Diversity tips for understanding age diversity

So. As you can see from my LinkedIn profile photo, I am no longer 30 and I have lived long enough now to understand some of the differences between age; and more importantly, the differences in how the same language is perceived by different age groups.

Yesterday, I had an experience with a neighbour which I think demonstrates some of the differences between my understanding of language and its meaning, what I would call normal social behaviour, and what someone younger might understand from the same words or phases. In the apartment block where I live, we have three garages under each apartment and a space where a car could pull up immediately in front of them. You would normally be able to park a second car in front of these garages if it weren’t for the fact that the actual driveway onto the street is just a single car width which means that if you are the garage on the side and a car parks in front of the garage in the middle, you can’t get your car out. The residents have agreed that we don’t park in front for this purpose, but occasionally someone does and if I am at home, I ask them to park really close to the middle garage door so I can get out. Not ideal, enough said. So yesterday, this young women (maybe late 20’s) and her boyfriend were doing stuff out the front of the garage and I poked my head out to ask if they were from the apartment directly above me which would mean that was their garage. I had seen other people parking there just recently and thought this young women must have moved out, as I had met her previously when she moved in about a year ago. I said hello but she didn’t look at me, instead she spoke directly at the man she was with, and said; “is there a problem here?”. I spoke to the man that she was with and she (without acknowledging me), said, ‘he’s just moving in, so you need to bear with us’. She no doubt thought that I was going to complain, but I told her about other people parking in that spot so I thought she had moved. After a little bit of discussion I was able to confirm that she was the person who belonged to that garage and went inside, but the encounter left me disturbed.

We often hear the same phase or word in a different context based on our own experience

For me, her question, “is there a problem here” seemed aggressive and dismissive. To her, it was no doubt standard terminology. I have noticed that this phase is used more often by Gen X and Y’s. For me, the approach would have been first to acknowledge me and say ‘hello’ with something like, “I’m Sarah from number 7 and we are just moving Paul in. Won’t be too long but just let me know if you need us to move the car”. Instead, I have come away from the experience feeling dismayed that this person is my neighbour and wondering what else will be in store for me with this person living upstairs from me.

Similarly, I was recently talking to someone at work about respect, saying that a management behaviour that we were discussing was fundamentally about respect. It became apparent that what I know as ‘respect’ was different to this person’s idea of respect. They saw any opinion about their behaviour or actions as a criticism and thought that they should be ‘repected’. In this case it was them as a Manager taking it on themselves to start tasking staff in another Manager’s area without any discussion with the staff members manager. Their idea was that I should be ‘respecting them’ by allowing them to do whatever they wanted to without any opinion to the contrary because they wanted to get something done and they thought it was perfectly ok to start tasking team members in another management team. I said that this was probably a management 101 concept even forgetting about the respect idea, and secretly wondered how we would manage to achieve any outputs in this type of management paradigm.

The different responses and beliefs of different age groups can impact management decisions

I’m not saying that we need to respect people simply because of their age, in fact, I think that you earn respect, it is not simply given because of your age or position. When I was young we were taught to respect our elders and I think (rightly or wrongly) this gave us some sort of measuring stick for behaviour. That is; there was this hierarchy of respect with people like bank managers, lawyers and teachers gaining an almost automatic respect because of their position in society. Conversely housewives and carers were not respected in the same way, but none the less were given a degree of respect by their children because of their age and their family role as carer. Of course there was also an intersection of the degree of respect you had in relation to your gender and race that moderated other peoples behaviour and in some cases, of course, blatant racism and sexism still prevailed then as it does today.

In my work I assess, and assist many organisations to develop their diversity strategies to better leverage performance in their organisations and one of the most common findings that I see is that age diversity is not understood, nor is a strategy implemented. Instead, most of the rhetoric is aimed at the needs of younger employee’s which is of course important but it is not diversity. It seems that much of the diversity strategy or approach for more mature employees is relegated to the assumption that they might be ‘carers’ and that’s as far as it goes.

What I am saying is that age diversity is about more than the need for organisational diversity programs to make sure that a carer program is provided for (often) mature age women to avail themselves of in order to provide care to ageing parents or spouses.

Using a broader brush for age diversity

In this article I have presented just a couple of examples of the way that language, context and age work to form completely different pictures and approaches to the same conversation. This provides an example of how diversity, if managed well, faciliates different approaches to the same problem. In the first example where I am speaking to the young woman about the car parking, her response in language, attitude and delivery would put off your mature age clients, whereas to someone her own age might be a none issue. For me, it would be enough to make me go to another provider because it demonstrates a lack of understanding of the client base and a lack of connection to other people which many older people think is really important customer service. Or rather, it used to be, but that is another discussion. Remember that when people like me started working in the early 1980’s, customer service was big business and we were all routinely trained in its application including ‘how’ we answered the phone. Much of this training has stayed with me, and no doubt is important to others my age, but it is less important to younger people.

