Bridging the technological gap to create a more inclusive workplace
As Singapore seeks to harness technologies such as AI tools to transition itself into a Smart Nation, the need to address concerns about the rise of technology and the gaps of understanding amongst employees becomes imperative. This is especially true for older, less technologically adept employees who might not be able to navigate a new, technological norm.
As organisations look to upskill and reskill employees so that they can take on jobs that require knowledge and understanding of emerging technologies, more strategies are revolving around Learning and Development (L&D)
NTT Singapore, an organisation that offers various complex, mission-critical IT infrastructures, is working to enhance its L&D strategy with their newest Work Life Digital (WLD) initiative targeting employees aged 50 and above to build confidence in their use of tech and essential digital skills.
HRM Asia spoke with Kim Meng Png, Chief Executive Officer of NTT Singapore, who gave some insights into NTT’s work in bridging the technological gap between generations, and how organisations can build intergenerational workforces with technology.
With the Work Life Digital (WLD) initiative focusing on individuals aged 50 and above, how does NTT envision bridging the tech gap for this demographic, and what specific skills or areas of education are targeted?
Kim: NTT is committed to leveraging technology to build a smarter, safer society. One of the ways is to empower individuals in this age bracket with essential computerisation knowledge and to enhance their digital literacy. We offer customed educational programmes such as computer workshops, curriculum covering the identification of cyber risks, safe engagement with technology, and tips for maintaining good cyber hygiene in the modern world.
NTT launched our first-ever education initiative for cybercrimes against seniors with Lion Befrienders back in 2021, where they aimed to educate over 7600 seniors. The programme included virtual webinars and on-site classes for Lion Befrienders volunteers and selected seniors, covering cyber threats, online security best practices, and do’s and don’ts, using a ‘train the trainer’ approach.
Looking ahead, how does NTT envision the future of inclusive tech innovation to recruit and keep older employees?
Kim: NTT has set ambitious diversity goals, aiming for over 50% of employees to be from diverse categories by 2025 and doubling the gender diversity of its executive leadership team by the same year. The company is actively working towards building a more inclusive workforce by addressing biases in hiring and promotion processes, eliminating pay disparities, and sponsoring and mentoring leaders from various demographics.
We envision that the future of inclusive tech innovation can be useful in amplifying certain initiatives that we are already actively exploring. They can be creatively leveraged to create employee resource groups to work on ‘Diversity, Equality, Inclusion, Belonginess’ (DEIB), and provide learnings for managers on unconscious bias training on various platforms such as LinkedIn.
We see inclusive tech innovation as a key enabler in promoting DEIB in our workplace. We all play vital roles as we all possess different experiences and skill sets unique to everyone, which can add tremendous value to an organisation.
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What role do you believe companies should play in bridging the divide between the different workforce generations to create a more inclusive workplace? How can technology play a role in helping with this?
Kim: The role companies play in creating a more inclusive workplace is crucial. In today’s world, it is imperative to promote a safe and understanding working environment for all. Encouraging open communication, creating diverse teams, and acknowledging different strengths are all ways to drive inclusivity and thankfully – with today’s technological advancements, it is made easier.
We must recognise that there is simply no ‘one-size-fits-all’ framework in an organisation. This is where technology can come in to augment the working experience and environment for everyone, catering to their preferences to communicate and work collaboratively. The pandemic certainly was a key driver, allowing us to ‘work anywhere’, which eventually drove technology to innovate and create more inclusive working environments for all, beyond just geographical locations but from a demographic standpoint.