Creating and managing a diverse workforce is a process, not a destination.
–R. Roosevelt Thomas Jr., Beyond Race and Gender1
In chapter 4, I discussed the importance of making diversity a business initiative, not just a “nice to have” program separate from corporate initiatives. When diversity is an organizational priority, it will actually get attention from senior management and won't be relegated to the back burner when resources are tight. Although having senior‐level commitment is important, when it comes to valuing employees of all ages (and other diversity efforts), one cannot overlook the criticality of enlisting the individual managers in promoting an inclusive environment. It's easy for senior leaders to say all the right things, but if middle managers (who in essence run the organization) don't get on board, it will be tough for projects of any kind to succeed. After all, middle managers are the doers whose actions result in company goals being met. This group typically has way more interaction with a greater number of employees than the average CEO, who in most instances is outwardly facing. And as we know, “employees join companies and leave managers.” Thus, the actions of middle managers in promoting an environment inclusive of all ages is even more critical than those at the senior‐most levels.
As part of my training practice, I lead a workshop entitled “Inspiring a Collaborative and Respectful ...