Older Workers help elevate organizations by adding diversity and strengthening a multigenerational work culture. Generationally speaking, the Older Workers are identified as the Baby Boomers who are now joined by Generation Xers in the 55 and older crowd.
Here’s a recap of how the working generations are often defined:
- Baby Boomers, born mostly following World War II when increased birth rates were observed, typically born from 1946 to 1964.
- Generation X, is the generation following the baby boomers early-to-mid 1960's and ending birth years in the early 1980's.
- Millennials, also known as Generation Y, Born 1981-1996 (Sometimes listed as 1980-2000)
- Generation Z, or simply Gen Z, is the cohort of people born after the Millennials. Demographers and researchers typically use the mid- to late-1990's as starting birth years.
There are sometimes variations in the birth year that begins or ends a generation, depending on the source.
The multi-generational workplace is depicted in different ways throughout the USA, but Older Workers (Baby Boomers and Gen Xer’s) are discovering common factors that are cutting through limits set by discrimination.
These factors include:
- Age not being easily determined.
- The workplace culture matters more than the age of any worker.
- Contribution matters more than the age of any worker.
- Ability to resonate with the vision of the company and express it.
Determining the age of a worker based on appearance often leads to inaccurate conclusions. In this instance appearance can often work for an older worker who looks younger. As millennials are trying to be taken seriously while being/looking young, Older Workers are trying to be taken seriously as well while being/looking older. So, as each generation strives to gain acceptance in the workforce despite stereotypes, it is always a good idea that Older Workers focus on companies that share and demonstrate their values.
In the case of the multigenerational workplace, the many stereotypes associated with age on both ends of the spectrum regarding, yet not limited to, Wisdom, Maturity, Authority, Compensation, Innovation, and Tradition are diminished by the strength of the culture in the workplace.
The culture that is likely to value a worker’s skills and knowledge will be more receptive of all workers of any legal working age. This is also described as a culture that produces and not procrastinates or a culture that focus on solutions and not just results (easily two different things). This is a culture that recognizes the strength that diversity brings.
A workplace culture can also be a great systematic structure that breaks through age discrimination for all generations. If an employee is a good fit by their willingness and compliance within company culture, then it is not likely that there will be discrimination based on age. To be in a tribe and hold the appreciation of the culture outweighs any age prejudice which cannot emerge when there is a cultural vibe of belonging. For example, a beer brewery company would consist of beer experts who may happen to be beer lovers of many ages. The result of everyone’s work shows in the quality of the beer. It is the passion for the product that unites employees and drives the success of the business.
Older Workers can see a multigenerational workplace as an opportunity to engage in a diverse environment that can provide learning and networking opportunities towards professional improvement.
For more information about multigenerational workplaces please see the links below.
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