We live in a day and age where discrimination and prejudice have come into sharp focus. While we’d all like to think we are past that, we all have unconscious or blind biases that inform our daily actions. When it comes to the work place, it’s important to be aware of these attitudes so we don’t make unfair choices regarding the age of our new hires.
Blind bias is something that’s ingrained in us from an early age. We all want to gravitate towards the shiny new toy as opposed to the beat up one at a yard sale. When it comes to electronics as adults, the brand new e-reader is more attractive than the factory refurbished one.
These choices come to us automatically, without thinking. This also occurs in situations when Hiring managers have a choice between a young and a mature worker. We don’t choose to be biased, but we need to be more aware that the biases exist.
Age discrimination is too common. We tend to place certain values on more mature workers and on younger workers, and all-too-often, younger comes out on top. For example, younger workers are often seen to have more energy, motivation and ability to learn, while more mature workers are seen to be more experienced and reliable.
Hiring managers often skew towards younger workers, believing they can get better work for less money. In addition, it’s believed they will be workers who can be molded to the company culture and may be around longer, as they aren’t so close to retirement.
Unfortunately, age discrimination is still viewed as somehow okay. It seems natural to go for a hire you can build from the ground up as opposed to one with preconceived notions of how things should be done, or who might retire in a few years.
Some workers are finding that they are forced into retirement simply because they cannot find work. This creates an unfortunate situation for the growing demographic who cannot afford to retire and end up having financial difficulties as a result.
Mature workers are just as reliable, committed and productive as younger workers, and teams of diverse workers increase productivity across the board. It’s important to implement policies attractive to older workers and make an effort to increase this demographic in the workplace. HR managers can do this by adopting policies that encourage hiring diversity.
Flexible schedules, part-time shifts and the like allow you to bring expertise and commitment to your company that did not exist before. Increase your Hiring mangers' awareness of the benefits a diverse workforce can have. Look for those workers who might feel like outsiders and address that problem. Make sure that your interview criteria does not encourage bias and that all interviewees are fairly and equally evaluated and follow up your policies daily.
By turning blind bias into conscious awareness, you can improve your staffing and productivity across the board. You can also contribute to a world where diversity rules above a less effective homogenized workforce. For help with these processes, take a look at our HR services and contact us for more information.