When you are developing your diversity strategy broaden your brush for age diversity, its not all about flexibility for carers, or education and training. Look at common language used in your organisation. Is it really skewed to ‘hip, buzz words’, with the culture of the organisation being ‘young, energetic, a fast paced environment, etc’. You can surely hear the job ads whilst I am speaking, but who is likely to be your client? This is another area where more mature workers don’t fair well and many times I consult to organisations about the wording and placement of information in their job ads as they will screen out older people and it doesn’t go unnoticed when sometimes this is the intention. Its not that older people don’t have the skills, its that they may not present them in the same way and put the same emphasis on what a younger worker might think is more important.

Consider how teams are put together and how the dynamics play out when you are doing team activities or working through strategies and problem solving. Is it driven by an ideal of youth, i.e. focus on energy, coolness and speed with little personal connection or is there a balance? Maybe you don’t want a balance in your organisation, this is also something to consider.

During my assessment consulting work with the DPRF, one of the most consistent findings is the presence of bullying and harassment. It seems to be getting worse and more sophisticated in the way that it plays out. Sadly, much of this harassment is from young senior female managers targeting older subordinate women. It happens to men as well, but, in my experience plays out slightly differently. This trend is disturbing and, in my experience is increasing.

If you would like more information about how to devise a holistic diversity and performance strategy, please contact me at susanne.moore@ambidio.com.au or susanne.moore@gendereconomics.org


Job Hunting Tips For The Mature-Age Workerhttp://careerfaqs.com.auIf you are over 45 and suddenly find yourself made redundant or seeking a career change, the thought of having to hit the job trail and compete against people years younger than yourself can be downright scary.



The first Diversity Capability DPRF Assessment done in NSW Government earns SILVER status!







MEDIA RELEASE – The Centre for Gender Economics Pty Ltd April 4. 2016. All rights reserved

The first Diversity Capability DPRF(TM) Assessment done in NSW Government earns SILVER status!

A recent assessment in an NSW Government Department has earned the first DPRFTM (Diversity Program/Performance Review Framework) Award to measure Diversity CapabilityTM against international diversity and inclusion benchmarks. These benchmarks are complemented, in Australia by compliance to WGEA’s (Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s) Gender Indicators, or the UN Women’s Empowerment Principals for global organisations.

The DPRFTM has been used in the Australian Resources industry under AMMA’s AWRA RecognisedTM badge since 2013 to increase the participation and attraction of women to that sector. This is the first time that the assessment has been used outside of that industry.

The DPRFTM Assessment and certification process assesses an organisation’s ‘diversity capability’ against international benchmarks of diversity and inclusion. This assessment uses “Moore’s Model of Organisational Diversity” (2012)i below, which looks at diversity as a business driver of performance so expands traditional human resource management diversity thinking, by including the following five organisational dimensions:

Moores Model

  1. Program Management
  2. Cultural Integration and Acceptance
  3. Innovation through Diversity
  4. Organisational Strategy and Vision
  5. Performance

Organisations are eligible to display the appropriate DPRFTM International Stamp reflecting their achievements in gender diversity and women’s workforce participation. Bearers of this stamp proudly declare the benefits and the competitive advantages of workforce diversity, and their commitment to striving for industry best practice.

To be able to utilise a DPRFTM International Stamp, organisations must undergo an assessment of their workplace policies, procedures and, most importantly practices, to assess the organisation’s capability maturity against best practice management of workplace (gender) diversity. The assessment to become DPRFTM Recognised is based on a rigorous and recognised model of diversity capability, and goes beyond traditional “HR- centric” metrics to assess more broad business dimensions with clear links to organisational profitability and sustainability.

The assessment outcome provides concise feedback on an organisation’s current diversity strategy, and together with the capability maturity model will help to plan the changes necessary to reap the rewards of a gender diverse workforce.

Different organisations are at different stages of their journey toward best practice, and the DPRFTM allows an organisation to recognise how far they have come, rather than how far they have yet to go.

So what does the DPRFTM Award Badge tell us about this organization?


