Leveraging 'People' Power of Sustainability
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David Ang Chee Chim works in the areas of HR/HC/People management and development practices. His other areas include capability/business development, business productivity and sustainability, and career advisory services for individuals, all with the aim to help businesses/organisations be more effective.
He brings with him more than 30 years of work experience in various senior positions in small, large GLCs and MNCs in the manufacturing, services, private education and professional services sectors.
He was the Secretary-General/Treasurer of the World Federation of Personnel Management Associations (WFPMA) in 2004-06 and Chairperson of the WFPMA 11th World HR Congress Singapore.
He also participated in governmental committees in manpower and competency development and employment practices at national level. He served also in voluntary and professional organisations.
Promoting the HR Profession and leading practices, he spoke on various trends, challenges, issues and challenges at conferences/forums/seminars, and shared his perspectives and insights with the media. He co-authored a book, SOS - Succeed or Sink on business sustainability strategies and practices.
He has retired in 2013 from the Executive Director position of Singapore Human Resources Institute after 16 years of service.
He holds a Masters in Production Engineering from the Technical University of Berlin, Germany and a Masters of Science in Asia-pacific HRM from the National University of Singapore.
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According to a recent statistics, in Singapore, each day there are over hundred Singaporeans who reach their retirement age (Ageing gracefully, 2014). Over the years, we have been discussing about various challenges of ageing population, retiring population base and how it would impact sustainability of businesses.
I retired at 65 when the retirement age was 62. If not for a sickness, I would not choose to retire. Later, I started working with another organisation on a part-time basis and later on, with longer hours after my health improved. With my health regained, and reaching 70 this year, I am able and happy to contribute as a member of the senior management team. I will continue in this capacity for a few more years as long as my health, experience and ability permits, and the business continues to appreciate my services.
The concept of retirement has evolved in the decade, largely due to changes at the workplaces, technological infusions into work processes, and changing business models. Changing HR practices, like flexible work arrangement, freelancing, and variable employment contracts have rendered the concept of a structured work life leading into retirement from work almost irrelevant.
Organisations are slowly realising that older workers still have a lot to contribute. Hopefully, in the future, we can see more job sharing opportunities arising. For now, and into the future, retirement will evolve further. New opportunities are starting to appear for people reaching their prime (up to around 55) and prime plus (55 up to 65 or beyond) ages or even beyond the new retirement age.
People live longer, their health and medical conditions are better and will keep on improving. Most importantly, their experiences are still relevant, useful and adaptable to the changing world of work. And, if they continue to upgrade their skills and knowledge and keep in pace with technological advancements, they will continue to be a valuable human capital asset and investment. They will be able to value-add to organisations and earn their keeps, with the corresponding rewards based on performance and the affordability of the organisation to pay. They will be able to work beyond the statutory retirement age and so long as they are willing and able, even up to and beyond 70.
Conversely, older workers also have the responsibility to be mindful of their own employability. They have to take stock of their skills inventory and contrast that with future opportunities and take steps to remain an attractive option for employers. They will need to formulate a plan to prolong their stay in the workforce and even retrain and reskill themselves. HR will also play a role in retaining older workers in the workforce — by adding value to older workers through people development and also by convincing hirers of their worth.
In these times of volatility and uncertainty in the business world, I think, ageing population will be much helpful to provide stability by their wealth of experience to deal with challenging situations thus helping businesses to remain sustainable. Employers are also recognising this and they do not want to be tied down with employment standards and benefits related to statutory retirement. It will be a ‘new deal’ for the parties and I must say it is going to be quite intriguing!