The benefits and challenges of age diversity in the workplace

August 17, 2021

What are the benefits and downsides of having age diversity at the workplace

When we speak of improving the modern work environment, we can’t ignore that diversity plays a crucial role. When we talk about diversity, usually we focus on gender and ethnicity, but, another key factor to diversification is age. Age diversity in the workplace is one of the important things of an inclusive and effective workplace.

Since the average workplace now includes members of at least four generations in the workplace, companies that embrace all ages are more likely to succeed. Nevertheless, it’s a fact that age diversity in the workplace can bring some challenges as well. However, when you compare the benefits you can claim vs. the challenges you need to overcome, it all pays off.

Benefits of having an age diversity in the workplace

Each generation contributes its own set of talents to your company. Although younger employees may possess a stronger understanding of technology, older employees may possess superior interpersonal abilities. Combining these abilities by having an age diversity in the workplace significantly improves your organization as a whole.

It can help reduce employee turnover

Employee turnover is reduced as a result of enhanced performance and productivity, which is a significant benefit. It has also been noted that workers over the age of 55 can contribute to decreased turnover because they are loyal employees who tend to stay in their positions for a longer period than younger employees. Employers benefit from decreased turnover expenses as well as more highly skilled and experienced staff.

Amber Morland, CEO, and Founder of WinCope

Boosts performance and productivity

Age diversity in the workplace can boost the overall performance of a business. In addition, studies have shown that organizations with mixed-age work teams have increased productivity among both older and younger employees. Furthermore, when groups are involved in difficult decision-making activities, age diversity within work teams is favorably connected to performance.

Adam Fard, Founder and Head Of Design at Adam Fard’ UX Agency

It increases the demand on a global basis

From my experience, age variety is vital in meeting customer requests and increasing efficiency. An organization with a diversified skill set and expertise is better able to address the needs of individuals of all ages. This enables the company to fulfill demand and provide service on a worldwide scale.

As they have more matured experience as well as the young potential to turn risks into possibilities, organizations with age-diverse employees will have more courage to perform a procedure. This will allow the company to make more money, expand its business, and execute its plans more quickly.

Bradley Bonnen, Founder and CEO of iFlooded Restoration

Making better decisions

Discrimination based on age is widespread, and that’s a shame. Having a mix of ages among workers provides several benefits, including cognitive diversity leading to better decision making. Although abstract reasoning may decline with age, experiential knowledge rises.

Studies show that employees who are part of a mixed-age work environment are likely to be more motivated and satisfied in their jobs. Considering these benefits, why wouldn’t you leverage the advantages of having age diversity in your workplace?

Ryan Stewart, Founder of Webris

It can produce the most innovation

One of the biggest benefits of having age diversity in the workplace is the fact that diversity of experience is often what can produce the most innovation. Much can be said about the importance of racial and gender diversity, but age can be important as well.

People who lived and worked before much of our modern technology were ubiquitous possess certain skills and intuition that the younger generation hasn’t had to cultivate. Connecting dots between a wider set of skills and experiences is shown to lead teams to better decisions and more profit for companies.

Nikki Gonzales, Head of Growth and Partnerships at Quotebeam

Skills diversity

Maintaining a workforce with various talents and competencies, with people capable of working in conventional forms and those able to see beyond those forms into a new market and technical paradigms, is the only way to remain competitive in the global market. Older workers can teach new workers existing skills, while younger workers can teach older workers new technology.

Ken Olling, Co-Founder and Chairman of MELD

Different perspectives

One of the biggest benefits of age diversity in the workplace is getting different perspectives, which ultimately drives innovation. For instance, each generation brings their own experiences and point of view. These different perspectives become a source of innovation, and harboring their strengths often fosters creative and out-of-the-box ideas.

Arvind Patil, Country Manager at Selectra

The downside of having age diversity in the workplace

However, some companies still refrain from maintaining age diversity in their workplace, due to the challenges they have to overcome. Although the benefits exceed these challenges it’s good to be aware of them before they become a problem and create a toxic work environment.

Seniority in the workplace

Older employees are experienced but tend to ask for seniority. They have a solid knowledge base in their career that is vital for business growth. They can be difficult to work with if they deem the younger ones unworthy or if they feel threatened. However, it can be remedied by transforming your work culture and let senior managers lead an example.

James Idayi, CEO of Cloudzat

Lack of communication

A lack of proper communication is a potential challenge that age diversity in the workplace brings. The younger members of the workforce feel that they are overshadowed by the achievements and experiences of their senior coworkers. So they feel that their opinion or ideas may not be given as much importance.

This leads them to keep to themselves and resentment forming over time. The older generation on the other hand has more of an ego issue. They don’t think they are answerable to those younger than them or that the ‘young ones’ could have better ideas or solutions than them. This creates a rift in the workplace which eventually brings down productivity if left unattended.

Bradley Stevens, CEO at LLC Formations

Conclusion

Age diversity in the workplace brings value to your business, so to make your life as a business owner easier, instead of focusing on what makes the generations different, change your focus to two perspectives: what makes us similar and what strengths of the other generations can be utilized for a higher likelihood of success. This can be initiated by identifying one common goal and shifting attention to the goal rather than the differences.

Once the members of various generations begin to work together and concentrate on the goal, the divisions between their generations stop being the focal point. It then becomes easier to recognize the strengths of colleagues from different generations and how those strengths support the goal and offer aspects to the project that another generation does not have.

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