The DPRFTM (Diversity Performance Review Framework), assesses organisations on a maturity scale of Non-Compliance, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum across each of the five dimensions. The award level equates to the organization being Compliant or Non- Compliant to legislation, Aware of the need, Building diversity capability, demonstrating outreach externally and Corporate Social Responsibility and finally, Transformation. The organization’s culture has transformed. Using a proprietary algorithm, a score is calculated for each level and the overall score determines the capability maturity scale or badge level. Each of the scores to the right (see figure) of the badge indicates the maturity score for each dimension. This describes the organisation’s culture. These match the scores in the table to the left.


The organization represented in this DPRFTMAward Badge has started its journey toward greater diversity and recognises the contribution that gender balance can provide to both organisational culture and behaviour as well as performance. This can be seen in the SILVER score in the Cultural Integration and Acceptance dimension. This means, that at the mid score (50 out of a possible 100), the organization understands the benefits that greater diversity can bring to it, but has only just started on this journey. Whilst strategies are planned or discussed, they are in the very early stages of development.

The higher score in the Organisational Leadership dimension tells us that executive management is behind the push for greater gender diversity, but whilst it supports its development, may not have a full understanding on the actual issues and how to address them. The ‘will’ and intent is there and initiatives are being actively supported.

The lower scores in the other three dimensions of Program Management, Innovation and Performance indicate where there are opportunities for improvement and where the organization can reap the benefits of transformational cultural change that supports an environment of diversity at every level.

Organizations higher in the Cultural Integration and Acceptance dimension are more likely to embrace, or are working toward, embracing flexible working, and display a culture of acceptance of difference. The higher the score out of 100 for this dimension, the more the organisation understands the need for organisational agility to compete in a global business environment. Organizations that score high in the Performance and Innovation dimensions but low on Cultural Integration may appeal to those on a fast track career progression. Organisations can choose which dimension best represents their culture and which they might like to improve.

Those higher in the Program Management and Performance dimensions with lower relative scores in Cultural Integration and Acceptance and Organisational Vision and Strategy can be more traditional in thinking, with of appointment on ‘merit’ and strong performance cultures driving bottom line reporting and achievement of KPI’s.

For more information about how your organization can increase performance and innovation through diversity, contact me at susanne.moore@gendereconomics.org

DPRFTM assessments to date have shown that innovation is increased when a culture of acceptance and understanding of the benefits of diversity is present. When steps are actively taken to embrace diversity and build it into all aspects of the organization, including structurally, performance improves and can be measured against the DPRFTM dimensions.


MEDIA RELEASE – The Centre for Gender Economics Pty Ltd April 4. 2016. All rights reserved

The “Diversity Program Review Framework, DPRFTM” (Moore, S 2012) incorporating the “Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks: Standards for Organizations Around the World” (O’Mara, J, Richter, A 2011). The Centre for Gender Economics Pty Ltd, Sydney Australia administers the worldwide license for the use of the DPRFTM.

For more information about the surveys and the DPRFTM go to

http://www.diversityprogramreview.com or http://www.gendereconomics.org

i Moore’s Model of Organisational Diversity developed by Susanne Moore, 2012, all rights reserved, copyright Susanne Moore

Susanne is the Founder and Chair of The Centre for Gender Economics and Innovation and is credited with developing the emerging fields of Gender Economics (macro) and Diversity Economics (organisational). Now a Sociologist after a career in ICT and business, she has a focus on Gender, innovation and performance at an organisational level . She is the creator of the Diversity Program Review Framework or DPRF, currently used in the Australian Resources industry
to ‘recognise’ (AWRA Recognised) organisations as a ‘Women’s Employer of Choice’. Susanne brings a practical business experience coupled with academic rigour to her consulting practice around Gender Economics and Diversity.

WEBSITE AND CONTACT INFORMATION – http://www.centreforgendereconomics.org For Media Enquiries and Further Information contact:
Tony Irvine
Director and CFO, The Centre for Gender Economics Pty Ltd

+61 417 691 758


Susanne Moore
Founder & Chair, Centre for Gender Economics Pty Ltd +61 439 420 897

DOWNLOAD THE MEDIA RELEASE HERE Media Release April 2016 Latest DPRF™ Diversity Capability Assessment in NSW Government Department PD

AWRA Lunchtime Webinar: Farstad Shipping navigates path to diversity using the DPRF

Featuring: Lucy Barker, General Manager HR (Shore-based staff)

Date and time: 12.30pm – 1.30pm | 17 February 2016

In 2013, offshore service provider Farstad Shipping became the first organisation to undertake an assessment of its gender diversity capability through the AWRA Recognised Program,which is based on the DPRF™ receiving a ‘silver stamp’ – the second rating on a four-point scale from bronze to platinum.

