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Generations at the workplace

Age-inclusive norms: Your guide to creating an inclusive workplace

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Experts from Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) share tips for organisations to unlock the value of a multi-generational workforce.

Driven by demographic shifts and technological advances, Singaporean organisations are grappling with the challenges posed by a shrinking and diverse workforce. With an ageing workforce on one hand and a younger generation of workers joining their ranks on the other, it is therefore important for organisations to put in place policies and practices to manage a multi-generational workforce.

Organisations should develop human capital management strategies to unlock the value and potential of each generation’s expertise. In order to match the attributes of the different age profiles and optimise their capabilities, the organisational policies and the physical work environment should be designed with an age diverse workforce in mind.

A 2016 study¹ identified 10 age-inclusive norms that are recommended for organisations.

Hire on the basis of merit

Employers should have a fair mindset and put in place fair employment and re-employment practices or policies that remove age from the hiring process. By recruiting employees based on their abilities and experience and re-employing mature workers in suitable job roles, employers can leverage inter-generational strengths to drive businesses.

Manage and enhance the employability of older workers

To manage the workforce effectively, employers should look at how they can be conscious about improving job processes and workplace ergonomics through job redesign; appraise older workers fairly for their contribution using unbiased performance management; facilitating knowledge transfer for the retention of institutional knowledge within the company; and training to enhance their capabilities.

Provide greater workplace flexibility to engage employees

Organisations should introduce a variety of workplace initiatives to engage and accommodate employees of different age groups. For instance, flexible work arrangements and health programmes can help support employees with their personal and health needs while retirement planning programmes can help mature employees ease into retirement comfortably. Likewise, employee networks can also be set up to facilitate inter-generational relationships and networks.

Age is a continuum. The younger workers of today will become the mature employees of tomorrow. With age-inclusive norms in place, organisations can create an inclusive workplace that proactively meets the career aspirations and needs of employees across their various life stages. These employees will then become vital pillars for business growth and sustainability.


¹ This study was conducted in 2016 as a collaboration between TAFEP and the Centre for Applied Psychology at Temasek Polytechnic.

TAFEP holds regular workshops to help employers and HR professionals keep abreast of HR best practices. Visit www.tafep.sg to find out more.

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