Leveraging on Malaysia’s seniors in the workplace
RETIRED life does come with its perks. Cosy pyjamas, slippers, sleeping in, travelling, and maybe even explore hidden abilities you didn’t know you had when you were younger. But there are some of us seniors that feel we can still contribute, still itch to do something worthwhile.
Sharmila Sinnathurai and Jasmin Amirul Ghani, who had developed Hire. Seniors, a social enterprise that specialises in helping seniors to find employment believe there are abundant job opportunities.
Are there actually jobs for seniors?
The two friends realised the importance of ensuring senior minds are kept active and thus explored the idea on how to make it a possibility. Employment came up as one of key ideas.
“Coming from the corporate sector and HR profession, there was always a struggle getting good talents. Nobody was really looking at the retired pool,” Sharmila says.
The duo then proceeded to launch a three-month market survey to observe whether there would be demand and supply. Supply meaning seniors eager to return to work. Surprisingly, the ladies received an overwhelming response from the senior community with the feedback that they were keen to return to work, but never knew where to go.
The next important question was demand, whether organisations would be keen to hire seniors. Roundtable sessions with HR professionals, recruiters were done and a conclusion was reached. Sixty per cent of HR professionals were very open to the idea of hiring seniors.
Employers also shared their initial apprehension in hiring seniors was the certain perception the seniors might fall ill which might take a hit on productivity.
“Companies can do a health test so if the seniors have any existing ailments, and the organisation can select if they are interested. If companies are worried about issues such as increase in health insurance – most of our seniors are not looking for that coverage because they have their own medical cards and our government healthcare is free of charge.”
Tapping the senior expertise
One concern raised by companies is that graduates may have less employment opportunities if seniors were allowed to return to work but Sharmila said that is not the case. “Companies should look at the areas in their organisation where they need the expertise but have not been able to get the right talent. Seniors can be an alternative pool of talent to fulfil those needs,” she explained.
“It’s a contingency workforce. For example, an accounting firm with a backlog of tax and audit jobs could hire a group of seniors with the relevant experience to help it for two to three months.”
Sharmila said there are benefits for employers when it comes to hiring seniors, one of which is the latter’s experience. There have been a lot of requests for seniors with relationship skills. “Businesses are beginning to see the value seniors can bring when selling products and services, especially in areas that are senior-related.
How long does it usually take to get a job? According to Sharmila, it can be as short as six weeks. The platform categorises candidates based on their job skills — specialists, semi-skilled and generalists. — The Health
Companies should look at the areas in their organisation where they need the expertise but have not been able to get the right talent. Seniors can be an alternative pool of talent to fulfil those needs.”– Sharmila Sinnathurai
How to keep our brain sharp as we age
FORGETFULNESS can be a normal part of getting older. Occasionally, we may miss a monthly payment, forget which word to use or misplace our glasses. Those can be signs of normal ageing, according to the National Institute on Ageing.
However, these changes can make it harder to learn new things, interfere with memory and can be a source of frustration. Here are a couple of things to keep that noggin sharp.
Get Moderate Exercise
Regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates the heart rate can increase blood flow to the brain. Many seniors are physically unable to take part in extended exercise sessions; however, simply walking around at least once a day can increase oxygen flow to the brain and help seniors keep a clear mind.
Eat a healthy diet
Researchers have found strong evidence that vitamin E, B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids could help prevent dementia, along with avoiding saturated fat.
Be a people person! Talking with others actually sharpens your brain, whether at work, at home, or out in your community. Studies show social activities improve your mind. So volunteer, or sign up for a class. — The Health