Embracing age diversity in the workplace

Silver-haired, veteran journalist Lisa LaFlamme was recently let go as CTV’s anchor and chief news correspondent amidst accusations of age discrimination. LaFlamme’s exit has prompted support from social media and brands like Wendy’s Canada and Dove, which launched a “Keep the Grey” social media campaign to recognize the sexism and ageism women continue to face at work.

Ageism is one of the most commonly overlooked systems of oppression. Ageism seeps into many institutions and sectors of society including those providing health and social care, in the workplace, media and the legal system.

Teams in the coming years are going to be made up of people from different generationsRecognizing and addressing your personal assumptions pertaining to age is a great start to working against ageism, below are a few more strategies to help: 

  • Be mindful of common sayings that have subtle ageist connotations, such as “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” or “I’m having a senior moment” when forgetful. 
  • Analyze your usual hiring practices – what age demographic do you hire the most and why? 
  • Acknowledge the great work done by both seasoned and new employees, regardless of age. Celebrate good work, not just length of work. 
  • When creating social networking opportunities be sure everyone is welcomed and do not make assumptions about what a person may or may not want to participate in based on their age. 
  • Review policies and procedures for implicit bias.  
  • Encourage and promote intergenerational relationships and teams. 

It’s important to recognize the various age demographics in the workplace and assess ways you can create a more accepting multigenerational workplace. To learn more, read the World Health Organization’s Ageism is a global challenge: UN.