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In episode 21 of “The JoyPowered™ Workspace Podcast,” JoDee and Susan discuss aging – and ageism – in the workplace. They talk about what constitutes “old,” common misconceptions about senior workers, and how to engage and retain older employees. In response to listener mail, the hosts discuss when a company is big enough to need its own HR person.
Employers often have misconceptions about hiring older people, and older workers often feel they’re viewed differently than they were when they were younger. “Old” is in the eye of the beholder, but under the US’s Age Discrimination Employment Act, 40 is considered old. Common misconceptions about older workers include inability to keep up with technology, leaving the company early, resistance to change, poor job performance, less innovation, outdated skills, and health issues. In reality, these things are rarely true, and older workers’ wisdom, experience, and previous failures can be a big benefit for employers. People starting second careers are often excited, energized, and ready to spend several years with the company.
People are working longer, sometimes because they have to and sometimes because they want to, and employers need to figure out a way to hire older workers, because that’s going to be a big portion of the workforce. Create a culture that embraces mature workers; things that are often important to them include flexibility, finances, insurance, retirement, and caregiving. Attract older employees by rehiring alums, posting on websites for older Americans who are looking for work, getting referrals from employees, and including older workers in your advertisements. It’s also important to engage your older workers, with things like reverse mentoring programs, offering flexible schedules and locations, bridge employment programs, and ongoing skills training. If you’re an older worker stay relevant and thrive as you age by being the most optimistic person in the office, being generous with your time and resources, engaging in every thraining opportunity at your disposal, continuing to build relationships, admitting mistakes quickly, not labeling yourself as old, and learning from younger employees.
In this episode’s listener mail, we get a question about what size of company requires its own full-time HR person. JoDee and Susan discuss a Summit Hosting survey ranking the top corporate buzzwords.