As coronavirus (COVID-19) has been declared a pandemic – a global health crisis – it affects all points of society and business. At such a time it is perhaps more important to ensure we consider all parts of our society and population, particularly the protected characteristics that form the diversity and inclusion agenda.
Age is one of those characteristics that is regularly overlooked, and with early signs that Covid 19 is prevalent in older people, they could be at greater risk of marginalisation within such a crisis. It is crucial to ensure that employers have consideration and practices that provide for the safety and well-being of all staff, as well as seeking a sustainable business route.
Our focus is towards age diversity in the workplace, and as the current situation requires consideration for a whole range of social, community…as well as business areas, it’s important to stay informed on current advice for the public, including from UK Government.
We are still operating and able to provide a range of service and support for business and individuals. Our information and provision services are here to help, and for whatever your need, we’ll do what we can to listen and help, and/or signpost you in the right direction.
To seek further information, please always use our main contact address: [email protected]
Here’s a few more resources that may help, it’s not an exhaustive list, but we hope that these help you and your organisation in these challenging times.
UK Govt. FAQs on the do’s and don’ts: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do
For guidance towards business support: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support
We are an outreach partner with the Institute of Coding, for those new to working from home, please see this blog, and if you require any further support re digital skills and training, please contact us. https://instituteofcoding.org/news/blog/2020/03/learn-best-practice-strategies-for-working-from-home/
In this ’lockdown’ environment we have found that it can offer the opportunity for some organisations to review their diversity plans. Here’s a range of information to aid your consideration to benefit from the values of an age diverse workforce.
For our ‘Champion’ partners, please continue to access the ‘Champion Resource Hub’ for all the latest provision and support.
For a range of our latest news and views, please access our ‘open’ area here.
The ‘Champion’ Intro pack – click the image to the right, to see how being a ‘Champion’ can give a range of service and provision that gives value across all areas of your organisation and external partners.
We have a range of infographics to demonstrate the values and benefits of an age diverse workforce. Take a look at ‘Gains through Diversity’ to see that it’s not just the right thing to do, there is a powerful business case that means it’s a business imperative.
Our CEO, Steve Anderson, was moved to write a blog about social attitudes and behaviours needed in the current crisis, Read ‘Instinctive Culture’ here, which carries the strong “Don’t walk by” message.
To help with your organisation diversity awareness and areas of focus, please access our ‘Stage 1 Questionnaire’ tool. This is an opportunity to provide initial analysis of your organisations’ path on its inclusion journey. Complete and send the questionnaire to [email protected], and our partnership management team will assess and complete a report of findings and proposals to help with your planning and implementation of strategy and best practice.
We welcome your contact via our main address: [email protected], but we also have facilities to provide a ‘face-to-face’ video conference. Please let us know if you would like to arrange such a call and we can send out the invites to you and colleagues.
At times like these, it’s possible to re-instil strong values of diversity and inclusion, and to showcase your corporate and social responsibilities to your immediate workforce, as well as the communities and customers you serve. It’s also a good time to reinforce standards and relationships with your external partners and supply chains, to ensure that in these challenging times, we all work together for the positive good…..and above all…stay safe.
We know the current lock-down has made life very difficult for many workers, but perhaps it also provides an opportunity to build upon existing skill sets and discover new talents. The UKs Department for Education (DfE) launch of the new online learning platform, The Skills Toolkit, is designed to help boost the nation’s skills while people are staying at home. The Skills Toolkit includes a range of programmes, as a result of collaboration with the UK’s Institute of Coding (IoC). The Age Diversity Forum is an outreach partner for the IoC, and our CEO, Steve Anderson sits on the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board. The IoC mission is to break down barriers to digital learning and employment, with learning as a lifelong process where everyone has a right to improve their skills.
In addition to the IoC’s contribution, the platform offers a range of courses at all levels, from introductory to advanced, which were chosen in consultation with leading industry businesses and educational experts. The programme is open to everyone, whether they have recently been furloughed and want to learn new skills, are out of work and looking to build up their CV, or if they’re just keen to keep their mind healthy and busy during time spent at home. Focussing on the skills many employers need the most, The Skills Toolkit is a first step towards recovery, helping to boost the nation’s growth and productivity.
As it is for LGBT, gender and BAME, it is wrong, unjust and illegal to discriminate against age. Join our Champion advocacy and achieve the values and benefits of an age diverse work-force for your organisation, and you will be making a difference to address the global age diversity challenges.
A ‘Postcard’ from The Age Diversity Forum
Please see the short video clip below, Age Diversity for Knowledge transfer, this is the latest in our ‘Postcard’ series, highlighting the values and benefits of an age diverse workforce. We will showcase a new ‘Postcard’ from The Age Diversity Forum each week, so please check back again, and for more information, please contact us at [email protected]
“an age diverse workforce can lead to
happier, healthier, and higher-skilled employees”
WELCOME to Champion Age Diversity membership! We designed ‘Champion Age Diversity’, under the custodianship of Prime Candidate, which now resides as the employability division of The Age Diversity Forum. The Forum is the global hub for age diversity in the work-place, and is a practical approach to ensure that organisations achieve the benefits and values of an age diverse work-force.
The business case for diversity is more prominent, but unfortunately, there continues to be challenges in breaking down barriers of age bias in the employment arena. Whether that is in the form of: negative bias, unconscious or otherwise; a lack of opportunity for employers to access key skills and talent; poor retention and retraining programmes; or for policy support requirements. The Champion membership can support and drive strategy and values for all organisations.
