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Pros and Cons of Age Diversity at Workplaces

August 27, 2015

The modern workplace is a melting pot of people from diverse culture, different age groups and educational backgrounds working together to meet a common business goal. Not easily noticeable but age differences and diversity in backgrounds do bring with it their share of pros and cons of inhabiting closely with peers at workplaces.

Age can be a potentially challenging and polarising factor at workplaces, along with the gender bias can further fuel this mental divide. Where do you fit in this entire scheme of things? Today’s Gen Y and millennials make up for about 14 percent of the workforce, with Baby boomers looming at an all time high of 33 percent in the US.

When you plan for your next career move, it is important to evaluate how gender and cultural diversities with age differences between co-workers help you fall in love with your job every day. There are pros and cons of working in age-diversity workplaces. Some of the pros and cons are as listed below:

Pros

  • Opportunity to work with different people with unique skill sets

Age diversity at workplace gives employees an opportunity to learn from the experts and professionals of different age groups to integrate skills and deliver productive outcomes. For instance, if a millennial is technology savvy and has good research skills, maybe Gen X can learn from them and vice versa, millennials have a lot of industry expertise to learn from Gen X as well.

  • Mentorship can accelerate career progress

Young professionals get better mentorship when working with seniors from different educational backgrounds and skills. This will help them accelerate their career growth path in much earlier stages of their life.

An office environment that encourage age diversity sets open culture as an example, where employees can connect with different age groups and look upto talent individuals who can be a source of inspiration for the millennials.

  • Openness to diverse opinions and perspectives

With age diversity, the organisation is more welcoming to opinions and new perspectives of looking at things in a different light. Brainstorming sessions in the team, help employees ideate and set new benchmarks of excellence. Hence having individuals with different amount of life experiences, coming from different cultural backgrounds, helps an organisation breathe success in its functioning.

See: Top 10 Biggest Mistakes Professionals Make on their LinkedIn Profile

Cons

  • Sometimes communication can be difficult

Since employees come from different educational and cultural backgrounds, the standard communication approaches may not be easily comprehensible to all staffers at one go.

Hence communication mechanisms to connect with age diverse employees should be customised, for easy understanding of the workforce and to bring them on same page in tandem with pre-defined organisational goals.

It is extremely important to balance out conflicting opinions and needs of individuals coming from different age groups and avoid any inflammatory language. Always communication short, crisp and clear sentences for easy understanding.

  • Personal prejudices coexist

With age diversity, there comes a share of personal prejudices that employees hold on to. Each employee has been raised in a different background hence they cannot do away with certain prejudices they hold towards other employees.

Issues of prejudice need to be addressed politely and openly, without feeling the need to escalate it to the top management and human resource professionals. Only in case of extreme harassment, should such issues be flared and flagged to draw attention of the top management.

  • Diverse opinions can create distraction

Yes diverse opinions have the good and bad side to it. While they help in creating a constructive workplace, they can also form a source of clutter and distraction, thus impacting the company’s bottom-line. Hence to create a hostile work environment, it is important to consider how you approach the age-diversity at workplaces by respecting employees and valuing them for their opinions and perspectives.

The difference between employees at workplace due to age diversity can impact negatively n the office dynamics. As a job seeker, it is your final choice to decide and work in an environment that best meets your expectations, inculcates love for your job every day and you look forward to get to work because of peers. The work environment that best meets your personality type and temperament should the ideal fit.

Also read: DO NOT opt for these Strangest Ways to Attract Hiring Managers Attention

Image credit: wikimedia.org

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