Baby boomers are in a unique situation these days. The recession is over and fewer older workers are being offered early retirement. Why? Because companies are shorthanded and need the expertise that 50+ workers provide. While there is a surge of millennials entering the workforce, young employees lack the experience and work ethic of the older generation. Companies are struggling to retain experienced workers who are taking a serious look at their second and third career options.
Many older workers want to continue working, albeit in less demanding jobs. Companies and boomers can carve a new path by working together to make it a win-win for everyone. Employers and older workers need to explore options which will enable boomers to stay engaged at work while transitioning into retirement:
1. Discuss flexible work schedules. Many older workers no longer want to settle for the choice of ‘full time work’ vs ‘full time retirement’. Flexible work schedules allow employees to balance home, work, and caregiving roles. In addition, some may choose to move into jobs, that require fewer hours, less stress or decreased responsibilities.
2. Provide mentoring opportunities. The brain drain is a huge issue facing organizations as more older employees exit the work force. Mentoring junior staff allows the transfer of knowledge to occur while giving older workers the opportunity to train and develop young talent. Everyone benefits and the cost of training goes down.
3. Explore contract work arrangements. Another option for employers to retain the knowledge and skills of retirees is to invite them back as consultants. This allows the retiring employee to keep a hand in their field and stay financially solvent while pursuing outside interests.
4. Offer phased retirement programs. These programs enable employees who are close to retirement age to opt for a reduced work schedule for a specified period of time. This allows retiring employees to better plan for retirement while enabling companies to benefit from the transfer of knowledge to other workers.
The transition of older workers into retirement should be a collaborative process between employee and employer. It requires open dialogue and careful planning to accommodate both parties. If you are an employee closing in on retirement, take the initiative and start the dialogue today. Remember, you own your career so make sure you are the one who is in charge of it. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.