Why implement an Age Diversity Program in the Organization?

The Diversity agenda has been addressed in organizations, with major emphasis on topics related to gender and race, since these are usually the most sensitive ones. How can we justify higher salaries for white men simply because they are men and white?

Some more advanced countries have already been dealing with a more complex agenda, involving the issue of aging in this equation, since there is a global trend toward increased life expectancy. After all, if we are going to live longer, we have to work longer, and for this to be possible, we have to change the mindset of people and companies.

From the point of view of the "aging" consumer, the need for products and services that meet their demands is growing. Women complain about the fashion industry's neglect of their interests and desires: they feel they become invisible as they get older.

The companies are agitated by the frenzy caused by the potential numbers of the silver economy, the 3rd largest economic activity in the world, driven by a consumer who is still little known, but more active and demanding each day, and does not feel represented.

Forget that person who was old, sedentary, passive, and with limited resources: the new "old" person takes care of his/her health, tries to exercise, eats well, has aesthetic procedures when he/she thinks that appearance can be improved, uses technological tools with a certain agility, shops online, interacts with social media, and is not ashamed of being happy!

Even so, surveys show that these elderly people face difficulties with product labels and restaurant menus that are too small, bank statements with complicated explanations, websites that are not very user-friendly, difficulties of access, and professionals who are not very empathetic, especially in the health area.

How to work on these issues?

I believe in simplicity as the ultimate degree of sophistication. The beauty of simple solutions is that they usually have low implementation costs and positive impacts on other situations. Bringing answers to seniors’ demands implies rescuing an empathetic look at their questions, and what could be simpler than inviting another senior to do so?

Companies resistant to hiring older people in their staff are starting to rethink this posture considering the results that this mature look can bring in winning over this senior consumer.

Here again, the association of another benefit: bringing a senior to the team represents a cultural upgrade through an effective action of generational integration, a practice with proven benefits in engagement and organizational climate.

Additional benefits? Various!

Among the advantages of implementing a generational integration program in the organization, we can highlight the image, social, and business gains.

In the last few years, companies have been charged for their economic-social management, involving aspects related to the exercise of sustainability, social responsibility, and relationship with the community. In this sense, a company that bets on age diversity is well seen in the market: it is a company that thinks about the future of its employees, suppliers, and customers. Depending on the extent of the work developed, the company may be conducting or participating in a social transformation, promoting pride and a sense of belonging to its employees and, why not, to its customers.

It is worth pointing out that the corporate image, intangible and abstract, is formed by diverse perceptions and interactions, whose gains will only occur from honest intentions: there is no point in launching such a program “just for show". Therefore, with this action, we achieve two important points, the company's social responsibility and its reputation gains. And as an additional benefit, the attraction of talents to the organization.

Looking at short/medium term quantitative benefits, we can also see advantages in implementing a well-structured Age Diversity program. The first, pointed out in research, is related to innovation, and can be extended to Diversity as a whole: different minds thinking together bring richer solutions and higher productivity. If we combine the interaction between generations with other pillars of diversity, the gains can be exponential.

Another interesting point is the intellectual capital generated by attracting talents, as mentioned above.

Fran Winandy