Bias in the workplace, whether conscious or unconscious, can be incredibly damaging. Many members of the Baby Boomer and Gen X generations fear that ageism, or discrimination based on their age, will harm their careers.
According to a recent survey, approximately 68 percent of Baby Boomers felt they had been discouraged from applying for jobs based on their age. Nearly 29 percent of all respondents stated they had witnessed or experienced ageism in the workplace.
If ageism makes it way into your tech department, not only are employees affected but the business as well. An environment that appears to hinder older staff members will miss out on excellent, skilled, and experienced workers. This occurs when current employees choose to leave as well as if the company’s reputation is impacted, leading top talent to bypass opportunities with the organization entirely.
Combatting ageism in your tech department doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does require some due diligence. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are some tips for getting started.
Set Strong Policy Standards
Your internal employee policies can play a big role in fighting ageism in the workplace. Make sure that your organization crafts clear standards regarding discrimination, including any repercussions for participating in discriminatory activities.
Once set, you also need to follow through with enforcement at every level in the organization. If you don’t uphold the standards you create, many will assume they are optional, allowing ageism to proliferate in your organization.
Focus on Equality
One of the most significant steps you can take to avoid ageism in the workplace is to focus on treating all employees equally. This includes everything from the hiring decisions made in the department to the offering of training opportunities and raises.
Discarding strong candidates because of their age is illegal. People who are 40 and older are covered by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and being caught in violation of these requirements come with strict penalties. Make sure managers are suitably trained on EEOC standards and emphasize that age should not be a factor in hiring decisions.
When it comes to your current employees, work to ensure that professional development and training opportunities are provided to any worker with the proper prerequisite skills, regardless of their age. Additionally, make sure that a person’s age does not factor into their feedback or performance reviews, particularly by punishing older workers harder for mistakes.
Review Your Vacancy Announcements
Before you post a vacancy announcement, review the language to make sure that it doesn’t discourage older workers from applying. Work to make your job ads inclusive by selecting language and descriptions that do not suggest an age preference.
Additionally, avoid using filters that target the ad to younger professionals, as this can be viewed as discriminatory. If you do want to use filters, make sure they relate to topics like the required skills or potentially the physical location of the workplace. Alternatively, you can avoid placing filters on the ad entirely, ensuring you aren’t unintentionally discriminatory during your search for a great candidate.
If you are interested in learning more about combatting ageism in your tech department, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your company’s goals today and see how our expertise can benefit you.