Unearthing Hidden Hires: Hiring Older Workers Over 40

Hiring older workers can be a struggle for some employers. In the final instalment of a three-part series on unearthing hidden hires, we look at how one company attracts and maximises the skill sets of its multigenerational workforce.

From Gen Y to Baby Boomers, today’s workforce is incredibly age-diverse, with employees who may differ in background, working style and skills. According to one 2018 study by Randstad, managers in Asia may struggle with age-diverse teams and may be reluctant to hire older workers due to common misperceptions, such as they may be less productive or less physically robust. As a result, for those over 40 in Singapore, jobs can often be difficult to land.

Yet, some companies have turned age diversity into a strength. Alongside benefits from government schemes for employers who hire from an older talent pool, the intangible benefits of a multigenerational workforce come in many forms for the team at Royal Plaza on Scotts.

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Collaborative Learning in a Multigenerational Team

“The highly connected younger generations are enthusiastic and full of passion to make a difference and bring new ideas into the company, but the experienced older generations have their pool of knowledge that the organisation can tap,” says Patrick Fiat, General Manager and Chief Experience Officer of Royal Plaza on Scotts. About half of the Singapore hospitality team is aged over 40. However, the company considers this an asset that complements their values and organisational structure. “Mature [employees] are here to take the younger ones under their wings to provide guidance,” says Mr Fiat. “The cross-pollination of ideas across generations is a great platform for [our staff] to learn from one another, bringing better and refreshing processes to the workplace.”

Read Also: Pros and Cons of a Multigenerational Workforce 

Potential to Grow with Engagement and the Right Opportunities 

With the median age of the Singapore population rising from 34 years old in 2000 to 40.8 years old in 2018, businesses cannot afford to be limited by common misperceptions of the employment of older workers in Singapore. To stay on top of human resource management, managers at Royal Plaza on Scotts participate in workshops by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (better known as TAFEP) on how to manage the performance appraisals and needs and grievances of mature staff.

Mr Fiat says that needs differ as mature staff may be more concerned about welfare issues while younger staff are often more focused on career development and growth. Networking and internal engagement sessions have also helped the management team to develop and hone their best practices. Mr Fiat notes, “We have many success stories of team members growing laterally across the organisation. We have many talents who have worked their way up the corporate ladder and grown into managerial roles. With opportunities to develop and grow, talents stay engaged.”

Read Also: Manpower Woes: 5 Ways Singapore SMEs Can Better Manage Human Resources

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A Happy and Healthy Environment for Both Staff and Customers

But Royal Plaza on Scotts is not just committed to making the most of the skills and potential of its workforce; the hotel also has many initiatives in place to make sure that staff have fun on the job and stay passionate about giving their guests an unforgettable experience. To promote good health in the workplace, employees are offered healthy food options at the staff canteen, the use of a 24-hour gym and, for those over 50, even free flu jabs, among other benefits. All staff enjoy free annual health screenings and comprehensive medical insurance coverage.

Bonding opportunities, such as interdepartmental sports competitions or barbecues, are also aplenty. “These activities serve as a platform for the [different age groups] to interact and build bonds with one another,” says Mr Fiat. “Talents are also encouraged to engage in social activities such as visits to charity homes, grooming workshops and friendly departmental competitions.” By creating a cohesive work environment and listening to its team, Royal Plaza on Scotts constantly learns and develops to attract and manage a diverse, successful team, encouraging other employers to do the same.

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