In Singapore workplaces, 1 in 4 of our resident workers is aged 55 and older, almost 10% more than a decade ago1. The raising of the retirement age to 63 and the re-employment age to 68 next year allows older employees to remain active and productive contributors in our workplaces longer.
This is good news for companies with a For All™ culture in which all employees, regardless of age, have equal opportunities to be developed, to contribute and be engaged; where age diversity is viewed as a strength and older employees’ experience and insights are regarded as a competitive advantage to be leveraged.
For companies who are keen to realize the potential of their older employees, here are 3 actions you can take:
1. Create a For All™ workplace
For All™ is Great Place to Work’s definition of a workplace culture that has evolved beyond “Diversity & Inclusion”. The goal of the For All™ approach is to create a consistently high-trust workplace experience for everyone, no matter who they are or what they do for the organization.
For All™ is the accumulation of day-to-day experiences that help people feel they belong, that their unique talents matter and that their individual needs are cared for by their colleagues and leaders. When companies experience the very human acts of acknowledgment, inclusion, dignity and compassion, that is when they can achieve For All™.
2. Tackle ageism
“Ok Boomer” is not ok. It can be viewed as cutting and dismissive, reinforces stereotypes and creates a divisive “us” vs “them” mentality, which is detrimental to a For All™ workplace.
Senior leaders and people managers need to consistently role model fair and inclusive behaviors such as fair decision making, respectful language and interactions, as well as call out undesirable actions and behaviors which contribute to ageism. Equipping all employees (not just leaders and managers) with training on unconscious bias and how this can manifest at the workplace, will increase awareness and facilitate more open conversations around this topic.
3. Develop a growth mindset and provide opportunities for learning
Instill a growth mindset in older employees by embracing mistakes and replacing “failing” with “learning.” Show that you value process over result and emphasize growth. Create an inclusive learning environment that enables older employees to acquire new knowledge and hone their skills. This can include inter-department shadowing or facilitating inter-departmental work groups for older employees to develop new skills and experience outside their current job function.
This will benefit not only your older employees, but the younger ones as well, and contributes to an overall sense of psychological safety and continuous learning.
As we commemorate the International Day of Older Persons and celebrate our older employees, let’s not confine our actions to just 1st October each year. We can make a positive difference to their workplace experience (and that of other generations as well).
Find out how you can create a For All™ workplace at greatplacetowork.com.sg.
1Growing Alongside Our Ageing Workforce, Manpower Research & Statistics Department,
Ministry of Manpower. Updated on 17 August 2021.
Pamela is our Senior Consultant and Research Lead for Great Place to Work® ASEAN and ANZ. She has over two decades of consulting and policy experience helping organizations in their journey to become fair and progressive employers. She believes that every organization has the potential to be a great workplace, and works with data to distil insights and develop resources to help them. When she’s not burrowing down the rabbit hole of numbers and words, she’s probably immersed in a new K-drama or catching up with friends over a virtual drinks session.