When you hear the term “diversity, equity and inclusion” or its abbreviation DEI, do you envision age? Instead, do you think of gender, race, culture or physical and developmental differences?
Age is often left out of many DEI discussions, but it shouldn’t be.
While valuing the unique perspectives and challenges faced by those who are 50+ not only makes sense, it is merely an acknowledgement of an ageing population in many parts of the world.
The reality is, as of 2020, workers 50 and older made up over one third of the U.S. workforce, and one in four U.S. workers is expected to be 55 or older by 2030. In the EU, the employment rate for workers aged 55–64 was already 60% by 2021. The number of workers 55 and beyond is a large percentage of the overall workforce with unique concerns and perspectives.
Unfortunately, even though many older workers are focused, versatile, patient, resilient and knowledgeable, they don’t always feel supported at work.
Discrimination Against Workers 50+ is Commonplace
According to a poll by AARP, 78% of older U.S. adult workers say they’ve seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. Across the Atlantic, in a recent report by the World Health Organization, 1 in 3 people in Europe report being the target of ageism.
Why It Matters
Ageism leads to lower morale and productivity and increased stress and employee turnover. Not only does it affect individuals but from a company standpoint, since we all age, ageism will continue to affect all workers – eventually.
When it comes to ageing and working, there are so many questions without clear-cut answers.
1. Does intergenerational cohesion in companies currently exist? How are companies encouraging different generations to work together?
2. Why are workers over 50 often the first to be sidelined during layoffs? Is it always a matter of keeping younger, lower-paid workers? How often does age discrimination play a role?
3. Why do workers ages 50+ often have more difficulty finding a job? Are older workers perceived to be less technologically savvy? How do job descriptions subtly attract younger workers?
4. Why do many organizations and individuals view ageing as a time of winding down, when you may have 30 or more years beyond the workplace?
As leaders in the workplace well-being industry, Wake-Up, Shake-Up, Thrive! commits to investigating and creating solutions to these common questions and problems.
A Merger Between Human Resources and Business Expertise
Dominique Ben Dhaou and Ellen Kocher met at a business luncheon five years ago. The women, from different backgrounds and experiences, found a common bond: Their passion for helping people age differently.
After 30 years in corporate human resources, Dominique envisioned a holistic approach to working and ageing. She now supports executives and companies change their perspective on Talent Management.
Ellen had already left the financial sector a decade earlier and was working as a health and wellness coach and workplace well-being consultant.
While there had always been advice for ageing workers regarding their pensions and retirement accounts, Ellen and Dominique knew companies and individuals needed new perspectives to reinvent and reinvigorate their lives.
A Holistic Approach to Aging for Professionals and Entrepreneurs
The dynamic duo quickly realized there was no framework for corporations and individuals to fully embrace the unique perspectives and challenges faced by those over 50. While there are DEI initiatives for gender, culture, and disabilities, Dominique and Ellen have found that age is often overlooked. In fact, 50% of business leaders are aware of aging demographics, yet only 8% are taking steps to foster multigenerational diversity in organizations. If age is discussed at all, it tends to be limited to financial advice for retirement. With increased life expectancy and a higher cost of living, this advice is welcome but, in their opinion, far too narrow.
The women knew that companies weren’t fully prepared to attract, utilize and retain the talents of older workers. In addition, they were meeting professionals ages 50+ who were entrepreneurial-minded, but doubted their ability to make the leap at this stage in their lives. Both organizations and individuals needed to wake-up and shake-up their lives!
Dominique and Ellen decided to put pen to paper so their uniquely holistic approach to living and working beyond 50 would be widely available in hardcopy and e-book form.
A Holistic Approach to Helping Folks Over 50
In 2021, Ellen and Dominique published their book, Wake-Up, Shake-up: How to Lift up Your Life in Your 50’s and Beyond. The book is available in French and English and sampled on their website.
The premise of their book and their consulting business is that all five dimensions of one’s well-being should receive equal attention in order to work effectively. Like the gears of a Swiss watch, when one gear turns, the others move, too- harmoniously. These dimensions include physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and financial health. In their book, Dominique and Ellen offer insight and helpful suggestions for each dimension backed up by research and insight from their coaching clients.
How Wake-Up Shake-Up Impacts Organizations
The duo meets with managers and employees to assess whether – and how – they’ve incorporated age-specific proposals into their DEI initiatives. They monitor and gauge the effectiveness of these proposals and create new suggestions where none currently exist. Most importantly, Dominique and Ellen know that relevant advice is meaningless without implementation, so they leave their clients with clear roadmaps to continue to measure what is and isn’t working.
Even though many of their clients are corporations and professionals, their style is anything but stuffy. Using engaging videos and quizzes, they employ an interactive approach to teaching these strategies and new perspectives.
Wake-Up Shake-Up’s Strategic Plan for Organizations
WUSUT has created a three-step plan to help their corporate clients become age-aware and age ready to make 50+ employees feel welcome.
Simply put, they assess, strategize, and deliver a roadmap for the future.
In the first step, Assessment, they examine what organizations are already doing to include older employees in their DEI plans. If an organization is not tuned into why it’s so important, Dominique and Ellen will show them how they are jeopardizing their reputation, impact, and income by not making this shift. This includes a Check-Up to identify where they can grow and capitalize on their experienced and dedicated 50+ aged employees.
The second step, Strategize, includes creating a roadmap with clearly defined priorities to proactively approach demographic trends, bring in strong candidates and support your organization’s mission and values with actionable steps.
The third step, Deliver, includes delivery launch points such as an employer awareness session, an employee awareness session, a 12-point program for employers/employees, and add-ons like financial advice and individual coaching for management.
What WUSUT Can Do For Individuals
Individuals seek WUSUT’s expertise for coaching related to their chosen profession or if they are curious about entrepreneurship. With programs ranging from 6-24 weeks, they meet you where you are and design customized coaching to bring you from awareness through making changes and taking action, and finally realizing sustainable results. With clients and influence now spanning multiple continents around the globe, coaching can be done through weekly virtual sessions to serve those outside of Switzerland and worldwide.
What Can WUSUT DO For You?
Who would have guessed that a chance meeting between two kindred spirits would evolve into a worldwide enterprise helping organizations and clients in multiple languages?
With support options for both organizations and individuals available online and fully-customizable, WUSUT’s philosophy is uplifting and results-focused. Dominique and Ellen create a supportive space for you to get crystal clear on your vision, then provide an assessment and a clear pathway to make it possible.
If you’re an organizational leader, the Wake Up, Shake Up, Thrive CORPORATE CHECK-UP is the best first step.
For organizations that want to go from knowing to doing, Ellen and Dominique have created a “Getting the Best Out of Your Five-Generation Workforce” Team Building workshop. It’s a lively, engaging and enriching module to harness the strengths of your 50+ workforce. Recent workshop attendees have reported gaining insights
Unsure of which individual coaching program is best for you? Discover your options by downloading a FREE copy of WUSUT’s 90 minute Wake-Up Check-Up for Individuals.
If you’re curious, but not ready to purchase a program yet, find out more about WUSUT’s complimentary resources such as the Mini Thrive Guide, relevant videos featuring Dominique and Ellen, and how you can quickly download the first two chapters of their book.
Begin a conversation by scheduling your 20 minute complimentary CHECK-IN to decide what’s best for your organization.
While ageing is inevitable, growing old is most certainly not. Individuals and organizations alike can benefit from age-specific DEI planning and execution. The difference between stagnation and growth lies in the steps you take – Today!