reasons Why You Should Build an Age-Diverse Workforce and How to Do it

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What is age diversity in the workplace?

Baby boomers are grumpy. Millennials are lazy. And who knows what’s going on with Gen Z. These misconceptions plague workforces worldwide and create a divide where there should be cooperation. 

The simple fact is—that age diversity has a direct impact on your organization’s success. Not only does age discrimination create a rift among co-workers, but it’s also illegal under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which protects workers over 40 from discrimination. Some states even take it a step further and protect workers of all ages from discrimination. 

Unfortunately, despite laws like the ADEA, more than 60% of workers over the age of 40 report experiencing some form of age-related discrimination, a number that’s likely only going to grow as the workforce continues to age.  

Employees deserve better, and in this article, we explore the benefits of having an age-diverse team and how you can better implement business practices to include older employees. Plus, when you partner with Coach Diversity Institute, you have access to tools and experts to help you create a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment. 

5 Key Benefits of Age Diversity in the Workplace

Focusing on improving the diversity of your workplace includes eliminating age diversity. As with other forms of diversity, like gender, ethnicity, or LGBTQ status, developing an inclusive work environment has several benefits, from employee turnover to improved profitability. Valuing the importance of age diversity in the workplace has untold benefits. 

1. Older workers boost productivity.

Age diversity is a massive source of untapped productivity. Experts found that an increase of just 10% in age diversity leads to gains equal to a year of growth. Workplaces that implement diversity initiatives, including those for age, see more profit, better employment branding, improved market share, and a competitive edge over the competition. 

Establishing a culture of inclusion allows employees to spend less energy worrying about microaggressions or discrimination and more time focusing on the work at hand. 

2. Skill diversity is more prominent in an age-diverse workforce.

It is often assumed that an older worker may not be tech-savvy, but other qualities could be that he or she knows how to lead a team. Younger workers may have a different point of view, but they understand how to use social media for marketing their brand. A multigenerational workforce brings skills not found in less age-diverse organizations. 

Employees of different age groups bring different skill sets and varied experiences. Work teams benefit from different generations working together as there are fewer gaps in expertise. That means your business won’t miss out on high-quality results. 

3. More mentorship opportunities are available.

Internships, externships, apprenticeships, and other learning opportunities aren’t only for fresh graduates or inexperienced team members. Mentorship programs are a two-way street, and older workers can find value in learning new skills—in fact, they thrive on it!

Providing learning opportunities for all your workers, regardless of age, creates a rewarding environment that empowers team members to share with each other. For example, you can have younger workers hold workshops for platforms like LinkedIn, while your experienced employees can share leadership techniques. These mentoring programs will improve co-worker relationships and ultimately lead to lower turnover rates. 

4. Employee retention can improve.

Workers of all ages are resigning in record numbers and testing the labor market. Unfortunately, this move often comes at a sacrifice for the aging workforce, especially as age discrimination is still a massive issue. Keeping experienced workers benefits your organization because retention costs much less than recruiting, hiring, and training. 

When you focus on creating age-diverse teams, you value the experience older generations bring while fostering the creativity the younger generations strive for. As a result, team members feel valued, and human resource departments focus less on recruiting.

5. Traditional business skills can be used effectively.

The principles of business haven’t fundamentally changed just because the internet took over. Decision-making skills, accounting techniques, and HR practices are staples of a successful organization with roots extending well beyond the 21st century. An age-diverse workforce can marry traditional business skills and current initiatives to reap the benefits of both worlds. 

Creating an Age-diverse Workforce

It won’t be easy to shift workplace culture if the mindset is that the benefits seem too good to be true. Be sure to partner with Coach Diversity Institute to find out how you can become a certified diversity coach and shift your workplace culture from within! You can be part of the solution with these tips on creating an age-diverse workplace.

1. Ensure your hiring process is age-inclusive.

76% of workers from older generations claim that ageism makes finding a new job more difficult, according to AARP. Hiring managers can use methods to eliminate age bias, such as blind interviews, skills-based testing, and removing birthdates or ages from applications. 

Hiring professionals also find benefits in unconscious bias training from Coach Diversity Institute, which allows individuals to discover the hidden biases harming hiring practices. These courses provide the tools to overcome personal, implicit biases and how to be an advocate for diverse co-workers. 

2. Choose benefits available to employees wisely.

The ping-pong table in the breakroom is pretty cool, as are the video games. While younger generations appreciate benefits like these, older workers find more utility in retirement benefits, healthcare options, and learning opportunities. Craft your benefits package to match a diverse workforce, not what “hip” start-ups are flaunting. Not only will your team appreciate the catered benefits, but it saves you money on wasted perks your teams won’t use. 

3. Think through the onboarding experience.

The onboarding experience is the first taste an individual has as an employee, and it’s best to start on the right foot. Effective onboarding practices include requiring all employees to attend the same HR training or other training that was successful for other employees. Investing in the training and development of your newest employees, regardless of age, sets the tone that you intend to invest in them for the long haul. That investment significantly reduces turnover rates. 

Prevent Age Discrimination with Coach Diversity

Ageism is a rampant issue for organizations, especially as older workers stay in the workforce longer than previous generations. A toxic mentality is that these older workers are incapable of performing at a high level due to their age. However, the truth is that these workers bring a level of experience unmatched in less age-diverse environments. 

Implementing diverse initiatives brings lasting benefits to your organization. Everything from improved productivity to reduced training costs, having a multigenerational workforce under your supervision provides an opportunity for growth. 

To be an effective, inclusive leader, check out Coach Diversity Institute’s robust training programs for professionals, educators, and government employees. Coach Diversity Institute has cultural competency, unconscious bias, and microaggressions training for a variety of institutions. Plus, take advantage of diversity coaching programs designed to certify you as a Diversity Coach, where you take on a new role in creating a diverse organization.