Enabling a Mature Workforce

It does not take an avid reader to notice the raising of Singapore's re-employment age to 67 when parliament first passed the bill in 2016. The act was covered by a plethora of news fronts, and widely lauded as a step towards making the best out of an aging population. As the bill will be effected Jul 1, 2017, it is providential for us to discover how we may best enable such a mature workforce.

The most apparent answer is to address the looming issue surrounding mature workers- that of irrelevance and resistance to change. It will be in the employer's interest to provide ample retraining opportunities for these workers to update their skills and knowledge. This levels the playing field with younger workers, and offers an edge up in competitiveness, for mature candidates has greater experience and expertise.

Despite so, some mature workers may be resistant to change. Having done a job a particular way for decades, it might be too demanding for them to adopt newer and more sophisticated alternatives. This highlights a need to simplify processes for our more senior workers. The management may implement tactics to help make the workplace friendly for them, such as using visuals and graphics in training guides, or even in daily work itself. A prime example will be Mcdonald's, which, in an ambitious bid, streamlined their procedures and their computer systems. Today, Mcdonald's is reaping the benefits, enjoying the position of one of our nation's most prominent employer of mature workers.

To better accommodate mature workers, one must also take into account different needs that they may have. Often, these elderly workers worry about their eventual retirement; some have barely any savings with which to subsist on when retired. Health may be another concern, despite the government's most valiant efforts to provide care for all. Bearing these in mind, the most successful employer would be one that has these requirements at heart. A retirement plan would be attractive, and coupled with medical insurance and even investment plans, we can allow our mature staff to work with a peace of mind.

It is also important for us to tamper our expectations of mature workers if we are to properly integrate them. Due to age, the elderly often encounter deteriorating motor functions, and also hearing and sight; it is important that we realize that we should not employ the same standards of efficiency we would have demanded from their younger peers. Developing a fair appraisal system willprovide an opportunity for mature workers to identify their strengths and weaknesses and encourages improvement on job processes. We may also further unlock the potential of these workers in another way - that of a mentor, rather than a worker. With greater experience in service and culture, and knowledge in products, mature can and should be assigned to mentor newer colleagues to impart their expertise.

Lastly, most importantly, we ought to treat members of the mature workforce with respect. Often, these candidates are the most loyal and dedicated group of professionals. Age should not and never be a paramount factor to take into consideration when it comes to respect. Respect is mutual and is earned through being humble and having that desire to learn. A respectful workplace is no doubt the workplace of tomorrow.