Companies need to lead by example if we’re going to evolve from an antiquated, ageist model around age and aging at work. Culture is reflected in the workplace and vice-versa. Change has to start somewhere and we need role models.
This makes me wonder why companies doing right are avoiding the spotlight.
In a recent Forbes article, I wrote about an engineer still passionate about his work in the tech space after five decades. During our interview, he told me about a small company of 300 that reached out to him because they felt he would be a great fit. The HR rep explained that almost half of their workforce was over 55.
Those are the kinds of companies we want to highlight to help foster workplace change. Those HR people are the ones whose experience and insight can help influence others.
Imagine my disappointment when, after I was introduced to the HR rep, they didn’t want their story told.
In another example, a professional acquaintance and consultant told me of a pharmaceutical company that made a point of hiring older workers but refused to speak publicly about it.
But why? I asked. Why would a company not want to be a benchmark for others to follow?
The companies won’t say.
Shoe on the other foot
Let’s put ourselves in their shoes. We are a company that hires all ages. We understand that talent does not have an expiration date. We benefit from a workplace culture where all ages work together.
Why would we not want to spotlight ourselves? How is it that we don’t want to lead the way to age-equitable workplace change?
Both the engineer and the consultant suggested the companies didn’t want to become inundated with resumes from older job seekers.
I raised my eyebrows at that one. After all, if they are really age inclusive, why would that be a problem?
So here I sit, scratching my head.
I just don’t get it. Do you?
What ideas do you have for these companies not speaking up?
Do you know age-equitable companies who will? Let us know so we can tell their stories!
I’d love to read your comments below!