There will always be changes in the workforce due to the simple fact that people themselves will change. Honestly, they change in more than just their age. People change in their interest, education, and health. Therefore, the trove of aging is just one of the many factors affecting today’s workforce concerning people. However, it plays one of the biggest roles that lead to the causes of variations in our employees’ employment status. On that note, let’s take a look at many of the reasons why.
When people get older, they become more set in their ways. They believe in what they have known mostly, and begin to evolve within their own world. They are not as open to change and may even say change as a bad thing. According to Judge and Robbins, though they may have a strong work ethic, they are perceived as lacking flexibility (p. 46). That is until they realize that change can be beneficial; though some older employees will still see change in a negative manner.
One of the first challenges that the older population will experience is having to learn the newest phase of technology. I can still remember a Lead Supervisor who decided to stick with his old company flip phone because he did not feel the need for a company Blackberry. In my opinion, he did not want to have to learn how to maneuver through the more sophisticated cell phone. He also did not want people to be able to reach him through email when he was away from his desk (which could not be done via his flip phone). Emily Brandon of US News made a good point when she said that older workers which do not withhold computer and other technology skills obtain a shortcoming in finding employment (2012).
Trusting younger people
The next challenge the older population will have to overcome is trusting the younger generation to take their place. What I have experienced in my time amongst older managers is that they never see us as good enough. They are always making it sound as if it was so hard for them to get promoted. Well, one characteristic that today’s generation has above the older generation is that they are more educated and this is why they get promoted quicker. This is why you see a lot of thirty something year old Chief Executive Officers (CEO) or small business owners.
–Equal employment opportunity act
The Equal Employment Opportunity Act forbids employment discrimination in its programs on the foundation of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, and matrimonial or familial status (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2015). This act is rarely spoken of but highly needed. Many people simply say things such as discrimination is not right, or why are they treating old people wrong? But, it would be better if they simply knew that when older employees were not given a chance at special opportunities, their bosses were breaking a government law.
–Older workers benefit protection act of 1990
The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act outlaws discrimination by employers grounded on age when administering employee benefits, like severance. The OWBPA correspondingly ensures that no employee is compelled or pressured into signing permissible waivers of rights underneath the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (Labor Law Attorneys, 2015). This is very powerful in cases where companies try to get executives to retire. Though they may try to pitch it to them in a nice manner, we know that they are trying to make room for younger talent.
Taking action to overcome diversity
To overcome diversity, we must start focusing on our people’s skills. Regardless of their age and more, there are a lot of things we can learn from them. Not only on a business level, but these older wiser professional can also give us answers on how to handle personal matters that may affect our job. The Wall Street Journal, in interviewing CEOs stated that businesses should be culturally sensitive when advertising what makes their company a good place to be employed (2015).
Benefits of a diverse workforce
There are many benefits to have a diverse workplace beyond what we can think of. One of the first benefits is that it adds different points of view. You do not want a bunch of people at work who all think alike unless you never want to prosper. The different points of view give the company flexibility in how they operate. They can see why one aspect may not work for certain groups of people the same as it does for others. Lastly, the different points of views help the organization stay open to change. They will always be able to take note of how the varying points of views have made them better and more cognizant of the world around them.