Reverse Ageism Will Keep Getting Worse
As ageism continues to grow in our society it will cause reverse ageism cases to rise. This is because ageism is a systemic problem that employees internalize and then continue to expand by being a part of the problem rather than a part of the solution.
For example – as middle-aged managers begin to feel ageism creeping up on them, they will lash out at younger workers to keep their place in the pecking order longer. They believe that by putting others down they will be able to build themselves up higher – thereby avoiding the negative impacts of ageism.
In fact, we heard from a middle-aged manager recently how she appreciated working with younger generations because “when you talk to them you really are an expert. No one is trying to fight you on things.”
It’s this type of thinking that gets businesses in trouble. By stereotyping younger generations as “unknowing” or as employees who won’t challenge ideas, an unhealthy dynamic is created where ideas of younger employees are stunted or disallowed. This is the very definition of reverse ageism.
Older generations who continue to worry about job safety, and who begin to experience ageism just as they hit their stride in the workplace, need to find a new way to fight back. They should be combatting ageism itself, rather than fighting to continue ageism at their company by holding others down to try to get ahead.
Or, they should at least put their own ageism experiences on hold. But how?
Rather than becoming a part of the ageism problem, these individuals should try tactics to push ageism away instead of spreading it. Here are some tips:
Create An Inclusive Workplace Culture
By taking strides to create an office culture that is inclusive & positive, less age discrimination will surface. In organizations where all employee ideas are heard and valued, less negativity will appear – through both ageism and reverse ageism.
Many companies try this by holding open forums where anyone is able to bring ideas to the table, not just upper management.
Ask HR To Get Involved
Any employee experiencing ageism should ask HR to get involved. Human Resources departments can help spread a positive workplace setting by sending out company-wide ageism guidelines, hosting ageism seminars and training sessions, or working with employees on a 1:1 basis to solve any ageism needs or problems that present themselves in-office. If an HR department isn’t set up in a way to handle multiple agism concerns, a third-party inclusion company can be contacted and contracted in to help.
Create Or Attend Ageism Support Groups
It’s important to become a part of a community working to end ageism by being a part of a collective fighting age-based stereotypes. Employees suffering from ageism impacts at work will be less likely to internalize the actions against them, and push age-based negativity on others, if they have a support system. This system is there to help vocalize issues everyone involved is facing, and to come up with ways to push negative age-based stereotypes, and the impacts, aside.