1. Encourage job seekers to apply even with resume gaps
Between 2008 and 2013, one out of four Americans in their 50s lost their jobs. Many gave up looking after that economic downturn.
To attract candidates who may have been forced out of work during that time, as well as others who have taken a break in their career for health or care giving reasons, make it clear that you won’t hold it against them. Here’s how Change.org does so on their careers page:
“All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, colour, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, age, physical disability, or length of time spent unemployed.”
We especially ❤️ that last phrase.
2. Offer a dedicated quiet space at the office
When Karen Catlin visited the Audible engineering office in Cambridge MA, two things stood out for her: the beautiful view of the Charles River AND a large reading room hidden behind a secret panel. No cell phones or conversations allowed. Just a quiet space to get some work done, like a reading room in a university library.
In What It’s Like Being a Shy Introvert on an Agile Team, content designer Dawn Kofie shared her experience and provided some recommendations for supporting introverted coworkers. One of them was…you guessed it…to offer a large, enclosed quiet space at the office for people who need such an environment to concentrate.
If your open office doesn’t have such a room, what would it take to create one?
3. Ask “Why do you say that?” when hearing age-related stereotypes
There are loads of stereotypes about people from any given generation. Here are just a few examples:
- “Baby boomers don’t like open floor plans.”
- “Millennials only want to communicate with coworkers via text.”
- “Older people are more set in their ways and less willing to learn.”
Yet, as we learned from this HBR article, these perceptions are not accurate and have critical implications for workplace interactions.
Here’s one way to push back when hearing someone make a sweeping age-related generalization. A simple, “Why do you say that?” is often enough to get them to reflect on their bias.
4. Sponsor women of color (and encourage white male colleagues to do the same)
As Bloomberg reported this week, “employees who have a white male advocate often end up with higher pay, and most of those employees are white men. Women — particularly black and Hispanic women, are the least likely to have such a lucrative connection.”
Here are some things you can sponsor a woman of color:
- Speak their name when they aren’t around
- Share their career goals with influencers
- Recommend them for stretch assignments
- Invite them to high-profile meetings
- Endorse them publicly
Let’s make it happen.
5. Don’t ask “Where are you really from?”
A touch of humor from the BBC.
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