The modern workplace is a mosaic, made up of different generations. This provides a wealth of opportunities for organisations to access a range of experiences and achieve greater organisational success.
Age diversity refers to the range of age groups present within an organisation. Creating a culture in which diversity is welcomed is a strategic move that contributes to a more productive and innovative workforce.
The benefits of Age diversity in teams
Recent workplace trends demonstrate greater age diversity within organisations, with older workers representing a larger proportion of the UK workforce and younger workers quickly filtering through to all levels of organisations.
Whether you are ‘Gen Z’, a ‘Millennial’, ‘Gen X’ or a ‘Baby Boomer’, you’ll find yourself collaborating with other generations to achieve common goals. Further understanding age diversity allows teams to achieve more by facilitating:
• knowledge sharing
As well as encouraging individuals to support each other.
Breaking down age stereotypes
Whilst terms, like ‘Gen Z’ or ‘Millennial’, can give us points of reference to understand age, they also assign individuals to groups which can lead us to assume similar characteristics which feed into stereotypes – many of which we are familiar.
The dangers of age stereotypes
What stereotypes do you know about your generation?
Even if the stereotypes which come to mind feel benign, such as:
• The fallacy of Millennials stopping at a coffee shop for their essential morning latte
• The loyalty of the Boomer generation
• Gen Z’s IT capabilities
These age stereotypes can still be very damaging.
Age stereotype example
Take for example, the stereotype that Gen Z have great IT capabilities – this appears to be a positive assumption on the surface. However, to hold this belief one must also assume that those outside of this group have weaker IT skills, and this can unwittingly lead to negative stereotypes about older generations.
Whilst when we think about this more, we know that there will be many members of older generations who are IT whizzes and many members of younger generations who will struggle to download a word document, stereotypes can lead us to fall victim to unconscious bias.
The effect of Age diversity on company culture
By understanding and challenging these preconceived notions, organisations can create an environment that is more inclusive and values each individual’s skills and perspectives independently to their age.
A company culture of resentment, envy and competition can easily grow when there is a lack of trust between younger and older workers within an organisation, and this can contribute to losses in productivity and employee wellbeing.
Despite this knowledge, research shows that only 20% of organisations have clear strategies to manage a more age diverse workforce.
Age diversity and the role of wellbeing at work
There is an abundance of research on the importance of employee wellbeing, both for the individual and organisations as a whole – reducing turnover, increasing engagement and productivity.
Taking steps to embrace and support age diversity in the workplace helps to prevent stress, encourage participation and make individuals feel supported which are all huge factors in overall wellbeing.
It’s clear that DEI initiatives are essential to business success and not just a checkbox on the workplace to-do list; it’s an active entity that propels organisations forward.
How to use the power of age diversity
Navigating the intricacies of intergenerational collaboration can be complex so for those eager to delve deeper we have distilled this information down in our next espresso session ‘Age Diversity - Bridging The Age Gap In The Modern World’.
We'll be breaking down many of the stereotypes surrounding Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z and exploring how we're not all that different.
Join us to explore age diversity. We'd love to see you there!
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