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February 13, 2018
April 11, 2018

Too Old or Not Old Enough?

Sheila Grosdidier
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This month’s SHRM Magazine cover features a picture of Albert Einstein with the question – “Would you hire this man?” And it appears that an increasing number of employers would say “No”. Ageism is beginning to raise the attention of HR professionals in large and small businesses. While many of the Baby Boomers are preparing to see the finish line of their career, just as many are settling in to make the long haul and continue to work past their official retirement date. If you are concerned that the message you put out to the job seeking universe suggests that age does make a difference, consider these points to avoid ageism:

  1. Reward performance, not just longevity. If someone is with your practice for many years, are you guaranteed that they are the most productive? Does a new employee assure you better performance? Pay for performance regardless of longevity in the business.

  2. Watch your words. It may seem endearing to refer to your favorite receptionist as the “dear old girl” at the front desk but remember, how that is interpreted by other employees may not be the message you want to send. Value employees for their skills, not their age.

  3. Make sure that you don’t ask age related questions during interviewing candidates. If it’s not a requirement of the job, then stay away from that topic. Yes, they must be old enough to be employed by the practice, but then, do not go there.

  4. Let’s be clear here, ageism is a form of discrimination and is not to be tolerated in any situation.

  5. If you are making decisions regarding who gets an interview and who is set aside based on how old you think the candidate is, you’d better look at the job description and re-evaluate why you are biased and what preconceived idea you have about the best fit for the job.

  6. Many of the most successful businesses have identified that their ability to compete, achieve and dominate in their market is because of diversity in their workforce. Productivity in the business world has been shown to improve with a wide variety of diverse individuals who can meld their skills together for amazing results.

  7. Talk to your team and let them know that your practice is an equal opportunity employer and that you respect and value the contributions employees without consideration for age.

At your next team meeting, ask each team member to identify a strength in the individual sitting to their left. Make a list of all the strengths that are on the team and note that these abilities are not dependent on age, gender, religion or color. Those strengths are what make your team effective and productive. Celebrate the strengths that make each of us different and the love of pets that bring us together as one.

Make sure you are covered regarding your H.R. practices! Attend an intense, 2-day workshop on how to improve and manage an effective HR strategy. See when H.R. Boot Camp will be in a U.S. city near you.

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