What will the workplace be like in 2019 and beyond? The Public Service’s Chief Human Resources Officer Ms Low Peck Kem shares three trends to look out for.

Low Peck Kem, Chief Human Resource Officer

Trend 1: Life Cycle Employability

Gone are the days when people, especially the younger generation, look for lifelong employment, observes Peck Kem, a HR industry veteran of 26 years who has done stints in both the private and public sectors. So to attract and retain the talent, organisations focus on life cycle employability instead, ensuring employees have career opportunities and flexible work practices which complement their life stages. “A lot of people want flexibility in how they live and work. They look for solutions that harmonise with their current stage in life and for opportunities that allow them to grow,” says Peck Kem. “If such opportunities are not available in their current organisations, they would move somewhere else.” 

“We recognise that every job has different needs. We leave it to the staff to make arrangements with their supervisors based on a ‘I let you know, I trust you’ relationship, without having to fill in forms or clock in hours. We believe that people want to do a good job, and with the right environment, the right tools, training and development, they will do a good job,” she adds.

Low Peck Kem, Chief Human Resource Officer

Trend 2: Growing Need for Adaptive Skills

With the economy ramping up towards a skills-based future, another trend that Peck Kem is seeing more of is that of progressive organizations adopting a ‘service’ culture, and these workplaces requiring more people with adaptive skills. 

“We want people who know how to engage others and co-create solutions,” she elaborates. “We want people who can use design-thinking concepts to look at things from the end-user perspective. Thus we encourage our officers to be more innovative and take calculated risks to come up with creative solutions.” 

She points out that this means that academic qualifications now serve only as a proxy in recruitment, while competencies, learnings, achievements and internships are taking precedence in the selection of candidates.  

Low Peck Kem, Chief HR Officer

Trend 3: Technology as an Enabler

In tandem with these changing work arrangements, advances in technology are transforming the ways in which organisations engage staff and attract new talent, shares Peck Kem. She highlights that even in the Public Service, technology is now an enabler in the way staff collaborate, communicate and learn.  

“We use Workplace by Facebook for communicating and creating social networks. We encourage officers to upgrade their skills and pick up new ones on our digital learning platform called ‘LEARN’, which is also available on the mobile phone. New candidates are asked to submit their applications online through Careers@Gov, and shortlisted ones are invited to a video interview, which offers inclusive solutions even for persons with disabilities. 

“We’re pushing the Public Service to be digital savvy with different tiers of digital skills. Just as Singapore is moving towards being a Smart Nation, we are making the Public Service a Smart Public Service.”

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