Is There an Age Gap in the Workplace?

Most workplaces are a mix of people with different personalities, professional strengths, and career and life experiences. Many workplaces also have workers from a variety of generations working together. Older and younger employees working together can be good for business, but it also has the potential to cause problems when co-workers from different backgrounds do not see things eye to eye.

In business settings that involve teams of workers from different generations, the resulting age gap can become a problem for managers to navigate. Below is some advice for managers to make the most of age-related differences among their staff. 

How Do Older and Younger Generations Differ in Their Approach to Work?

Although it is unfair to generalize, some habits and attitudes are often associated with certain workers according to their age. Younger workers are seen as green and inexperienced, whereas older workers may get dismissed as out of date or stuck in their ways.

These generalizations are certainly not true across the board, but there is some truth to the biases that may exist between generations that fall into these patterns of thinking about one another.

A positive spin on the age differences between workers might be that younger workers have fresh ideas and tend to be tech savvy. Older workers might be experienced in the ways of the world as well as the operations in the office.

How Can a Manager Take Advantage of Age-Related Differences for a Healthy Work Culture?

Managers would do well to highlight the advantages of age differences among their workers. The perfect way to promote harmony among workers of different generations could be to start a mentorship program that encourages individual workers to learn from one another.

Traditionally, an experienced mentor would take a new hire under their wing and show them the ropes, helping them learn the job and the industry. However, the benefits need not only go in one direction. Mentees can surely benefit from the comradery of working closely with someone experienced, but the older worker may also learn to see things with fresh eyes.

What Concerns Should a Manager Have about Avoiding Age Discrimination?

From the moment the manager is planning to fill a new position, they must be aware of avoiding age discrimination, among other types of unfair bias. Posting the job listing on social media may be seen as a way to gear the opening toward a younger audience. Birthdates must be excluded from application materials. Certain age-disclosing interview questions are prohibited. Suggesting or requiring a mandatory retirement age is also not allowed. Even asking an employee about their retirement plans can be problematic.

How Should an Employer Discuss an Employee’s Potential Retirement?

In discussions with older employees, managers must be careful about what they bring up in conversation. Managers should stick to the performance-based assessments that may be at issue. Managers should be wary of making certain suggestions for older workers about how to address a decline in work performance. However, the employee may offer their own ideas or propose plans to reduce their hours or gradually work toward retirement.

South Jersey Employment Lawyers at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC, Offer Legal Support to Clients Combatting Age Discrimination in the Workplace

If you feel discriminated against in the workplace because of your age, you may have a case against your employer. The South Jersey employment lawyers at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC, can help you prove understand the law and support your case that your employer has discriminated against you because of your age. To learn more about how we can help, call us today at 856-235-7075 or contact us online for a free consultation. With office locations in Mount Laurel and Atlantic City, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients from Cherry Hill, Burlington County, Camden County, and throughout South Jersey.