Search

COMMENTARY
HR & EDUCATION | Contributed Content, Singapore
Published: 21 Feb 14
1545 views


Ronnie Tan

Why flexibility is key in Singapore's workforce management in 2014

BY RONNIE TAN

The rapid pace of change in the business world is forcing organizations to learn swiftly how to optimise organizational effectiveness in a volatile economy.

In 2013, we focused on how employer branding is a critical part of talent management that addresses the war for talent, even as we look for high levels of employee engagement as well as increases in productivity and retention.

As we look to the future much of it will remain same but businesses need to be more agile as they continue to learn to operate flexibly in order to stay on top.

Singapore’s tight labour market will continue to challenge employers in Singapore. We do expect pressure on businesses to continue when it comes to workforce planning with Singapore’s ageing population, the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) that is expected to come into effect in August, and also the country’s need to remain resilient and competitive despite these tight labour market conditions.

There are no magic pills but what businesses can do is focus on these three key areas that they have control over as they plan for 2014.

1. Build a more cohesive team even as we look at a multi-generational business environment
As our life expectancy rises and birth rates decline, the median age of our citizen population will increase from 40 in 2012 to 45 by 20251. The Population White Paper has suggested it, the government has reminded us, reports have proven it, and it is time for businesses to accept the fact that our population is ageing.

In an era where four different generations co-exist in today’s workforce, businesses need greater cohesion within business teams and this can be done by at least starting to educate the workforce with incremental steps such as reorganizing their training programmes to attain an inclusive and harmonious workforce.

Contrary to the belief that senior workers are less capable physically, more expensive as they may be more prone to taking sick leave and resistant to change, employers should play their part in revisiting how they engage the workforce to keep them sharp and alert.

For instance, wellness programs may be considered for both young and old employees as part of their package as we look at workforce policies in the new year.

According to HSBC’s Future of Retirement Survey2, over 90% of Singaporean employers surveyed said their older workers were as loyal and reliable as younger ones, and three-quarters saw them at least as productive, saying they tried to encourage them to remain in the workplace.

For businesses to stay on top of their game, they need to promote inter-dependence for greater collaboration among the different generations within an organization that are bi-directional.

This can be done by investing in reverse mentoring where the mature workers can share their invaluable skills and knowledge while the Gen X and Gen Y can impart their technological and social media and digital skills.

2. Increase business effectiveness by redesigning jobs
To sustain a core Singaporean population, the government has been enhancing the marriage and parenthood package for Singaporeans such as making it faster and easier to get housing to support earlier marriages and births, enhancing work-life measures to help working couples balance work and family commitments, and encouraging fathers to play a bigger role in bringing up their children.

The government has also been improving the immigration policy, such as the most recent Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) by the Ministry of Manpower. Despite the mixed reactions to the initiatives, the Singapore government has done well in creating awareness of the issue among Singaporeans and putting in place policies in hope of improving the situation.

However, policies can only provide an environment to succeed, but for it to blossom, businesses need to reimagine workforce strategies and understand ways to maximise their contributions and potential even as they mature.

One way to do so is to look internally and redesign work to increase productivity in the workforce such as should mature employees work 5 hours a day, 6 days a week instead of 8 hours for 5 days?

The key to successfully restructuring jobs is to understand the importance of flexibility and realize that employers are in control of their businesses in this age of rapid change and uncertainty.

3. The business wants more not less from human resources
Despite the proven benefits of HR transformations, business and HR leaders continue to voice frustrations with HR’s ability to deliver business value. In this age of economic uncertainty it is important businesses stay agile and change-ready.

Resistance to change will always be present, however, a carefully choreographed dance between the C-suite and HR can lead to talent excellence and business success.

It has been reported that businesses with HR integrated into the business have nearly 40% lower turnover, 38% higher employee engagement and more than twice the revenue per employee compared with compliance-driven HR organizations3.

HR Professionals are most valuable when they can forge strong partnerships with the top management in order to positively move forward in a strategic direction.

With more involvement, human resources will be able to deliver business value through building global HR networks in order to expand and prosper in the international arena, developing human resources that continually build competitive advantage in an ever-changing environment, and adding value to their distinctive competencies.

It’s no longer a cliché to say that a business’s most important asset is its workforce. Unstable and fluctuating economic and demographic trends require businesses to continue to adopt a scalable and integrated approach to workforce management and if there is one overarching recommendation we have for businesses it is for them to be flexible when it comes to managing talent or risk being left behind.

1Ministry of Manpower. Keynote Address by Dr Amy Khor, Minister of State for Manpower, at the Age Management Seminar “Creating Age-Friendly Workplaces”. 26 June 2013. Web.
2HSBC. The Future of Retirement. 2006. Web.
3Harris, Stacey and O’Leonard, Karen. The HR Factbook 2011: Executive Summary. 2011.

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.

Ronnie Tan

Ronnie Tan

Ronnie Tan is Group EVP, Asia Pacific & Head, Global Talent Management at Right Management. He has over 25 years of working experience covering sales and marketing, hi-tech manufacturing, human resources and operation management. Ronnie holds a Masters of Business in Administration (MBA) from University of Chicago GSB and a Bachelor of Business in Business Administration (BBBA) from RMIT University in addition to a professional diploma in Management Studies (major in HRM).

