Hop and hop and hop. Job-hopping…

Before you start reading this blog post, could I request everyone to ask themselves these questions:

  • How long do you foresee yourselves to stay with one company?
  • Do you think job-hopping is crucial for career progression?
  • What do you perceive the company you are working (or going to work) at as?

Before reading the case of “The Ordinary Heroes of the Taj” (or rather even before I read this module), my answer to the question above may be very similar to most of the Millennials out there. I didn’t foresee myself to serve a company for more than five years and I did think that job-hopping somewhat leads to career progress (as one would only choose to change to a job with a better prospect). I thought that I might feel attached to my colleagues but not so much to the company.

Most of my friends as well as most of the Millennials share the same view. According to “Multiple Generations @ Work” survey of 1,189 employees and 150 managers conducted by the Future Workplace, 91% of Millennials expect to stay in a job for less than three years. I think this phenomenon is very real. Unlike our parent generation (Gen X) which most of them stay loyal with their company for more than twenty years, we (the Millennials) are constantly changing our jobs. For instance, whenever my friends and I are discussing about our future career path, many think that it would be hard to imagine and almost impossible for them to stay at the same job for more than five years. They explained that the job might become like a routine which is no longer challenging and interesting. They would also wish to explore different jobs when they are young to widen their horizon.

Undeniably, I guess being too realistic also explains why the Millennials choose to change job. Once I heard a story from my friend. She has a friend (A) who was interning at a company during one of the semester break. A was in a dilemma of whether to quit the internship 1 month early, reasoning being A felt that he/she had already learnt everything from the boss and he/she would not learn any new things if he/she continues to stay till the end of the internship. I was rather shocked upon hearing this story. This made me think and wonder, what does the work place mean to that friend A? Is it a place to nurture learning and gain experiment and friendship? Or is it just merely a platform for one to extract knowledge and go? I wonder where that friend A places loyalty and commitment at.

I have no idea of what was A’s final decision. However, if you were A, what will you do?

While job-hopping essentially is not incorrect and is not unethical, it still poses a large challenge to the management of the company. What can company do to retain the talents? I think most importantly the company should build a strong organizational culture. Even though most, if not all companies have their own mission and vision statement, employees are often unable to relate or align their own vision with the company’s vision. Or employees are unable to feel a sense of identity in the company. To solve the first situation, company could hire employees with matching values. For the second situation, it is more complicated and requires the company to organize more company-wide bonding events and to keep reiterating its vision and mission. Vision and mission of the company should be effectively inculcated in every day’s work or interactions.

 

Reference:

Future Workplace LLC (2012). Multiple Generations @ Work. http://futureworkplace.com/wp-content/uploads/MultipleGenAtWork_infographic.pdf. Last accessed on 28 March 2015

Jeanne Merister (2012). Job Hopping Is the ‘New Normal’ for Millennials: Three Ways to Prevent a Human Resource Nightmare. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2012/08/14/job-hopping-is-the-new-normal-for-millennials-three-ways-to-prevent-a-human-resource-nightmare/. Last accessed on 28 March 2015.


We will all get old one day…..

In this blog post, I will be discussing one of the interesting and common phenomenon that one would observe only in Singapore. Before reading on, I would like everyone to observe 1) when you are having meals at food court, who are the ones that clean up the table and 2) when you are at Changi Airport, who are the ones that push and arrange the trolley. I am sure most of you would tell me the answer – the elderly. Yes, if we were to look around and observe, we would actually find that a lot of elderly in Singapore are still working even at their 70s or 80s.

Why? Aren’t they supposed to retire and enjoy their life at home?

There are actually few reasons why some elderly choose to continue working even after their retirement age.

Firstly, the sad truth is that due to the high living standards in Singapore, some elderly are unable to support their living with current amount of the money on hand. They have no choice but to work and earn a living. In most cases, this group of elderly is lowly-skilled and could only take on those tiring jobs such as cleaners. These jobs do not pay that well and the elderly have to keep working to sustain their living. I really feel very sad for them but I could barely do anything to help them at this point of time.

However, there is another group of elderly who chooses to work because they still want to be actively engaged in the society even after retirement. They are re-employed by the organization and work on a part-time basis to guide the younger colleagues in the team. They are able to support themselves even without working.  Also, they may engage in other activities such as volunteering. In this situation, working is just one of the activities that keeps them active in life and makes them feel they are still valued.

How? What can we do to integrate them back to society again?

I feel that the very first step as well as the most crucial step to integrate the elderly back to society again is to change our mindset – to change the way we view elderly. Now, as mentioned in this video (Click Here), Singaporeans tend to assume and stereotype elderly as unproductive and isolate them from the society. This is actually a very fatal assumption. Elderly are in fact very experienced in their work. One of the interesting example brought up in this video – Growing Old in Singapore (Part 4): Fears of Ageing, is the SIA flight attendants. Just because of the misconceptions, young flight attendants fail to learn from the more experienced staff. As a result, the service standard become poorer.

Moreover, we should also redesign the current infrastructures in the organizations to make it more elder-friendly. In this aspect, I think the Alexandra Hospital had done a fantastic job and other organizations should learn from them. Various program could be implemented to foster bonding between the elder workers and the young workers. Redesign the workplace to be more ergonomics help both elderly and young workers to prevent work-related injuries. There are many more initiatives an organization could implement to create a friendly environment for elderly to work in. Also, all these initiatives will not only benefit the elderly alone, but also normal adult workers as well.

Well……

Singapore is definitely marching towards ageing population given our low fertility rate. At this stage, besides to encourage young married couples to give birth to more babies, our society has to adapt to the ageing population in terms of infrastructure as well as other intangible aspects such as our attitude towards the elderly.

Lastly, I have found this series of talk show (Click Here). It talks about how is it like to grow old in Singapore. I have watched the entire series and they are really thought-provoking. With regards to the topic of ageing population at work, I find that the Part 4: Fears of Ageing is very relevant to the points I have mentioned above. Hope you will find the series interesting as well.

We will all get old one day. How we treat our pioneer generation today will be how our future generation treat us. Do you want to be treated this way?