No industry sector is immune to these challenges, and none are restricted by geography. We are a unique organisation with a vision for inclusion, to remove barriers through an application of practical service and best practice, achieved together with our ‘Champions’.
Become an Age Diversity Champion
Become a ‘Champion’ and use the members badge to demonstrate your awareness and understanding of the values of implementing an age diverse workforce.
For D&I Teams it provides a strategic tool and a vehicle to align to your inclusion and development programmes, whilst for HR departments, it will add benefit and value to your existing retention, re-deployment and recruiting practice.
Many businesses and organisations are now planning their strategies for sustainability and growth, considering a full and balanced view of the resource market, that includes: recruitment without bias, across all age groups; and a plan that is structured with training and development opportunities for all employees.
Use your Champions Charter membership to support your Diversity and Inclusion outlook, and contribute to your corporate and social responsibility programmes.
It’s not just the ‘right thing to do’
When companies began jumping on the diversity and inclusion (D&I) bandwagon en masse in the late 80s and early 90s, it seemed a natural extension of affirmative action and equal opportunity programs. Over time, company D&I slogans moved from diversity being the “right thing to do” to diversity “being good for business.” Company leaders began to recognize the importance of creating an employee culture that reflected their customer base and community. And, while age has been a protected category since the passage of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) in 1967, it has not, generally speaking, been at the forefront of D&I strategy.
While D&I programs have moved the needle in the significant areas of race, gender and sexual orientation, ageism has been relegated to the side-lines. As a result, age prejudice has seeped into the workplace. Due in part to implicit bias, where the offender is not aware of the offense; for example, a younger worker implying than an older worker works at a slower pace. Implicit bias perpetuates “age myths” in the workplace. “As it turns out, there is a lot of research on older workers’ attitudes, productivity and ability,” according to Vantage. “The data looks at many different variables, but all comes to the same conclusion – virtually all of the stereotypes about the older workers do not hold up to reality.”
Now, older workers are calling attention to ageism in hiring, promotions, development opportunities and redundancy. Most significant, the effects of ageism are felt by everyone across all races, genders and sexual orientation.
Why? Because aging is the one thing we all share, but that’s also an advantage for organisations, as giving consideration to age diversity, provides for a total intersectional view across all D&I streams, across the whole workforce.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, older workers represent the largest candidate pool in the workplace. And to correlate with the increase in older workers is an increase in reports of age discrimination according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in some cases complaints have nearly doubled.
While some industries (such as tech) skew toward an under 40 workforce, the reality is that there are many benefits for recruiting, hiring and retaining older workers.
Here are seven of them:
- Overlooked Talent Pool.Picking is ripe in the pool of qualified candidates with years of experience under their belts. If you need talent and someone who can pass the knowledge baton, this talent pool is where you want to look.
- Varied experiences. The youngest boomers, for example, have been in the working world for about 35 years. In many cases, that means a variety of career experiences across a broad scope of opportunity brings a lot to the table. Older workers typically have an array of skills that includes specialties as well as generalizations. Ask a typical boomer how many versions of their resume they have to understand the breadth of their experience. Ask them for years of service in a particular field to understand depth. Both add value.
- Stay longer. Data shows that older workers tend to stay longer with their employer. If you want to lower your turnover rate while increasing the level of experience this is a good way to do it.
- Flexible learning styles. Older workers have already experienced profound changes in their working world–from typewriters to word processors to everything digital. They have learned via classroom and online. Their flexibility and adaptability keep them in the game because change is the status quo and they know it.
- Shorter learning curve. Given their comfort with change and flexible learning styles, older workers adapt quickly to change, and that means learning anything related to business success–even (gasp) technology. As this TechRepublic report states, older workers are less stressed about using technology than younger people.
- Add valuable perspective.Diverse teams yield better decisions as this study suggests. Including age as a diversity component lays the foundation for a rich exchange of information.
- Motivated to work. Older workers are motivated to work for a variety of reasons, including the desire to stay in the game, share their knowledge and skills to make a positive impact and pad their retirement so as not to become a financial burden to the children. Doesn’t every company covet a motivated employee who is willing to go above and beyond?
There is, of course, another reason to consider making ageism an important D&I area of focus. Routinely eliminating workers over 40 from your workforce and avoiding them as potential hires is discrimination. For an example of companies doing right, this article highlights a few organizations that have stepped up their game to be fully inclusive of employees–age included.
Focusing on ageism as a true strategic component of any D&I initiative requires some catching up. “There is a lot more talk in business circles about the human capital value of older workers, but we’re still in early innings,” said Paul Irving, chairman of the Center for the Future of Aging at the Milken Institute. “It takes time for things to percolate.”
You will see from our ‘News & Views’ section that together with our own content and information, we invite external contributions, and the above piece came from Sheila Callaham, who wrote this for Forbes. Sheila is an author and longtime communications professional with experience in newspaper, public affairs, and corporate storytelling. After spending over a decade managing diversity and inclusion for a major pharmaceutical company, Sheila resigned to spend more time with family, write, and coach others to chase their dreams. Sheila is part of our mission to promote a productive, multi-generational workforce, and to demonstrate how such an environment can lead to happier, healthier, and higher-skilled employees.