Ageism remains an ongoing issue in the workforce, which could undermine hiring practices while causing workplace dissatisfaction and high turnover rates. These issues continue to occur at a time of widespread emphasis on DEI initiatives and workplace safety.
Research shows that more than 60% of workers between the ages of 45 and 60 feel they experience ageism constantly. Identifying and eliminating ageism from organizational processes can help companies maximize talent acquisition while creating a more diverse and resilient workforce. The MRI Network visits the top strategies for navigating ageism and ensuring fair employment standards that attract top talent.
Job descriptions (JDs) serve as the portal to a company’s culture by detailing what candidates can expect by taking on a role. JD content affects how job seekers respond to an opening. In some cases, JD wording may contain inherent biases that turn away the most qualified individuals. The following JD practices contain age-related bias and should be avoided:
- Using age-related adjectives to describe the workplace or team. Examples of these statements include “an energetic and vibrant team” and “a young startup with lots of potential for self-growth.”
- Suggesting specific candidate demographics based on age. These include terms like “fresh graduates” and “seasoned experts.”
- Listing the years of experience required for a role. The practice limits candidates from both sides of the age spectrum. Potential hires may feel overqualified or ill-equipped to apply for the opening.
Modern companies can apply advanced JD vetting tools like Ongig to automatically assess their postings for biases such as ageism. Users can use the tool’s advanced algorithms to immediately and accurately replace biased wording with neutral suggestions before publishing them.
Blind resume screening eliminates ageism from the recruiting process by removing excess personal information that could result in favoritism or the exhibition of personal biass. Employers can effectively conduct blind screening by removing their candidates’ names, year of graduation, and other personal information related to age, gender, or ethnicity from the resume vetting process. Doing so helps companies eliminate biases while ensuring that the most qualified person gets hired for a role.
Multigenerational collaborations can help organizations create a sense of belonging and acceptance across the workforce regardless of age. Employers can encourage intergenerational collaboration within the organization by promoting psychological safety where each individual has the space to share their thoughts and opinions.
Organizational leaders may also provide team-building activities such as Lego Serious Play, where employees have the opportunity to stimulate critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration among team members. A combination of mentoring and reverse mentoring is another effective approach to promoting intergenerational teamwork, where team members of varying seniority levels can exchange information to shed light on less familiar areas.
Modern organizations require employees to keep up with ever-changing industry demands by keeping their abilities and skills constantly optimized for their roles. Organizations can support older workers in adapting to change by guiding them toward upskilling and reskilling opportunities.
Employers may add incentives such as training allowances to encourage training participation among older workers. Decision-makers should also identify current skill sets and proficiencies to provide experienced workers with the most impactful training outcomes.
Established DEI policies can help organizations counter ageism at work by proactively providing workers with community support and useful resources through relevant employee resource groups (ERGs). Companies may also include age-based teachings in their DEI initiative, which outlines the discriminatory acts of ageism, repercussions, and guided steps on reporting suspected cases of discrimination. These inclusive workplace policies can help set the stage for equal opportunities at work and promote diverse teams.
Industry reports predict that over 150 million jobs worldwide are expected to shift to workers over the age of 55 by 2030. It is becoming increasingly essential for organizational leaders to eliminate ageism in their workplace to broaden their search for the most talented hires, tap into valuable experiences, and advance their company’s goals.