Here are ways to help ensure inclusive recruiting and hiring processes to avoid age discrimination of candidates.
Here's what you need to know:
- To combat ageism in the recruitment and hiring processes, evaluate the current work environment and assess the inclusivity of the workplace for all ages
- Look at the perks available to employees and optimize the company’s brand
- Check for inclusive language on job postings and provide better resources for older employees
- Hold events that appeal to all ages and structure the interview process to decrease bias
- Talk to recruiters and communicate with other leaders about ageism
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was passed in 1967 to prevent ageism in the workplace. Still, job seekers age 40 and over experience the implications of bias. Treating a person less favorably because of their age can have very costly consequences for businesses.
Despite the law in place, businesses still lost $850 billion in 2018 for discriminating against older workers. This could have looked like forced retirement or missed opportunities for raises. Some employees reported longer unemployment or lower earnings compared to their younger counterparts.
Businesses need to reevaluate how they treat older employees during every phase of employment. It all starts with the hiring process and finding solutions with a complete overhaul.
1. Evaluate the current work environment for ageism
Leadership should start with an assessment of their company culture as it stands now. Businesses can release an anonymous survey detailing how employees feel at work.
This should encompass everything from hiring to raises and resignations. With this, business leaders can begin to be honest about the areas that need improvement.
Workplace assessments like these should provide insights into processes that aren’t working. From here, companies can get details straight from the source about any potential age bias. Better business decisions can come to mind, which prevents these instances in the recruitment process.
2. Assess the inclusivity of the workplace for all ages
It counts to be as mindful of other people as possible. Individuals of all age groups have their own requirements for optimized quality of life. Therefore, the addition of more inclusive resources may help combat ageism.
Businesses should be more accommodating of age-related limitations. Age-awareness training may help them brainstorm the best ways to achieve diversity in the workplace.
Providing equipment for those with hearing or visual impairments can be a great place to start catering to inclusivity. Other employers might add more flexible work arrangements by request.
3. Look at the perks available to employees
Extensive benefits packages instill a better work culture and increase employee productivity. For recruitment, the right benefits attract top talent, regardless of their age. The benefits offered by a company reflect where they place its values.
Having perks that relate to all employees in some way can help eliminate ageism in recruitment. Comprehensive healthcare is a great example, as it can cover 2nd-generation dependents. Plus, all ages have access to healthcare coverage for medical care or prescription premiums.
Adoption assistance may be another benefit to add for employees. The average age for an adoptive family is 44 years old, with more individuals 50+ looking to adopt. They should receive the same attention and support as traditional parents.
4. Optimize the company’s brand
A company’s brand directly involves how the public perceives them. The right brand image can make a company’s products appear more capable and reliable. As a result, more accomplished job seekers will swarm to a job posting.
Online presence is the first place to look. In fact, 61% of job seekers visit the company’s site before applying. This gives them a better understanding of where they could potentially be working.
Candidates want to know who these companies are, what they stand for, and what they do. Visiting a site with lots of exclusive language and photos of younger people can impact their decision.
This aversion to the company makes them feel like they don’t belong, which reflects negatively on a business’s brand. Assessments and changes should apply to social media and websites that could adversely affect older talent.
5. Check for inclusive language on job postings
The right words reflect how job seekers perceive a company in every aspect of a business. A well-written, inclusive job posting can make or break public perception. They are likely the first place a person hears or sees about a company, so the 1st impression is everything.
It makes sense for a job posting to have minimum qualifications as it pertains to years of experience. The potential for age bias comes in here by stipulations that don’t apply to everyone. This can look like “at least 3, but no more than 10 years of experience with CRM.”
To appeal to a wider range of qualified candidates, job postings should be as non-biased and inclusive as possible.
To appeal to a wider range of qualified candidates, job postings should be as non-biased and inclusive as possible. This means getting rid of language that describes a certain type of person instead of an eligible candidate.
6. Provide better resources for older employees
The resources provided to workers should be available for them to use as needed. Their entire goal is to foster a diverse and more inclusive workplace.
These groups aim at creating a safe space for those in certain diverse groups. The presence of age-related employee resource groups is on the rise, and employers should be ready to advocate.
Providing resources for age-related programs is an inexpensive addition to a workplace. They can help with issues related to retirement, finances, health, eldercare, and more. The Back to Work 50+ program offered by the AARP is a great example.
7. Hold events that appeal to all ages
Catering to the community of a workplace helps foster a more inclusive work culture. Festivities, events, and workshops are great examples of community activities that can help with this.
The problem is these events should attract people of all ages. Prime-time events could prevent families and older individuals from attending.
Inclusive events increase employee satisfaction and attract better candidates to a business. Festivities that suit those with physical limitations make them feel better about participating. It may help to conduct another type of survey to create the most engaging event possible.
8. Structure the interview process to decrease bias
Structured interviews help decrease the possibility of bias. These interviews ask each candidate the same questions across the board. This helps compare working ability solely by the person’s experience and skills.
Assigning a panel of hiring officials may help as well. Businesses should enlist 3 professionals of varying cultural, ethnic, and age groups. Together, they can help facilitate fairness. They will present uniform questions and use cases to each candidate, depending on the position.
Recruiting becomes quicker and more cost-effective this way. Without veering off-topic, recruiters can stick to the hiring process and get the most done. They do so without discriminating against a person and simply focusing on their qualifications.
9. Talk to recruiters about ageism
At this point, optimization of the workplace and the interview processes has begun. The business is aware of any ageist connotations.
So, now is a great time to have an honest conversation with interviewers about their best practices. Recruiters shouldn’t have any biases against certain groups of people. In this case, they shouldn’t consider anyone over another candidate based on their age.
Training can be available to help them understand what these biases may look like. They can get assistance with verbiage and other assets that may deliver age-related stereotypes. This useful type of training helps decrease other possible stereotypes in the recruitment process as well.
10. Communicate with other leaders about ageism
Training and guidance are necessary for a recruiter, and leadership roles benefit just as much. Those in higher-up positions set the foundations for the company’s views and values. The better they embody these outlooks, the more trustworthy the business seems.
All management should enroll in various bias training. These should express the many forms of discrimination that can be unconsciously communicated. Furthermore, training should address all forms of discrimination. This could include age, gender, ethnicity, religion, and more.
Ageism is still is a problematic issue in the workplace
Ageism is still a big issue in the workplace. The effects of age discrimination have recruiting, financial, and legal repercussions for businesses. To counter this, companies must aim to attract all generations of job seekers.