Known for its quality healthcare and living conditions, Singapore boasts an average life expectancy of 83.6 years. While this is undoubtedly something to be proud of, this translates to the growing number of older people in the population and with it, the proportion of older to younger workers is projected to increase. Singapore’s employment rate for residents aged 55 to 64 increased from 57% in 2008 to 67% in 2018.

To respond to this growing trend, companies should position themselves to tap on the ageing workforce as silver talents. By doing so, they can tap into the golden opportunity of embracing workers who have decades of training and experience to contribute to the organisation. To kickstart your journey in creating an inclusive workplace, here are a few business strategies you may want to consider incorporating into your framework.

1. Redesigning Jobs and Open Up the Scope of Duties

Sometimes, a change in job duties is needed to match the skill sets and abilities of mature workers. It is important to note that no job is a one-size-fits-all, and making tweaks to the job responsibilities allow workers to further leverage their skills and improve their overall performance. In the case of mature workers, companies can consider offering them additional training and mentoring roles, redesigning their job scopes, or including them in cross-training programmes.

Job redesign, in particular, requires the restructuring of job-related content and dimensions to increase the variety of assignments and functions to ensure that the right person is placed in the right job position. Not only does this translate to optimal output for the business, but it also motivates the employees by enhancing their self-worth and job fulfilment.

Cross-training, on the other hand, allows mature workers to upgrade their skills, equip themselves with new ones, and offers them an opportunity to dip their toes in other areas by doing each other’s jobs. This can be especially useful for those who may require a more flexible working schedule. By ensuring that employees are cross-trained, businesses can have more leeway in implementing flexible work arrangements while being assured of business continuity.

By mapping out the needs of a company against the skills and needs of their mature employees, companies then can identify roles for which an employee’s skills may be a better fit in line with the organisational growth strategy. Afterwhich, they can provide retraining to ensure the employee’s success in their new roles.

2. Offer Opportunities for Reskilling

To better prepare them for their new or redesigned job roles, companies should support them with reskilling opportunities. Doing so will equip them with the necessary tools they need to either continue performing in their current roles or fit into new ones. By doing so, companies are effectively opening doors for continued career development for older employees.

To support companies in the facilitation of such reskilling programmes, the Singapore government has set in place several schemes, some of which are:

3. Initiate Reverse Mentorship Programmes

Mature workers bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience that they can pass on to their younger co-workers. 

While many companies have mentoring programmes in place for new hires and younger workers, reverse mentoring offers an opportunity for younger workers to act as mentors to mature or more senior workers. This arrangement supports a cross pollination of ideas and allows both the mentor and mentee to contribute effectively to each other’s growth and development. 

Cross-generational interaction and collaboration lays the foundation for a more open, connected, and engaging workplace – attributes that contribute to the cultivation of an inclusive work environment.

Marching Towards a Future With Your Mature Workers

While it may take creative thinking, analysing, altering, and reshuffling, creating a work environment that includes and welcomes mature employees can be very rewarding for companies. 

The SBF Sustainable Employment (SE) initiative calls on the Singapore business community to take purposeful action to improve their SE practices in anticipation of emergent trends and future developments. The initiative was launched with a report that highlights key recommendations and potential opportunities for businesses to take on, in order to achieve long term business success and foster a vibrant economy and inclusive society.

Make the pledge to join others in this journey.