With people staying in the workforce longer, one of the challenges that a business may face is ageism. Depending on what type of business you are working in will determine how much of this you may actually encounter.
First of all, it is important to know exactly what ageism is and how it applies to the business world. You can basically sum it in up in two words “age discrimination.” It can be choosing not to hire someone, to hire someone based solely on his or her age, or it could also have to do with trying to force someone to retire.
This could be because the business has had employees in that age group that did not perform well in the past or maybe they feel that they cannot do the job adequately due to their age and abilities. Maybe a business does not want to hire older workers as they feel that they are only going to work there a year or two and then retire and it is not worth training them. Regardless of the reasoning, ageism is something that any business should strive to avoid.
Avoiding Ageism – Legally
One of the first things that a business can do to avoid ageism is to check the laws at a local and national level. While this seems like a strange thing, you want to make sure you are not hiring people you shouldn’t be. For instance, if there is a minimum age that people have to be before they can enter the workforce, you need to keep that in mind. There can be places that have a mandatory retirement age so you cannot hire anyone who is over that age limit. When looking to hire for your business, do not ask people for their age or birth year, instead ask them if they are legally allowed to work. If you are not sure if people will know those ages, you can simply ask if they were born between X and Y years.
Where You Advertise
The location of where you advertise can ultimately affect the ages of the applicants that you receive, which can make your business look like it has an age discrimination issue. For instance, if you put most of your ads in the places where teenagers are known to hang out, you likely are going to get a lot of teenagers applying for positions.
This may be your goal if you are hiring for a minimum wage job that does not require education beyond high school but if you are looking for someone with a degree and five years experience, you are not likely to find it there. One of the best locations to advertise is the newspaper or on the Internet job classifieds as people can find them there regardless of age.
Setting Up Policies
Having policies in place within your business can help to prevent ageism from happening and will also allow for better employee satisfaction. For instance, you could have a wage schedule that indicates when employees qualify for raises and how much they can be or a range. Determine a method to evaluate this based on performance or other factors and have it laid out when the employee starts their job. Make sure that these guidelines are then followed and that employees know exactly what is expected of them in order to qualify.
Policies should also be setup for discipline in the same way. Regardless, make sure that those in your business who do the evaluating keep records. Offer opportunities for advancement within the business based on qualifications and merit.
Joshua Turner is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to business. In this article, he explains the basics of age discrimination and aims to encourage further study with a gerontology degree, click here for more information.
This post was originally published at an earlier date.
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