With a leadership team committed to implementing AWRA’s practical advice, just 12 months later Farstad was awarded a ‘gold stamp’.

Commenting on the company’s achievement, executive vice president Wayne Aitken noted: “There has been a significant  impact on organisational culture in the past 12 months including greater employee awareness and buy-in”.

This webinar will explore Farstad’s journey toward building its capability to attract and retain a diverse seafaring workforce, including the steps it took to move from an AWRA Recognised sliver to gold rating. Webinar attendees will also hear about Farstad’s Aboriginal Trainee program, which won the 2015 AMMA Indigenous Employment and Retention Award.




Diversity Economics and the DPRF already demonstrating increases in Performance

Innovation_LGlogoDiversity Economics(TM) looks at the value of diversity to an organisations profitability and performance. It is about understanding the benefits of managing complexity, difference and the potential cost of sameness, some might call this innovation. The DPRF(tm) is already demonstrating returns on investment in terms of improved company performance, greater Employee Value, reduction of risk and more effective process – just by using a gender lens! #gendereconomics

Gender Diversity is NOT an HR Issue

Susanne Moore

Yes sorry, HR people!  Its true, Gender Diversity is NOT a Human Resources issue – it is an organisational opportunity!  Yes thats right folks, it is all about the opportunity of opening up your organisation to INNOVATION through DIVERSITY and GENDER BALANCE.  So often we think of diversity as just talking about women, but that is not the case.  Increasingly cultural diversity is the opportunity to reap the benefits of different perspectives, practices and culture.  Overlay this with gender balance and you get even more benefits.  A culture that embraces diversity will naturally be more attractive to women, and will most likely benefit your entire staff, the community and the environment as well.

Sure, it is complex, but thats where the real benefits are – in managing COMPLEXITY.  Imagine managers that are able to proactively manage across all aspects of a diverse environment.  Imagine the opportunities for your business.

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“Locking in Your Leadership: Toolkit for Developing a Diversity and Inclusion Strategy”

The link to this resource has been Reblogged from the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion

Release Date: September 16th, 2014

“Does your organization have a Diversity and Inclusion Strategy? When trying to tackle such a complex challenge as creating a more inclusive organization, it’s absolutely imperative that you have a Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to help everyone in your organization understand what needs to be done.

We are pleased to present the second in our Locking in Your Leadership series of toolkits: the Toolkit for Developing a Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.  Like the first Locking in your Leadership toolkit, which provided a framework for a Diversity and Inclusion Business Case, the contents of this Strategy toolkit are derived from a truly collaborative effort—this time with input from over 180 diversity, inclusion, equity and human rights professionals across Canada.” READ MORE


Original article can be viewed here http://www.cidi-icdi.ca/what-we-do/think-tank/research/diversity-toolkit/

Authored by Cathy Gallagher-Louisy, the purpose of this toolkit is to give you the framework for creating a D&I Strategy document that can be easily customized to suit any type of organization whether large or small, whether public sector, non-profit, or private sector companies.

The Benefits of Diversity to perspective and decision making

A great quote that really explains the benefits of Diversity

Susanne Moore

I think that this quote from a book by Friedman that talks about friendship and moral growth can be easily applied to how greater gender balance and cultural diversity can make a difference to organisational decisions.  If you take out the word, moral, this quote highlights how diversity can give those in our organisations autonomy to make the right choices and decisions, based on a wider range of inputs.

“The greater the diversity of perspectives one can adopt for assessing rules, values, principals and character, the greater the degree of one’s autonomy in making moral choices” (Friedman 1993, pg.; 202)


Friedman, Marilyn (1993), ‘Friendship and Moral Growth’, What Are Friends For?’ in Feminist Perspectives on Personal Relationships and Moral Theory. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, pp. 187-207.

View original post

The Benefits of Diversity to perspective and decision making

I think that this quote from a book by Friedman that talks about friendship and moral growth can be easily applied to how greater gender balance and cultural diversity can make a difference to organisational decisions.  If you take out the word, moral, this quote highlights how diversity can give those in our organisations autonomy to make the right choices and decisions, based on a wider range of inputs.

“The greater the diversity of perspectives one can adopt for assessing rules, values, principals and character, the greater the degree of one’s autonomy in making moral choices” (Friedman 1993, pg.; 202)


Friedman, Marilyn (1993), ‘Friendship and Moral Growth’, What Are Friends For?’ in Feminist Perspectives on Personal Relationships and Moral Theory. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, pp. 187-207.