Thursday 17th February 2022

A Positive Age-Diverse Environment in the Work place

Melissa Pearce, Client Relationship Director at Wates Living Space talks about Age-Diversity in the Workplace and its importance. Read more...


A Postitve Age-Diverse Environment in the Workplace

By Melissa Pearce, Client Relationship Director at Wates Living Space


Recently I found myself immersed in a new audio book after hearing the excellent Baroness Camilla Cavendish speaking about her book ‘Extra Time – 10 Lessons for an Aging Society’ at the ARCO Conference (Association for Retirement Community Organisation).

How we can retain talent in the workplace is such a hot subject just now and I wanted to share some thoughts on the topic….


Generational differences in working efficiently

Working efficiently in a company is not as easy as it seems- there's a lot more behind every successful company with increased productivity and diverse perceptions.

Generation differences can make it a bit more challenging, when a young and mature workforce combines. Perceptions of younger people, who might want more flexibility, challenge, or learning and clear career progression within their roles. On the other hand, perceptions of mature staff preferring structure, reliability, or work and perhaps some enhancements in the workplace to help them achieve their performance well to high quality.

Diverse insights, perceptions, experiences of mature staff and an innovative and novel understanding of younger people yield the positive outcomes of the business.

This sounds like the best of both worlds and it really can be.


Young employees’ talent in the work environment

Talent should speak loudly without any preference bias- be it mature or younger talent.

Research and surveys have shown that the younger generation prefers new technological ideas, risk-taking insights, and challenges in the work environment. Young employees like to bring new perspectives that keep the morale high in the workplace and can easily access outside of the box thinking.

When targeting the millennial market, the younger generation can make a significant difference with their enthusiasm, flexibility, and passionate behavior. They have a focused approach to learning new techniques and viewpoints of the company's culture. Also, it has been analysed that the younger generation is more compatible with seeking technological knowledge as they have grown up around technology.


Mature employee’s talent in the work environment

Mature workers face discrimination due to several factors, such as health and low physical energy. Health is one of the top barriers for the mature staff in the workforce. For mature women this can often be as a result of the menopause and according to Office for National Statistics menopausal women are now the fastest growing workforce demographic.

Whereas there are certain companies who prefer their loyal workers over younger generations as these people have adopted all the policies and culture of the company and have led their lives for the company. So, their experiences are valued by the companies. Longer careers make a more dynamic market and later become crucial for the aging workforce future. We can increase productivity by investing in mature employees with reskilling and training sessions and considering their experiences can make a significant difference for the growth of the business.


Importance of diversity

Companies that consider the energy of the young generation and the experience of the mature generation execute better and spur growth. An age-diverse workplace makes the business vigorous and efficient. AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins believes research has revealed that the company's productivity relies on both mature and younger workers.

The companies, with mixed-age work teams, accomplish high-grade and satisfying outcomes. And it makes it more enthralling that these things already exist and are adopted in the real world.

Age-Diverse companies

  • Promote a business inclusivity culture, encouraging a more diverse talent pool
  • Grow the skillsets to execute in a better way
  • Encourage performance and experience within a team
  • Diverse perspectives strengthen innovation
  • Builds a platform for leadership and mentorship
  • Lessen employee turnover


Companies embrace diversity with age

Research shows that companies perform much better who know how to embrace diversity. Different brains with different ages and diverse experiences collectively take the company to the next level in execution and performance. The conflicts in management, communication, or collaboration increase with diverse thoughts, but ultimately consider what's suitable for the company. Companies, like Mastercard, have adopted diversity and include different generations, making a mark in the world.

Mastercard is one of the top financial services companies in the USA, and it believes in diversity with age. It has progressed with their firm belief that diversity can drive better insights with more trustworthy decisions and better products. The company considers diversity as the backbone of innovation. They keep their mature employees active and energetic when it comes to social media and continuously invest in their talented teams regardless of age.

Another example is BMW who invested £18 million into a production line in Dingolfing in Southern Bavaria nicknamed ‘Altstadt‘ - German for Old Town - by the grateful employees who say they might otherwise be unemployed. Germany has a highly skilled workforce - but an increasing skills gap. The production line has elements built into it specifically aimed at making the working day easier for the senior workforce. Facilities include ergonomic back supports for the monkey-wrench turners, mobile tool-trolleys that mean workers do not have to strain themselves reaching for, there are stools in place where workers once stood for long hours, a 'relaxation room' and greater proportion of tasks in the Old Town plant are performed by robots.

Otherwise, it is a normal car plant operating a three-shift, round-the-clock work system for 200 people. This production line also boasted record levels in the reduction of snags showing just how the investment paid off.


What the companies should consider?

Office of National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that more than 10 million people in the UK are aged over 50 who are in the workforce. We need to embrace the challenge and start to realise the potential gained through experience, mentoring and reverse mentoring, young and mature boards which could be tasked with business-critical challenges, we could find that innovation is already there within our existing talent pools.

Patrick Thomson, from Centre for Ageing Better, has commented that the UK workforce is changing. It's the duty of the employers to catch up. They stated that age bias should be tackled, and the policies with practices need to be improved in the workplace culture. The key behind success should be based upon talent, unbiased recruiting, and practiced policies. 

When employees know they can work as much as they want and get flexible retirement resources, the company will automatically perform better. Every person prefers their personal benefit, when a company facilitates their employees considering their diverse skills and perceptions intact, the business will spur growth. 


In short, diversity at all levels is a key measure of a well-rounded culture built to succeed and retain the best talent.

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