Finding the Silver Lining in an Age-Diverse Workforce (Part 1)

Discover strategies to transform your organisation’s mature workforce into a competitive advantage.

16 Jan 2023 Articles Age management Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices Best practices Future of work

Speakers (from left) Mr Freddy Liew, Consultant, Talent Strategy from Mercer and Mr Leslie Lenus, Area Director of Talent & Culture (Human Resources) of Novotel Singapore on Stevens | Mercure Singapore on Stevens.

A recent survey by TAFEP found that 88.5% of organisations believe job redesign to be an important practice for an age-inclusive workplace, however, only 70.1% implement it.

In this article, we explore the merits of job redesign and how it can help cultivate a thriving, inclusive workplace that maximises the effectiveness of its multi-generational workforce.

By 2030, employees aged over 50 years old are projected to account for 40% of Singapore’s labour force1. Organisations that recognise the value of adapting to the changing employment landscape will be well-positioned to transform their mature workforce and gain a competitive edge.   

We bring you insights from Mr Freddy Liew, Consultant, Talent Strategy from Mercer to help you take your first step in job redesign. 

Job Redesign – Supporting Business Transformation and Growth

Mature employees can contribute effectively to their organisation with their extensive knowledge and experience. Given the intensifying war for talent globally and in Singapore, tapping into the mature workforce can help fill organisational manpower needs.    

It is vital, then, for organisations who want to be successful in the future of work, that jobs are designed to attract and retain mature employees, mutually consider both the business and personal needs, and empower them to support business outcomes. 

As shared by Mr Liew from Mercer, the process of job redesign is to:

“Re-look at what should be done in a job, how the work should be done, and who should be doing it”

At the start of any job redesign project, companies must ask a crucial question – what is the main value provided to the organisation through the job? The answer to this question will anchor job redesign efforts to focus on the main objective. 

With the above principle in mind, the following are general job redesign strategies that your organisation could consider implementing to improve work productivity and overall business performance:

1. Identify the high-value-added tasks performed.

  • Consider all the jobs within a given team/department for this assessment. 

2. Uplift the value of jobs with tasks of higher value-add.

  • Train staff to be adept at various key tasks, thereby enhancing their capabilities and enabling them to be rotated easily to fill manpower needs.
    E.g. in managing a tourist attraction, the high value-added tasks performed by different roles within the service crew could be consolidated and taken on by a single service ambassador role instead. 
  • Upskill staff to raise competency levels and build career pathways to further employees’ development and increase their work efficiency.
    E.g. in managing an accounting firm, bookkeepers and tax/audit associates handling repeated, manual accounting work could be trained to assume accounting technologist roles to automate accounting processes. 

3. Restructure tasks to focus on specialities/strengths.

  • Create a new role to manage less specialised tasks, thereby increasing the capacity for specialists to focus on their core duties.
    E.g. in managing a senior community home, a non-clinical care role could be created to alleviate nurses’ workload as they can help complete the less specialised tasks that nurses are required to do.  
  • Identify and decant non-value added tasks to improve operational efficiencies
    While this can be a painful step, it is needful and beneficial to reduce time spent on repetitive tasks and increase employees’ capacity to perform higher-value-added activities. In this process, it is important to find out the tasks that each role performs and how much time is taken for each task to be completed.

As organisations have different value propositions, there is no one-size-fits-all approach for effective job redesign. However, a helpful, universal first step before embarking on any job redesign process is to identify the job’s main value-added tasks. 

In re-looking at value-added tasks and how they should be done, it remains vitally important to empower employees to succeed in their roles. Look forward to the next instalment in this two-part article series where we will share strategies for fostering an age-inclusive workplace to provide what mature employees need to thrive and bring value to their organisation. 

Start your job redesign journey by leveraging government grants such as the Support for Job Redesign under Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG-JR) to mitigate potential costs. 


[1] Aging Workforce Cost and Productivity Challenges of Ill Health in Singapore (2017), Retrieved from: