Generational Inclusion: At Both Ends of the Age Continuum
When people think about workplace diversity, they tend to think first and foremost about racial and gender diversity. That’s understandable, as these are two critical elements of diversity. However, race and gender certainly don’t represent the only sources of workplace diversity.
Age is also a key element of workplace diversity.
A workplace that is evenly split between men and women and broadly representative of the nation’s or the local community’s racial makeup is not as diverse as it could be if all of those otherwise diverse workers are aged 30 to 40 years old.
The concept of age-based workplace diversity should certainly be top of mind for employers in the current labor market. Yes, labor is in short supply, and employers should be looking wherever they can to staff their operations, including older workers, but that’s not the full picture.
Engaging Baby Boomers
As Baby Boomers continue to reach retirement age, this large demographic is quickly disappearing from many workforces, potentially leaving a big gap in institutional knowledge and valuable industry experience.
Employers with older workers should think of ways to retain as many of those valuable assets as possible. This could mean incentivizing older workers to delay retirement or convincing them to stay on even part time in some kind of mentoring or advisory capacity. Many would likely welcome the opportunity to ease into retirement while maintaining regular professional engagement and filling some of their newfound free time.
Making Way for Gen Z
It's also important to note that age-based workplace diversity isn’t only about older workers or the middle-aged staff who make up the core of many offices. Younger workers are also key to age diversity in the workplace. While younger workers rarely have anywhere near the experience of their older peers, they do have valuable insights and perspectives. Moreover, younger workers often come to organizations with some of the most up-to-date education available by virtue of the fact that many are recent graduates.
While many organizations are focused on racial and/or gender diversity, those organizations that are intentional about creating a generationally diverse organization will retain the best talent, harness innovation and maintain a competitive advantage for decades to come.
When it comes to workplace diversity, be inclusive!
Are you tired of inclusion, diversity and equity learning that doesn't link to business? Are you tired of tactics that don’t drive business results? InclusionINC has inclusion and strategic consulting that link inclusion to employee engagement, productivity, innovation and retention, moving inclusion beyond tactics to a critical business strategy.