In December of 1990, the UN General Assembly designated October 1 as the “International Day of Older Persons.” In recent decades, the age of the world population has significantly shifted. Worldwide, there are now over 703 million people who are 65 or older. Over the next 50 years, the shift will become even greater, and is predicted to reach almost 2 billion by 2050.
This year’s theme for the International Day of Older Persons is “Digital Equality for All Ages.” The goal is to bring attention to the worldwide need for digital access for older persons. Currently, about half of the world’s population is “offline.” The goal is to bring awareness to this situation and implement changes that bring greater fairness and equality through implementing initiatives to provide access to older persons who are left out of the digital equation.
Older Persons and a Changing Workforce
When older people were once expected to live out their “golden years” gardening, baking cookies and playing golf, the modern older person is typically active, tech-savvy, and still working. While some have retired and are enjoying freedom from the 9 to 5 grind, having left the workforce for good, others are still employed, bringing a breadth of experience and expertise to any business.
Age discrimination is illegal under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), but many older persons believe they have experienced more subtle forms of discrimination and feel less valued or respected than their younger counterparts. Older workers tend to have a foundation of loyalty, and are far less likely to leave their employment, when younger workers may be on the hunt for a better deal. Older workers can stabilize your enterprise and can contribute a range of positive impacts in an Amazing Workplace.
Combating Ageism – Your Company Culture
Every business has an inherent personality, with the overall tone set at the very top of the organizing chart. As the boss does, so follow the employees. An owner or CEO who genuinely cares about employees has been found to inspire loyalty even more than a big paycheck. An Amazing Workplace would be a business with a culture that values and respects employees of every age.
An Amazing Workplace – Your Volunteers
Teamwork is a fundamental factor in a productive, happy staff. Your employees can be a powerful force for good by giving back to the community, and you will find that your older employees have a high interest in participating in these activities. Mentoring youth, sponsoring a little league team, neighborhood cleanups, and countless other good works can become even more successful when your older employees get involved.
The volunteer spirit, when alive and well in your business, creates a more positive company culture, enhances the ability to work as a team, and allows your employees to get to know and respect each other in new ways. Call on your older employees and speak with them about your ideas for a new volunteer activity – it is likely you will be pleasantly surprised at their willingness to take on these responsibilities. Take advantage of the International Day of Older Persons to evaluate your company culture and seek to enhance the lives of your employees, no matter their age, and you will be well on your way to becoming an Amazing Workplace.