Older and younger workers must not fear each other

The Tripartite Standard on Age-Friendly Workplace Practices is a timely initiative to address employment issues in our rapidly ageing society (New standard for age-friendly work practices launched; April 28).

While companies can make every effort to ensure a conducive and inclusive workplace environment, a mindset change among workers of all ages is equally important.

Younger managers tend to fear managing older workers, as they do not want to be challenged by someone with more life experience.

It does not help either that older workers can be uncomfortable with having a younger, less experienced manager, and feel that it is a poor reflection on their own abilities.

A win-win situation is achievable only if we treat the workplace as a platform to share knowledge and experiences among both young and old workers alike.

There is so much the younger ones can learn from the seniors in terms of knowledge and experience. The seniors can also benefit greatly from the younger, tech-savvy colleagues who share their technological knowledge to help move the company forward.

There is nothing wrong for a company to prefer younger people to fill senior positions if they have more drive and energy to take on challenges and build the business.

Younger managers tend to fear managing older workers, as they do not want to be challenged by someone with more life experience. It does not help either that older workers can be uncomfortable with having a younger, less experienced manager, and feel that it is a poor reflection on their own abilities.

Similarly, if older employees are healthy and able to perform well, age should not be an issue at all.

The workplace can be age-friendly if all stakeholders treat one another with respect and trust.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2018, with the headline 'Older and younger workers must not fear each other'. Print Edition | Subscribe