Episode 36 of “The JoyPowered™ Workspace Podcast,” combines three popular past episodes: “Women Winning in the Workplace,” “Aging in the Workplace,” and “Communication Strategies with a Multicultural Workforce.” JoDee and Susan discuss common misconceptions about older workers. Gender-based stereotype expert Saundra Schrock talks about what’s different for women in the workplace, and LUNA Language Services president Marina Waters suggests ways to overcome language barriers at work.
Susan and JoDee talk to Saundra Schrock, a former executive in the banking world who founded her own company, is a board member of another company, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in psychology with a dissertation on gender-based stereotypes. Saundra discusses some of the research she’s seen showing that women experience far more stress in the workplace than men do, are subject to a different set of rules in the workplace than men, and are expected to work harder than others to move up in the organization. She explains the implicit biases women face, where even though performance ratings for men and women are about the same, women are judged less viable for top positions than men are. People are often not even aware that they’re applying different sets of rules for men and women moving up in the organization, but it happens.
The hosts also discuss women “opting out” as they reach higher levels in the organization and women not being chosen to serve on boards, and talk to Saundra about her passion project, making ordinary everyday activities into mindfulness practice. Saundra shares her advice for business wanting to close the gender gap and women who are starting their careers.
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to keep up with technology, leaving the company early, resistance to change, poor job performance, less innovation, outdated skills, and health issues.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 training opportunity at your disposal, continuing to build relationships, admitting mistakes quickly, not labeling yourself as old, and learning from younger employees.
Language services is a fast-growing industry, with about 1 in 5 U.S. residents speaking a language other than English in the home. Each state is a little different in terms of which languages are needed; Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic are common throughout the country, but every city has its own clusters of immigrant and refugee populations. When employing non-English-speakers, it’s important to look to a company or resource that has trained professionals – when you’re communicating about employment packages, insurance issues, complaints, etc., you’re going to need someone with a really high level of the language!
If you’re ready to make your team more culturally diverse, it’s important to plan ahead. Make your job postings multilingual, and know who’s going to answer the calls and emails. Look at refugee resettlement organizations, cultural organizations, and language services organizations to source talent; they often know people looking for opportunities or can point you in the right direction for help. Retain your culturally diverse talent by sharing information non-verbally and creating a glossary of important terms. Identify opportunities to build relationships and trust; teach managers how to ask about the non-English-speakers’ days, families, etc. and have cultural exchanges like shared meals with employees bringing food from their own cultures.