Learning & Development Asia 2024
SNEF and MOM launch a guidebook for Singapore employers to engage older workers on career and skills development

SNEF and MOM launch a guidebook for Singapore employers to engage older workers on career and skills development

Called structured career planning (SCP), the guidebook intends to enhance the employee’s productivity in the long term to optimise their value-add to the business.

Employers in Singapore can rely on Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) and Ministry of Manpower (MOM)'s newly-released structured career planning (SCP) guidebook, to implement a formal structured career planning process to proactively engage older employees in their organisations on career and skills development.

At the same time, employers can use it to look at current and future capability requirements, while supporting the employee’s work, wealth, and wellbeing goals.

For context, the guidebook was launched during a hybrid event on 13 July 2022 (Wednesday), graced by Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Manpower, Heng Chee How, Deputy Secretary-General, National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), and John Ng, Vice President, SNEF. At the event, it was mentioned that the intended outcome of SCP is to "enhance the employee’s productivity in the long term to optimise their value-add to the business".

What is SCP about?

In essence, SCP is packed with — full and lite — implementation frameworks and toolkits (who, what, when, where, how) that employers can utilise based on manpower and resources available. Beyond that, the guidebook also includes individual career assessment exercises, sample HR policies, and case studies available for reference.

Looking at the full implementation framework, employers can expect to receive seven recommendations as follows:

  1. Garner management buy-in and support;
  2. Implement the relevant HR policies for retirement and re-employment;
  3. Implement the relevant HR policies for staff development;
  4. Train HR and Line Managers for the SCP programme;
  5. Communicate the intent of SCP company-wide;
  6. Conduct the SCP programme, and
  7. Regularly evaluate and improve on the SCP programme.

It is noteworthy that in point #2, employers are encouraged by SNEF to engage employees and unions (if applicable) on re-employment as early as possible, at least six months prior to re-employment or extension of re-employment. On that note, the aforementioned seven recommendations should then be evaluated against four key milestones (shown below).

lester scp body 1 provided 1600x900

With regard to the lite version, it encompasses four recommendations which are points #1, #4, #6, and #7 from the full version (mentioned above). The lite version also has similar milestones (shown below) – with the only difference being in the first domain (implementation period), '55 years old until retirement age'.

lester scp body 2 provided 1600x900

Why is SCP needed?

In SNEF's statement, it shared that the Tripartite Workgroup on Older Workers discovered that older workers are more likely to look to their employers to signal what training to undertake.

Many believed that employers are in "a better position" to determine their skills demand; as such, they should guide older workers on what training they need for career development and re-employment. However, some employers may not have a systematic approach or do not know how to initiate to have meaningful career conversations with their older workers.

DSG Heng, on that note, shared: "It is not uncommon to hear employers fret about difficulty in getting the right manpower. We also often hear older workers worry whether they can continue working as their companies undergo big and quick changes in business models and technology. If we cannot address these well, both companies and older workers will lose out. On the other hand, if we successfully bring the needs together and proactively structure skills upgrades, job redesign, career progression, and worker adaptation to prepare workers for new requirements even as they age, then we minimise displacement and maximise the potential of our Singaporean workforce."

He believes that SCP is "a worthy effort in this direction".

VP Ng also shared his sentiments on SCP. He explained that by starting to plan the next phase of the career of older employees early, it would bring about several benefits for employers, especially when jobs and skill requirements are constantly changing due to digitalisation and business transformation.

He noted, for one, older employees would be better prepared to take on new or adjusted roles if they wish to be re-employed. For another, with an ageing workforce, VP Ng reckoned employers would be able to continue to rely on their older employees to meet their manpower demand to support business growth. And on top of that, employers could cultivate a culture of lifelong learning at the workplace by engaging employees regularly in career and skill development.

"I strongly encourage employers to implement structured career planning to help their older employees achieve productive longevity so that longevity of their workforce is productive for them too," VP Ng added.

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Images / SNEF

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