I recently wrote a blog post over on our other blog, Unretirement Project, about the “5 Retirement Strategies that Individuals Need to Start Planning For”. It came from a session that I attended during the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) annual conference.
But employees aren’t the only ones that need to start thinking about retirement. Organizations do as well. According to Pew Research, approximately 10,000 people each day turn retirement age. That number is expected to last for at least the next decade. Now of course, not all of those people are going to leave the workforce the moment they reach retirement age. In fact, there’s some data to suggest that older workers are trying to stay in the workplace longer (whether that’s simply for the money or because they enjoy working).
My point is that organizations need to think about the growing number of people who are – at some point – going to exit the workplace. And during a period in time when recruitment is tough, it makes sense to have a deliberate strategy for keeping skilled workers. Here are five strategies that come to mind:
- Reskilling. Employees need to keep their skills current with the business climate. That includes older workers. Personally, I’m not buying the comments that “older people don’t know squat about technology”. Not from the individuals or the companies they work for. It’s time for organizations to make investments in employee education and training.
- Repurposing. Everyone wants to feel that they contribute to the bottom-line of the organization. That doesn’t mean that everyone needs to have career advancement goals. Translation: you don’t have to want a promotion to be valuable. Organizations need send the message that everyone can contribute value, even if their goal isn’t to move up the company ladder.
- Reducing stress. Burnout and stress are real issues in today’s workplaces. Organizations are doing the right thing by creating wellness programs for employees. Let’s remember that there are some wellness issues that are the same for every age group, there will also be some unique wellness issues for older workers. For example, financial education programs could be tailored for not only saving but retirement.
- Reverse mentoring. You guys know I’ve never been a big fan of the term reverse mentoring. I mean, why can’t we just call it mentoring? So, I view this one as both traditional mentoring – where an older worker can share their expertise and knowledge with others AND reverse mentoring – where they can learn from a younger worker. This is great for reskilling and repurposing.
- Phased retirement. If you haven’t had a moment to read my interview with Joyce Maroney, executive director of The Workforce Institute at Kronos, I hope you’ll check it out. She shares her transition from full-time to part-time status and the support she received from Kronos along the way. Organizations have a real opportunity to create a win for everyone by supporting employees through a phased retirement plan.
As more employees start eyeing retirement and more organizations continue to struggle finding talent, it only makes sense for both sides to create some mutual wins. It can be done. But it takes open communication, transparency, and planning.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, FL
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