Mature employees can play a crucial role in developing talent through mentoring and can be brilliant role models in exemplifying a strong work ethic, as HR leader Leslie Linus and Tripartite Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) highlight.
This article is the last of a two-part series to share strategies for fostering an age-inclusive workplace.
Three in four mature employees have no intention to retire before they turn 65. With Singapore’s workforce ageing at a rapid pace, harnessing the full potential of the talent pool irrespective of age is crucial. This is especially so in the current employment landscape where Singapore’s talent shortage level reached a 16-year-high in 2022 with 84% of organisations reporting difficulties in filling roles.
In this article, we share with you insights from Leslie Lenus, Area Director of Talent & Culture, Novotel Singapore on Stevens | Mercure Singapore on Stevens on strategies for maximising the potential of mature employees and spotlighting some exemplary mature employees that have created immense value for the organisation.
Reaping the benefits of fostering an age-inclusive workplace
1. Embrace – build an age-inclusive organisational culture that recognises the value mature employees can provide towards the attainment of the organisation’s goals.
- Such an environment can encourage knowledge transfer between younger and mature employees as both groups seek to learn from one another. This can help prevent organisational knowledge loss, and with each generation bringing unique skill sets and experiences, having synergy in an age-diverse workforce is a huge boon.
2. Flexibility – provide flexible work arrangements (e.g. part-time work, morning shifts).
- Providing flexible work arrangements can help attract, motivate, and retain mature employees, which can improve staff morale and productivity as these fit older workers’ schedules. These provisions also help the organisation better mitigate the potential loss of skills linked to the retirement of such experienced employees.
3. Plan – redesign aspects of the job to accommodate the needs of mature employees.
- Examples include making their workstation more accessible for less mobile employees, leveraging technology to reduce physically taxing work, and providing training for employees to use new digital systems effectively.
With these strategies in place, mature employees have become exemplary role models in the organisation. Some notable examples include technician Goh Jeow Hong, 85, who recently retired. Uncle Goh consistently practised using English at work – despite the language not being his strong suit – and eventually could fluently conduct a work presentation in English. His vast years of experience and studious attitude to improve his work performance made him a great role model to his younger colleagues, and he was recognised and awarded the Inspirational Worker award through the NTUC May Day Partnership Awards in 2016.
Another inspirational figure is housekeeping attendant Lee Ee Lang, 74, who was an award recipient at the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union / National Trades Union Congress, and the Singapore Hotel Association Employee of the Year Award Ceremony 2022. Uncle Lee is a helpful and hardworking employee who conducts on-the-job training for new hires and looks out for their welfare.
Beyond his work responsibilities, he actively volunteers to mentor colleagues who are persons with disabilities (PwDs) and guides them in their work. When asked about the maxim he lives by, Uncle Lee shared:
"Maintain a positive mindset and be willing to share and teach. Be a lifelong learner, and do not be afraid to learn from your juniors."
In summary, mature employees can bring considerable value to organisations, offering important qualities such as their sheer knowledge and skillsets built up from their wealth of professional experience. They can also play a crucial role in developing talent through mentoring and can be brilliant role models in exemplifying a strong work ethic. These benefits can be harnessed by organisations that provide a conducive work environment for mature employees to excel and be effective in their organisations.
Thoughtful job redesign can provide what mature employees need to succeed in their roles and contribute value back to their organisation. Start your job redesign journey by tapping on government grants such as the Support for Job Redesign under Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG-JR) to mitigate potential costs.
TAFEP provides information and resources to help employers and HR professionals keep abreast of HR best practices. Visit tafep.sg to find out more.