8 Steps To Creating an Age-Diverse Culture

May 8, 2017       THE NONPROFIT TIMES      

With baby boomers retiring or about to retire, it stands to reason that younger people will come on board. What kind of culture will they find at your organization? Today, an inclusive environment is not only expected but also demanded.

Once your organization has an age-diverse workforce in place, you can implement strategies to motivate and engage employees for improved innovation and encourage them to pursue the following: Risk taking, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship.

    As Valerie M. Grubb explains in Clash of the Generations: Managing the New Workplace Reality (Wiley, 2017), these three activities constitute an approach that compels an employee — of any age — to engage in creative problem solving and more effective operations. The following eight strategies can help.

  • Stimulate idea generation. Having no-holds-barred, no-idea-is-a-bad-idea meetings can result in your team’s constantly being on the cutting edge of change and reinvention and serve as a powerful reminder to all staff that age is not a barrier to breakthroughs.
  • Protect idea generators. If new ideas are attacked, people, especially newer members of the team, will simply stop talking in order to avoid being shot down and feeling humiliated.
  • Don’t revile someone for mistakes made. Failure has made the world a richer place, and both innovation and entrepreneurial spirit are quashed when mistakes are punished or ignored.
  • Promote good ideas, regardless of who presents them.
  • Broaden your knowledge base, and have staff members think beyond their own day-to-day responsibilities.
  • Push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Keep learning so that you can continue to make contributions throughout the organization and not just in your own department.
  • Employ diverse employees and teams.
  • Recognize and reward risk taking. Regardless of your position in the organization, acknowledging and appreciating risk taking can have positive, far-reaching effects.