Although research indicates that implicit bias against sexuality and race has decreased dramatically over the last 12 years, ageism is one field where unconscious bias has barely changed. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), age is the one important factor that a number of businesses ignore in their diversity and inclusion (D&I) programs and efforts.
The word “diversity” means “variety,” and “inclusion” means “to include and put together.” A large number of Millenials are joining the workforce. Leaders must now adapt to the shift in how they interact with their workers. Stress may be caused by pressure from creditors, the community, and workers.
To tackle ageism in the workplace, D&I policies must consciously address the problem by making it a key component of the strategy. This necessitates teams surveying, analyzing, and training employees to understand how age stigma and stereotyping obstruct business performance.
Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook once stated that “younger people are simply smarter,” while Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, has stated that “people over 45 literally die in terms of new ideas.” They are not alone in their viewpoint; the general public (at least in the United States and the United Kingdom) accepts ageism. “Ageism is so widely accepted in American culture that many people do not recognize it as a ‘-ism,’ as other types of discrimination are,” the researchers write. Nonetheless, older people as a group are disadvantaged and have fewer options.
You’re not really fighting for equality if the company rejects older candidates or ignores suggestions from older workers because the young must be better. It would be safer for you and your company if you treat people as individuals and forget those pesky immutable characteristics.
Leaders who understand that talent comes with all ages, ethnicities, and gender identities will be ahead of the curve. As a first step toward actively valuing diverse thinking–including age diversity–age as a diversity measure will be needed. Additionally, ongoing preparation and employee acculturation may be used to counter ageist bias and stereotyping that are impeding a healthy workplace culture.