Age inclusivity, reskilling staff among moves that helped firms bag progressive employer awards in S'pore

Prudential Singapore employee Noreen Wee (left) having a discussion with fellow colleague Nicholas Chiang. PHOTO: PRUDENTIAL SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Prudential Singapore was the first financial institution to remove the retirement age of 62 in 2018, while implementing other age-inclusive practices such as raising the age cap to 100 for group medical coverage for its staff and employees of corporate clients.

These efforts bagged it an award at the Tripartite Alliance Award ceremony on Monday (Aug 16).

A total of 21 organisations and six individuals were recognised for their fair and progressive employment practices at the hybrid event organised by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep).

Ms Sheela Parakkal, chief human resources officer of the Prudential Assurance Company Singapore, said: "We strongly believe that age-inclusive practices will have a strong impact on our organisational performance in the long-term.

"With an ageing workforce, our employee value proposition attracts older, high performing employees and allows us to tap their wealth of experience. We are also better able to retain mature workers, which in turn helps ensure a diverse and inclusive workplace."

Commending the insurer and other award winners, Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said: "Progressive employers provide adaptive workplace programmes, as well as different career pathways and work arrangements for their employees.

"These efforts help employees manage... different life stage needs. In turn, companies reap the benefits of a more productive workforce."

The award winners also optimise talent through reskilling and embrace innovation, supporting their employees in preparing for the future of work, he noted.

"These companies continuously evolve and experiment with new ways of working, both to sustain their own businesses as well as create positive impact for their employees."

For example, OCBC bank in 2018 reviewed the job roles of about 9,000 staff, identifying the roles that will change and skills that will be in demand. With these findings, the bank developed plans for staff to be redeployed and upskilled for future roles.

Mr Jason Ho, head of group human resources at OCBC, said: "Major change is afoot on the job front and roles that are available today may no longer be needed or will be significantly disrupted tomorrow. We take a long-term view and invest in upskilling and reskilling our people for the future so that (we are) well prepared for the ever-changing economy."

Environmental technologies firm Ministry Holdings recently adopted virtual reality and augmented reality technology to train staff and increase their productivity.

Group chief executive Rio Goh said: "It is the company's ethos to be inclusive and adaptable, and that allows us to bring greater value to our clients."

Dr Tan also announced on Monday the setting up of the Tripartite Collective, which will create an open exchange of ideas among tripartite partners and academic, legal and media communities on issues faced by the workforce and employers.

Tafep also presented a report on progressive employer practices, such as building collaborative networks between staff and company, optimising employee talent, valuing feedback, continuously evolving and adopting a holistic approach to staff welfare.

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