Can Age Diversity At Work Be A Good Thing?

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Age diversity in today’s workplace is a reality that many of us find uncomfortable. If you are a Baby Boomer, you may find yourself complaining about younger colleagues who insist on texting you when you’ve repeatedly asked them to call. If you are a Millennial you may be tired of the older generations at work underestimating you, their constant need to meet in person and their reluctance to embrace new strategies. We may have the most age diversity in the workplace than ever before. Lots of people in their seventies and even eighties are still employed; some because they enjoy their jobs while others can’t afford to retire quite yet. But mostly we have a mix of Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers dominating the workforce*.

People are often more comfortable relating to and working with those who are similar. But welcoming age diversity offers us access to different opinions, new problem-solving techniques and perspectives we may never before have considered. Since most organizations also serve persons of different age groups, embracing age diversity in our colleagues may help us understand and meet the needs our customers and clients better.

April is Celebrate Diversity Month. In what ways can your organization embrace age diversity, either formally or informally? Consider at least taking a moment to appreciate what your colleagues of different generations bring to the table that you do not.

*(If you are one of those rare workers who doesn’t know what category you fall into, check out this tongue-in-cheek handy article which describes each of these cohorts:
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/03/here-is-when-each-generation-begins-and-ends-according-to-facts/359589/ )

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