Age has not traditionally been a focus for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. The time has come for employers to pay more attention, according to Edna Kane-Williams, EVP & Chief Diversity Officer at AARP. There are five generations working together in this new longevity economy, she said, and businesses need to prepare for reality.
Pushed by Nicole Carroll, Editor-in-Chief at USA Today, to explain how a multigenerational workforce helps companies, Kane-Williams answered that a mix of employees leads to better innovation and resilience. People have started looking at their careers differently and are putting more importance on how they are trained and supported. Companies need policies that ensure employability.
Kane-Williams admitted that there can be conflict between the generations, so companies need to encourage and facilitate courageous conversations. Vibrant workplaces are more successful with a healthy mix of ages across jobs, intentional training, and enhanced interaction. AARP’s top priorities include ending age discrimination, reskilling programs, and long-term employment. Companies that embrace the longevity economy, Kane-Williams concluded, do better and last longer.
Companies really need to focus more on aging as a part of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion spectrum. They need to use the word ‘intentional’ and show intentionality about focusing on aging.
Having diversity, including age diversity, has helped companies succeed.