Discrimination against older workers can have detrimental effects on victims’ ability to provide for their needs. Ageism can destroy professional relationships, reduce productivity and contribute to a harmful work environment.
Contrary to what some employers may think, older workers can provide considerable value to an organization. Leaders who find creative ways to collaborate with their aging workforce can reap positive results while also helping older workers enjoy promising opportunities.
Develop inclusive policies and benefits
Age can affect a worker’s mobility and skills. It can also impact the opinions others form regarding capability and purpose. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the risks that older workers face include health disparities and unrealistic working conditions. They may also have less opportunity to participate in training.
Employers can improve the work experience for their older workers through the creation and implementation of inclusive policies and benefits. Some examples include the following:
- Providing training opportunities to educate about new technology
- Continuing retirement benefits regardless of age
- Encouraging participation in a wellness program
- Supplying opportunities for flexible scheduling
Assess and capitalize on strengths
Employers can benefit from helping younger workers see the value of working alongside more experienced employees. According to U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, harassment can include teasing, hostility and off-hand comments. Employers that prioritize inclusion and develop a culture of respect and dignity can combat this kind of detrimental behavior.
One consideration is for employers to develop a mentorship program based on the strengths, experience and competencies of their older workers. They can pair senior members of their workforce with less-experienced employees and facilitate learning opportunities. Employers can also assess the skills of older workers and capitalize on their core strengths to enhance project success.