Search

COMMENTARY
HR & EDUCATION | Contributed Content, Singapore
Published: 21 Feb 14
1630 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
Singapore singled out in Asia for weak M&A appetite

111 views

Is the KL-Singapore High-Speed Rail project still on the right track?

236 views

The changing taste of Asian art collectors bodes well for the Western art market

19 views

MOST READ EXCLUSIVES

The 10 richest Singaporeans

The 10 richest Singaporeans

Altogether, their total amount of wealth dropped by 20% to US$32.5 billion.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
13 Apr 2015 | 125077 views
 

Here are the credit card deals you shouldn't miss during the Great Singapore Sale 2015

Here are the credit card deals you shouldn\'t miss during the Great Singapore Sale 2015

The GSS begins today.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
29 May 2015 | 26154 views

Check out P&G Singapore’s new office with outdoor working spaces

Check out P&G Singapore’s new office with outdoor working spaces

It occupies 6 contiguous floors within The Metropolis.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
30 Apr 2015 | 23701 views
 

This retired banker's fintech startup makes complicated wealth management a piece of cake

This retired banker\'s fintech startup makes complicated wealth management a piece of cake

Mesitis provides low-cost aggregated wealth reporting for all investors.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
25 May 2015 | 8024 views

All the single ladies: Here’s Singapore’s first female-centric dating app for you

All the single ladies: Here’s Singapore’s first female-centric dating app for you

Its female-friendly features help women find serious daters.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
20 Apr 2015 | 6894 views
 

Get to know the husband-and-wife duo behind the novice 3E Accounting

Get to know the husband-and-wife duo behind the novice 3E Accounting

This local accounting firm expanded from 2 to 35 members in just 4 years.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
24 Apr 2015 | 6196 views

Take a sneak peek at Equinix’s $300m international business exchange data centre in Singapore

Take a sneak peek at Equinix’s $300m international business exchange data centre in Singapore

Which took almost a decade to finish.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
27 Apr 2015 | 4729 views
 

Check out this quaint co-working space that occupies 5 conservation shophouses

Check out this quaint co-working space that occupies 5 conservation shophouses

It has private offices, an events space, and even a beer garden.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
22 May 2015 | 4211 views

Get bitten by the travel bug in Skyscanner’s quirky Asia-Pacific headquarters

Get bitten by the travel bug in Skyscanner’s quirky Asia-Pacific headquarters

Meeting rooms are named after Asian tourist spots.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
5 Jun 2015 | 2090 views
 

Hootsuite boosts its APAC team opening a new office in Singapore

Hootsuite boosts its APAC team opening a new office in Singapore

Its VP talks about the importance of the company’s culture in line with opening the new space.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
18 Jun 2015 | 1963 views

Bye bye blurry video calls: Here’s a WebRTC startup that offers close to HD video quality using any device

Bye bye blurry video calls: Here’s a WebRTC startup that offers close to HD video quality using any device

Find out how they are building the next generation of web communications.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
2 Jun 2015 | 1869 views
 

Le Petit Paradis recently rebranded as Enoch’s European

Le Petit Paradis recently rebranded as Enoch’s European

It’s a full-fledged contemporary European restaurant blossomed from a motorcycle accident.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
22 Apr 2015 | 1837 views

HAITE Group launches its first aviation training center in Singapore

HAITE Group launches its first aviation training center in Singapore

It is the first major investment by a Chinese aerospace firm.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
13 May 2015 | 1604 views
 

This bold ad film tells you what happens when maids are not given their due day off

This bold ad film tells you what happens when maids are not given their due day off

‘Mums & Maids’ generated 5 million views in 5 days.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
7 May 2015 | 1252 views

El Mero Mero founder says Mexican food is not just about tacos and burritos

El Mero Mero founder says Mexican food is not just about tacos and burritos

See how a former legal professional pursued his passion for food.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
26 May 2015 | 1237 views
 

Fragrance Du Bois to launch a new scent this year

Fragrance Du Bois to launch a new scent this year

Also, check out its pop-up boutique at TANGS Orchard open until April 26.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
17 Apr 2015 | 1133 views

Singapore retailers turn to technology to boost productivity

Singapore retailers turn to technology to boost productivity

Shopping for the first child is always challenging for the parents.

by STAFF REPORTER
15 May 2015 | 1096 views
 

This app is out to prove that Singapore is anything but boring

This app is out to prove that Singapore is anything but boring

And Sugar helps SMEs in the process too.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
2 Jun 2015 | 1088 views

This handy app lets you book nearly any service under the sun

This handy app lets you book nearly any service under the sun

Find technicians, babysitters and more with Page Advisor.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
8 Jun 2015 | 991 views
 

Get your head in the game: Testing challenges await the Internet of Things

Get your head in the game: Testing challenges await the Internet of Things

Industry experts share their concerns over security and testing standards.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
4 Jun 2015 | 891 views

Megafash sets the stage for local entrepreneurs to introduce indie brands

Megafash sets the stage for local entrepreneurs to introduce indie brands

It plans to expand in Malaysia and Indonesia.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
20 Apr 2015 | 855 views
 

Hey, boss: This startup wants to be your all-around sidekick

Hey, boss: This startup wants to be your all-around sidekick

Alpha7 wants SMEs to join the Cloud.

by STAFF REPORTER
16 Jun 2015 | 831 views

Former strategy advisor reveals aspirations with his newest mobile app startup

Former strategy advisor reveals aspirations with his newest mobile app startup

Rediscover and fall in love with your city all over again.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
22 May 2015 | 802 views
 

Need some help? This app lets you book a cleaner in five minutes flat

Need some help? This app lets you book a cleaner in five minutes flat

Sendhelper is the new breed of booking apps.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
26 May 2015 | 758 views

Leave your valuables unattended: This on-demand cleaning service offers $1m liability insurance

Leave your valuables unattended: This on-demand cleaning service offers $1m liability insurance

Book a reliable cleaner in seconds with Helpling.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
22 Jun 2015 | 515 views
 
close Don't Show Again

STAY INFORMED! Get our free weekly newsletter