5 Signs of ageism in the workplace

Ageism in the workplace is one of numerous unconscious bias traits that can have significant implications on the morale, productivity and mental health of employees in your business.

Ageism can affect anyone from around 40 years old and up and while ageism is an often overlooked form of discrimination, there are certain signs and examples of ageism in the workplace that you can spot and there are things that can be done to help deal with this unconscious bias in the workplace.

Are learning opportunities automatically offered to younger employees in the business?

There are a lot of learning opportunities that can be offered to employees in business. Yet so many of them are offered to younger members of the team rather than older employees. The theory being that the training will help them develop into a stronger member of the team in the future by adding new skills. But by overlooking older employees for learning opportunities, you are ignoring a way of strengthening your company today and not just for the future whilst also opening up new learning opportunities for existing and established members of the workforce.  By alienating older employees from new learning opportunities, you are also isolating them from participation.

When assignments are passed out – who gets the exciting jobs and who gets the boring tedious ones?

The unbalanced distribution of unpleasant and tedious work assignments that are so often given out to older employees can create resentment towards their colleagues whilst lowering their moral and creating a depressing workplace environment for many in your business.

When tasks are passed out to the team, try and consider the wider balance of who gets what and why.

Work bonding events are great but can everyone partake?

A company paintball weekend (for example) might sound like a great idea but it may not be everyones cup of tea to jump and crawl through wet woodland shooting paintballs at each other.

For some in the workplace, age may be a limiting factor in their ability to partake and can therefore make them feel both left out of team bonding events and a hinderance to other employees fun.

When it comes to planning work events, always try to consider things that EVERYONE can partake in.

Family Commitments are something that can affect everyone. Not just young parents.

Older employees are more likely to have grandchildren, Nephews and Nieces.  This entitles them to take time off for family commitments. Just because they do not have a new born child at home or a kid in the early years of school does not mean that they are not entitled to take time off for family commitments.

Yet this can create a resentment within the workplace by those who may not understand what and why other employees would seek time off for family commitments.

Office humour is important – but only the right kind of humour.

Playful jokes are one thing but too often the humour in an office can bring about significant unconscious bias traits including ageism, sexism and racism. Office humour is an important aspect of day to day office life but jokes about retirement, slow typing speeds and a lack of understanding of new technology can have serious negative impacts on the target of these jokes.

We all like a good joke but not at the expense of others in this environment.

What can be done to tackle ageism in the workplace?

Ageism in the workplace falls under unconscious bias. Unconscious bias can have a significant impact on job positions, hiring and through general work attitudes in the office. We all have unconscious bias. We are ingrained with stereotypes that we unintentionally hold onto as beliefs that can affect our behaviour and our attitude to others in the workplace. Sometimes these assumptions can be brushed off as innocent mistakes but unconscious bias can run deep within people and can cause significant disruption to work flow and productivity in the workplace.

So what can be done about this? At Skills 4 Training, we firmly believe that to change behaviours, we must first change minds and hearts.

And this is best achieved through live, candid interaction. We provide one of the most comprehensive unconscious bias training services in the UK. Our initial Unconscious Bias and Conscious Inclusion sessions last between 2 and 3 hours and are delivered face to face, or via live webinars.

Training is delivered by experienced sector specialists who can quickly get to the issues at the heart of the organisation. Each session gives participants the opportunity to ask questions and interact with their trainer and is tailored to meet the needs of the audience. We have a successful record in delivering impactful workshops from the boardroom; to specific functions such as recruitment and selection teams; through to shop-floor operatives.

If you would like to know more about Unconscious Bias and how our training can benefit your business, please contact us using the form below or by selecting some of the information links.

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