Building a future-ready workforce to address talent challenges

In the first of a 2-part article, Workforce Singapore’s Julia Ng discusses talent challenges and strategies for workforce transformation.
By: | December 14, 2023

Under the Job Redesign Centre of Excellence (JRCoE) initiative, launched by Workforce Singapore (WSG) in collaboration with the Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP), organisations in Singapore can now access a one-stop resource centre to support their workforce transformation journey through job redesign. With the backing of over 20 trade associations and chambers, and guided by a Job Redesign Expert Panel consisting of leaders from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), as well as academics and industry-recognised professionals, JRCoE is poised to accelerate workforce transformation in Singapore.

In this interview with HRM Asia, Julia Ng, Assistant Chief Executive of Workforce Singapore, sheds light on the pressing talent challenges faced by employers today, how the JRCoE can help, and the essential steps for developing an effective job redesign strategy.

What are the most pressing talent challenges that employers in Singapore face today, and how will initiatives like the Job Redesign Centre of Excellence (JRCoE) help organisations overcome these challenges and develop a more diverse and skilled workforce?

Ng: Employers often face various challenges that can impact productivity, employee satisfaction, and overall organisational success. For example, rapid technological advancements may render certain job functions obsolete or require employees to acquire new skills or take on new job roles. Among these challenges, retention of talent is a key concern for employers, especially in highly competitive industries and in the face of changing employee expectations, like a younger workforce that values varied career development opportunities in an organisation.

Job redesign can help employers improve their ability to attract and retain talent, apart from benefits such as improved productivity, cost savings, increased agility in responding to changes in the market and better customer satisfaction. It is a dynamic and ongoing process that involves analysing, restructuring, and optimising roles to meet the evolving needs of both the organisation and its employees.

“Job redesign can help employers improve their ability to attract and retain talent.” – Julia Ng, Assistant Chief Executive, Workforce Singapore

Many employers have a misconception of what job redesign entails or are unfamiliar with it. As such, they may find it challenging to embark on job redesign. Against this backdrop, the JRCoE was launched to broaden awareness on job redesign and support enterprises in their job redesign journey. Workforce Singapore has appointed the Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP) to drive job redesign initiatives by serving as a one-stop resource centre to direct enterprises to available job redesign resources, best practices, job evaluation tools, sectoral playbooks and grants so that they can be better equipped and supported to drive business transformation through job redesign.

The job redesign journey allows employers to identify skills gaps within their workforce so that they can provide targeted training opportunities to employees, allowing them to acquire new skills and stay relevant. In the process, they would be able to develop a more diverse and skilled workforce that is more adaptive, engaged and resilient.

Can you provide a step-by-step approach to developing an effective job redesign strategy?

Ng: To achieve successful job redesign, it is paramount for top management and HR professionals to play an active role in engaging employees in career conversations on the rationale behind job redesign and its benefits so that they will be brought in and look forward to contributing positively to the firm’s success.

Next, employers need to be clear about the intended objectives – be it to improve productivity, improve staff retention or increase job satisfaction for example – as these objectives will drive how the redesign is approached and what solutions will be developed. In addition, job redesign should not be seen as just a paper exercise. Resources such as time, money and manpower should be clearly spelt out and invested in the job redesign process. Employers should also engage their employees on the skills needed for the redesigned job roles and support them in reskilling. Just as learning is a lifelong journey, job redesign should also be viewed as a regular and necessary process for every organisation to respond quickly to changes in the business environment, improvements in technology and shifts in employee demographics.

Lastly, allocate the necessary resources, including budget and creation of a cross-functional team, that can support the successful implementation of the job redesign project. It is also advisable to establish a robust monitoring and evaluation system to assess the impact of the changes so that adjustments can be made along the way. Firms tapping on PSG-JR grant support will be able to utilise Workforce Singapore’s National Job Evaluation Tool with support from pre-approved consultants to assess the job enhancements and related productivity improvements for each job role redesigned.

Firms wishing to find out more on how to get started on job redesign and tap on related grants can approach IHRP at [email protected] or SNEF at [email protected].

Part 2 of the article delves into the concept of job redesign, emphasising its role in business transformation, enhanced employee benefits, and strategies for skills-based hiring. The discussion extends to HR practices promoting talent retention and career mobility, including the establishment of clear career paths, mentorship programmes, and ongoing training opportunities.