Ageism in the Workplace
Hiring top talent is something every business strives for. After all, experienced and dedicated employees are always excellent to have on your team. As people gain experience, they develop and deepen their skills and competencies. Despite this, many older employees state that they face discrimination in their workplace due to their age. A survey done by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) found that 61% of respondents had experienced or witnessed discrimination based on age in their workplace.
This number is especially concerning since the workforce is getting older and working longer in their careers. This means that hiring and keeping experienced talent is more important than ever. Making sure that your workplace is accepting of people of all ages will ensure that you keep older employees satisfied with working at your company. If you’re not sure how to foster an age-inclusive company culture, here are a few suggestions to help.
What is Workplace Ageism?
Despite how common ageism is, many people do not know it exists. Ageism is a type of discrimination or prejudice that consists of treating an employee poorly compared to others because of their age. Age discrimination is prohibited by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which forbids discrimination and harassment of people over the age of 40 based on their age.
Combating Ageism in your Workplace
Preventing age-based discrimination from happening at your company starts with implementing practices to raise awareness of biases and behaviors associated with ageism. Start by creating a training program to address unconscious biases. Unconscious bias training is an important part of promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace for everyone, which is something that Cura HR values within our organization.
Promoting an Inclusive Company Culture
When looking at your team, are there people of all different age groups? Or is your company dominated by people of a certain age group? Having a team of all ages promotes inclusivity and different perspectives, which helps employees and teams think creatively.
Ensure that managers and employees know that it’s not okay to make jokes about or comment on someone’s age. Remarks such as “OK Boomer or OK Snowflake,” “You are so young,” or “When are you going to retire?” are never appropriate in the workplace. Use age-inclusive language on your company’s website and social media channels, and include a statement about how promoting diversity in age is an important value to your company.
Be Conscious of Ageism throughout the Employee Lifecycle
Hiring is another place to be aware of potential biases. Subconscious bias can cause hiring managers to hire people very similar to themselves. Unfortunately, this can lead to a workplace made up of very similar people. If you have two qualified candidates, and only hire one of them because they are younger, that is a form of age discrimination.
Some other forms of age discrimination throughout the employee lifecycle include:
- Passing up people for promotions based on their age
- Not providing salary increases to older employees
- Laying off only older employees
- Encouraging older employees to retire early
Cura HR Can Help You Promote an Age-Inclusive Workplace
Are you unsure about how to create a work environment that is inclusive for employees of all ages? At Cura HR we offer outsourced HR partnership and support at the level you need. Whether you need help developing an ageism prevention training program or want to create a more inclusive hiring process, Cura HR has your back!
We’d love to learn about your business and how we can leverage best practices to elevate your HR!