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2011 Best Employers - International

National Environment Agency

This government organization rehires employees who want to work past Singapore's statutory retirement age

Winning Year: 2011
Industry: Government
Location: Singapore
Employees: 3,338; Percentage over age 50: 47.9

The National Environment Agency of Singapore makes concerted efforts to utilize older workers as mentors to younger staff and as instructors for internal training programs. Employees are encouraged to work beyond Singapore's statutory retirement age and most are re-hired. Most recently, NEA launched a consultancy arm that will deploy experienced older workers for temporary overseas projects.

See also: How the 2011 Best Employers winners were selected.

Lifelong Learning and Training: The NEA has two main groups of employees: the monthly rated employees (MRE) and the daily rated employees (DRE). The median age for the MREs is 43 while the median age for the DREs is 55.

The main objectives of the DRE Job Re-design exercise are to improve productivity, create greater career advancement for their DREs, improve the DRE's image and professionalism and improve NEA's overall customer service to the public. The NEA sent their employees a three course package containing Personal Effectiveness, Communication and Relationship Management, and Workplace Literacy Comprehensive. More than 600 DREs have attended these courses. Additionally, special attention was paid to the fact that most of the DRES are over age 50. For instance, they received literature printed in larger fonts. The DREs who show potential will be promoted.

For the MREs, other courses were offered to ensure that the workers stay relevant and productive. The NEA also trains older workers on how to use PDAs and computers so that they can keep up with the changing technological advances.

Flexible Work Arrangements: The NEA has introduced several flexible work arrangements such as part-time employment, staggered working hours and telecommunicating that enables employees to manage their work and non-work activities.

The Part-time Employment Scheme provides officers with the flexibility to choose various options of working from 11 to 36 hours per week. The second initiative is the Staggered Working Hours Scheme, which enables officers to choose the preferred start and end time to their work options. Finally, the third initiative is the Telecommunicating Scheme, which provides officers with the flexibility to work from home.

Staff members who have reached the retirement age are re-employed as consultants. This allows retirees to enjoy their retirement and, at the same time, impart their vast knowledge and experiences to younger employees. Last year, 95.7 percent of the DREs who were due to retire at age 62 were re-employed.

Next: Fitness classes and re-hiring retirees. >>

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