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With Experience Comes Wisdom: How to Engage with Employees Reaching Retirement

With Experience Comes Wisdom: How to Engage with Employees Reaching Retirement
Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2018 by Marcy Klipfel

Retirement used to be taken in your mid- to late-fifties, often associated with long days on the golf course, trips to foreign cities, visiting grandchildren and snowbird winters in Florida.

That’s not the case as much in 2018. Nowadays, the workforce is retiring at a later age and staying more active in the workplace, whether through consulting or investing in younger employees. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 40 percent of people ages 55 and older were working or actively looking for work in 2014. And that number is expected to increase – with BLS predicting that by 2024, there will be 164 million people in the workforce and of that, 41 million people will be 55 and older.

For employers, there is an opportunity to involve this population in the workplace that can drive business value and provide fulfillment for these employees, even once they are retired. In fact, older workers want to keep working primarily because it keeps them in engaged with other people and they feel as though they are contributing. Whether you keep them on as part-time paid consultants or ask them to participate in mentoring, consider engaging employees who are nearing or entering retirement in meaningful ways to help your business thrive.

Here are three actionable ways to create a symbiotic relationship with your employees at or near retirement:

  1. Continue their career as consultants. Your long-term employees hold a breadth of knowledge and relationships that are tough to replace in a short time period. Offering employees a part-time consulting job can create consistencies and a smoother transition for all parties involved. Not only can they provide training for the internal workforce, but if they’re working with external clients, it communicates a level of care for their partnership, as well as strategic oversight.
  2. Develop a mentorship program. Mentors are a smart and effective way to enhance the skills of your workforce, and there is no better way to do so than with employees who have a lifetime of experience. As the turnover rate at companies grows with the younger generations, use mentorship as a tactic for retention. In a recent Deloitte survey, 68 percent of Millennials who said they plan to stay with the same organization for five or more years were twice as likely as their counterparts to have a mentor. Your younger employees will benefit from the unbiased sounding board and dedicated support of mentors from older generations as they navigate their own careers. At the same time, younger mentees will increase their professionalism, which is good for your business.
  3. Invite them to conduct trainings. As mentioned above, your older and retired workforce likely wants to stay engaged and active in the workplace. Retirees leave with a wealth of knowledge and professional experience in hard and soft skills that can – and should – be tapped into as an asset for your workplace. Plus, as a known and trusted individual at your company, having retirees as the “professor” will increase engagement from those who attend.