Share these three skills with your parents so they are ready to take on a new job in a professional, management, executive or technician (PMET) role.
Working with Younger Colleagues
In today’s workplaces, you often have to work with people of different age groups, with different world views, attitudes, personal goals and values. According to a 2010 study conducted by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices in Singapore, workers from Generation Y (those born after 1980) say that those from Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980):
- have a preformed mindset and want things done their way
- assume that they know better and are smarter
The study also showed that Generation Y employees look for motivation, collaboration and coaching from their supervisors. With this in mind, you can help your parents better understand current work expectations based on your own personal work experience of how younger employees function in the workplace, such as the inclusion of weekly brainstorming sessions and having a department group WhatsApp to better engage with your team.
Digital and Tech-savviness
The notion that older workers struggle with technology is a misguided one. According to a 2016 survey by the cloud-storage services provider Dropbox, 76 percent of workers over the age of 55 did not find using technology at work stressful, a greater proportion than that of their younger colleagues.
This is good news for your parents who will be rejoining the workforce at a time when nearly every PMET job demands some level of comfort in working with technology — from working with robots in the manufacturing industry to understanding data and analytics in sales jobs to even the use of basic office communication tools in administrative and secretarial jobs.
While they might be comfortable working with tech, there is a chance that they might not be familiar with the latest trends in the first place. Help your parents familiarise themselves with some of the these — such as the use of cloud-based collaboration tools like Office 365, communication apps like WebEx and Skype, and others that automate work. Join them for online courses or take part in government-aided upskilling initiatives like Workforce Singapore’s (WSG) Professional Conversion Programmes, which include training in new technologies, such as data analysis and mobile application development.
An Innovation-friendly Mindset
Innovative business models like the “lean start-up” have been gaining popularity in the last five to 10 years.
Explain to your parents the underlying principles of these models, such as how the lean start-up model values experimentation.
Uber, for instance, started out with a simple mobile interface , used only by the founders and their friends, and slowly started including more features based on the feedback received from their growing list of users.
Another example worth sharing is that of Airbnb, which started out with the founders setting up mattresses in their living rooms and advertising the house for the weekend through a simple website. Following constant feedback from their users, they reinforced the core experience of their service and the website without focusing on unnecessary features.
Even a simple, home-based food delivery business has the potential to improve its offerings and grow via iterations based on customer feedback in a loop. The lesson from these examples that you can share with your parents is that no matter what job they get, innovative thinking and being able to quickly change to meet business requirements and customer needs, can help them and their employers in solving issues.
- Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices, 2010 — https://www.tafep.sg/sites/default/files/Publication%20-%20Harnessing%20the%20Potential%20of%20Singapore%27s%20Multi-Generational%20Workforce.pdf
- CIO, 3 August 2016 — https://www.cio.com/article/3103893/it-industry/think-older-workers-struggle-with-technology-think-again.html
- LinkedIn, 12 September 2015 — https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-non-tech-small-businesses-can-apply-tech-lean-valery-satterwhite
- Logan Merrick (Co-Founder and Director at Buzinga App Development) on Medium, 3 November 2016 — https://medium.com/@LoganTjm/how-uber-airbnb-dropbox-released-mvps-to-achieve-rapid-growth-d823ac6eaed5