By 2020, millennials will make up more than one third of the global workforce and the labor market will soon welcome an emerging group of young talent called Generation Z (born from 1996 onwards). In addition, Singapore has the highest life expectancy in the world at 82.7 years. By 2030, one in five people in the city-state will be over 60. Hence, the effective leveraging and management of the ageing workforce will be crucial for both the future of the organisation and the country. In a small business environment, how do we create a cohesive multigenerational team?
Talent is universal
When we ask small and medium-enterprise (SME) business owners to describe their best performers, they often use words such as hardworking, reliable, tenacious, positive, caring, good problem solver and team player. Hardly anyone would mention age, race, ethnicity, years of education or experience. By focusing on innate talents instead of age, appreciation for each team member would be focused on their ability to contribute rather than seniority. In the long run, a talent-focused and inclusive approach will strengthen your talent bench, reducing hiring and turnover costs.
The primary concern when hiring older workers is their ability to meet the physical and mental demands of a job. Thus, proactive engagement and health management is key to ensuring that an ageing workforce remains future-ready. ProAge, a social enterprise that focuses on helping individuals to live and age well, has piloted transition care teams for seniors new to a job. Each senior is assisted to better meet the demands of a new role that they are assigned to.
Seeking purpose comes intuitively for millennials and Generation Z, who wish to understand the cause and meaning behind the work they do. However, it is equally important to examine the motivation more tenured workers have regarding work. Often, that motivation may have changed due to physical ability, family situation and desires for regular working hours. Mature workers and Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians in Singapore — a majority of whom have a degree and are over 40 — are having a hard time finding a job. Hence, having programmes for PMETs to re-examine their motivation could help in providing clarity. Based on their renewed talent, values and purpose, they might select a different career path.
Upskill to assimilate
PMETs have obtained wisdom and valuable insight on best business practices. They can share their experience and know-how with the younger generation. Through upskilling programmes such as SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace, mature workers or PMETs can collaborate with millennials and Generation Z to implement business practices that result in greater efficiency.
By understanding an individual’s innate ability on a deeper level, re-examining their values and purpose and re-designing their health regimen to meet new work demands, companies could help mature workers or PMETs be ready for re-employment or embark on new career paths.
–Deon Senturk is the CEO of CLIMB and Director at Talent Plus Asia-Pacific.
Isaiah Chng is the founder and director at ProAge.