Contact Information



Sign up for our newsletter

 

Do you know more about this story? Contact us anonymously through this link.

Click here to learn about advertising, content sponsorship, events & rountables, custom media solutions, whitepaper writing, sales leads or eDM opportunities with us.

To get a media kit and information on advertising or sponsoring click here.

LATEST HR & EDUCATION JOBS »
  • No jobs posted on this category.
PRINT ISSUE »

Subscribe Now
What factors are keeping expats rooted in Singapore?

927 views

What factors are keeping expats rooted in Singapore?

564 views

Can Asian private equity outgrow the west?

232 views

MOST READ EXCLUSIVES

16 items that are a tad cheaper in Singapore than in Hong Kong

16 items that are a tad cheaper in Singapore than in Hong Kong

Coffee lovers need not go farther for a cheaper cup of cappuccino.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
20 Mar 2015 | 97983 views
 

Singapore’s 8 hottest 40 and under hotel chefs

Singapore’s 8 hottest 40 and under hotel chefs

Check out and be inspired from their humble beginnings before rising the ranks.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
27 Mar 2015 | 12879 views

Chow Tai Fook opens second store in Singapore

Chow Tai Fook opens second store in Singapore

It's a 1,000-square feet new jewellery shop on Orchard Road.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
26 Feb 2015 | 12019 views
 

This is a woman’s world: CRIB launches Singapore’s first business and lifestyle incubator for women

This is a woman’s world: CRIB launches Singapore’s first business and lifestyle incubator for women

Find out what the three key platforms of CRIB are.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
10 Mar 2015 | 7998 views

The New Black hits Singapore with rarest green coffee

The New Black hits Singapore with rarest green coffee

It also boasts of its Impossible Collection curated by the ‘world’s rockstar roasters'.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
5 Mar 2015 | 4618 views
 

Check out this integrated office cum lab of Friesland Campina in Singapore

Check out this integrated office cum lab of Friesland Campina in Singapore

A curved glass wall resulted in a 90% open-plan office.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
17 Feb 2015 | 4255 views

Too many business cards? Why don’t you try Sansan’s business card management service?

Too many business cards? Why don’t you try Sansan’s business card management service?

After Singapore, this contract management company plans to expand in the APAC region.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
12 Feb 2015 | 4244 views
 

Spencer Ogden gets funky with its newest trademark space in Singapore

Spencer Ogden gets funky with its newest trademark space in Singapore

The company invested over $1M to make this signature office possible.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
5 Feb 2015 | 3384 views

Want to be hands-on with your ideal home setting?

Want to be hands-on with your ideal home setting?

Commune is opening an Experience Centre for meticulous homeowners.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
23 Mar 2015 | 2752 views
 

Office in the sky: How’s having a meeting in the clouds?

Office in the sky: How’s having a meeting in the clouds?

Check out ACL Asia Pacific’s Cumulonimbus, Altostratus and Cirrus rooms.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
1 Apr 2015 | 2535 views

LawCanvas saves the day: Easy legal documents in under a minute

LawCanvas saves the day: Easy legal documents in under a minute

The founders revolutionized the legal industry despite having different backgrounds.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
2 Mar 2015 | 2217 views
 

Take a look inside INSEAD’s $55m leadership development centre in Singapore

Take a look inside INSEAD’s $55m leadership development centre in Singapore

It marks the fulfillment of a vision too ambitious to achieve 15 years ago.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
1 Apr 2015 | 2015 views

Lazada Singapore CEO Martell Hardenberg talks about his “Happy Customer” philosophy

Lazada Singapore CEO Martell Hardenberg talks about his “Happy Customer” philosophy

Find out what other goals the 27-year-old has for the company.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
27 Mar 2015 | 1982 views
 

MetLife builds its first global R&D hub

MetLife builds its first global R&D hub

It bills itself as a first-of-its-kind innovation centre for the insurance industry.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
26 Jan 2015 | 1821 views

PocketMath makes buying mobile ad impressions easier

PocketMath makes buying mobile ad impressions easier

It integrates over 20 ad exchanges and offers over 20B impressions a day.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
9 Feb 2015 | 1708 views
 

The heat is on: This office literally gets a bit hot for their green drive

The heat is on: This office literally gets a bit hot for their green drive

Discover how they execute their green initiatives in the office.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
22 Jan 2015 | 1602 views

#OnTheContrary campaign reveals the ‘real struggles’ of entrepreneurs

#OnTheContrary campaign reveals the ‘real struggles’ of entrepreneurs

Rags to riches stories are fabulous, but here’s the real deal.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
27 Mar 2015 | 841 views
 

Find out what it’s like going into business with your in-law

Find out what it’s like going into business with your in-law

A young entrepreneur teamed up with his father-in-law to redefine home entertainment needs.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
27 Mar 2015 | 676 views

What is the future of the sports business in Singapore?

What is the future of the sports business in Singapore?

Can a new billion-dollar stadium give Singapore the edge it needs to compete for world-class sporting events?

by STAFF REPORTER
20 Mar 2015 | 634 views
 
close Don't Show Again

STAY INFORMED! Get our free weekly newsletter