Discussion regarding diversity in the workplace often focuses on gender and ethnicity. While these are important, age diversity is equally relevant. For the first time in history, our workforce is comprised of 5 generations of employees; the Silent Generation (ages 74 to 94), Baby Boomers (ages 55 to 73), Generation X (ages 39 to 54), Generation Y (ages 24 to 38) and Generation Z (ages 23 and younger). Some employers believe that age diversity is a detriment to communication and cooperation in the workplace but there are actually a number of benefits that are derived from an age-diverse workforce.
Improved productivity: Age-diverse teams increase productivity especially when groups are involved in complex decision-making tasks.
Reduced turnover: An environment that is accepting, inclusive and values the contributions of all is conducive to retention.
Increased innovation: An age-diverse workforce provides a variety of experiences and perspectives which drives innovation resulting in an organization that appeals to a broad customer demographic.
Enlarged knowledge base: Older employees bring knowledge that comes from experience while younger employees often come from recent cutting edge education. This combination gives your company a greater ability to create ground-breaking solutions.
A diversified skill set: Each generation brings a different skill set. Young employees often have a strong understanding of high tech business mediums (social networking, online product demonstration, webcasting) while mature professionals often have interpersonal skills that are an asset. This diversity helps a company relate to a multi-generational demographic.
Enables mentoring: Age-diversity creates the possibility of mentoring. Senior employees can teach younger peers the lessons experience has taught. Younger workers can teach their older coworkers about digital tools, technology and social media presence.
Creates continuity: A company dominated by mature employees runs the risk of becoming obsolete and, when retirement age approaches, the chance that there is no one to receive accumulated knowledge. If the workforce is composed largely of young employees, there is little opportunity for generational mentoring that informs younger employees of a company’s history, trajectory and vision.
Personal improvement: We all carry age bias. Working with people from other generations is a great way to bust these beliefs and create more tolerant individuals.
Focusing on the benefits of each generation of workers helps to overcome the roadblocks to developing a thriving, diverse workforce. An age-inclusive brand attracts a wide range of talented individuals to strengthen the company. Understanding the career priorities of different generations is important to making your cooperation a choice for all ages.
If you’re looking for an age-diverse recruiting strategy, the experts at EQ Staffing are here to help. It’s our mission to bring talented professionals, of all ages, together with growing businesses. Contact us to find your next hire!