More Americans are working longer according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics study. The percentage of people working past the of 55 has increased over the last decade, a trend projected to continue to 2022.
An aging America and diversifying workforce means more, different needs among employers. This in turn, means managers must anticipate and adapt to these changing demographics. Ageism is widespread, termed an” insidious practice” by the World Health Organization.
Age of Discrimination in Employment Act
Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which protects people over age 40. A half century later, age discrimination in the workplace remains notoriously hard to prove. Political commentator Bill Maher called it the “last acceptable prejudice in America.” “This is a reality. This is not a taboo. Creating a culture that is accepting and that understands the realities, that is going to be essential, says Melissa Mitchell, deputy director of the Global Coalition on Aging.
Strategies for Employers
By implementing some or all of these strategies, senior managers can prepare themselves to adapt to generationally diverse workforce:
- Be More Flexible In recent years, employers have become increasingly flexible about when and where staff are working so flex work arrangements will be an important part of your staff engagement and company culture.
- Make an Age-Neutral Workplace Create an environment that is respectful and adaptable to employees of all ages
- Identify Staff Wants and Needs Be aware of your staff demographics to insure the workplace meets the ergonomic and cultural needs of your employees.
- Offer Training Training is not only important for helping your older staff learn new skills and technologies, but also for supervisors managing cross-generational teams.
- Plan Ahead By knowing your workplace demographics, you can develop practices and policies that meet the needs of your staff going forward.
- Take Advantage Consider seasoned, experienced staff as a resource with the skills and wisdom to be potential mentors to younger staff who will be inheriting leadership roles.
Interim Healthcare Leadership Opportunities
The final point especially relates to the Interim Leadership workforce. At NHS Solutions, we actively seek experienced healthcare leaders. This group is generally over the age of 40 and very senior in their career. An interim leadership role can be the perfect answer for this group as they may be transitioning to less than full time work and come equipped with a wealth of experience and knowledge that is of high value to our clients. We do not look at age in evaluating our candidates. This is irrelevant in our hiring process. Rather, we look to our interim nurse leaders to let us know what they are looking for in their next career move and try endeavor to match those aspirations to a client with a leadership gap for a perfect fit.