You can almost see it happening. As if focused on an invisible countdown, employees seem to become more preoccupied with planning for retirement right around the time they turn 50. As they begin to concentrate on the golden years ahead, many pre-retirees decrease involvement with their current work, check out of their workplace relationships, and lose trust in the organization. With this focus on the future, many educated, highly skilled employees begin to decrease the number of hours they work productively — sometimes by as much as half. So how do you keep this pre-retirement talent and experience invested in your organization? By investing in your talent before they retire. Sounds crazy? Here us out.
Earn Their Trust
You’ll want to figure out how to continue to motivate your pre-retirees during the countdown to retirement. A huge part of that is making sure they feel a trusting connection with the organization.
Without trust, some pre-retirees can worry they’re being pushed out. As a result, they may become less productive, and hoard information and contacts. They want to make themselves indispensable — but really, they’re just making themselves difficult to work with. They’re not capitalizing on their experience and expertise. But you can help them with that.
Continue to include pre-retirees in essential decision-making conversations. Give them key assignments. Keep them engaged with coworkers by assigning them to important teams, and encourage mentoring (either formal or informal) of younger colleagues who can benefit from the pre-retirees’ wealth of experience. Such mentorship can help preserve a pre-retiree’s legacy — an important motivator for many.
Focus on Their Needs
Career transitions are about upskilling, onboarding, and preparing for what comes next — the good and the bad.
Planning for retirement can be exciting, as employees think about travel, a new home, or more time with family. But for some employees, the transition to retirement can be a stressful one, wondering about living expenses, the rising cost of health care, or how they’ll keep busy every day without a work routine.
Acknowledge that extra layer of stress. Some pre-retirees express feelings of burnout as they seek to balance their old life with the new one ahead. Express empathy for what they’re experiencing — you’ll maintain connection with a key segment of your workforce.
Help Them Plan for the Future
More than likely, pre-retirees are some of the top earners in your organization. To keep them invested in their current role and earning those big salaries, provide your pre-retirees with resources to help process their upcoming career transition.
Financial planning is clearly one key element of the pre-retirement transition. Employees want to know that they’ll have enough money to enjoy their retirement, whether that means cruises and a winter condo at the beach, or simply enough money to pay off a current mortgage and maintain their current standard of living.
Less obvious may be the importance of psychological planning on the pre-retirement career transition. Psychological planning (either via coaching or a guided workshop) can have a significant impact on pre-retirees’ relationships (both at work and home), while also impacting team success at work.
Such psychological planning helps pre-retirees develop self-awareness and actively plan for the future. It can help employees remain optimally invested in their current role, while also transitioning toward an intentionally cultivated life beyond full-time employment.
Providing these types of resources benefits your organization via improved retention and employee engagement, not to mention lowered recruitment costs. Your pre-retirees will experience decreased on-the-job stress, while increasing their well-being and commitment to the organization.
Good for the Organization, Good for Pre-Retirees
By openly discussing retirement as a positive (and gradual) career transition, you’re showing employees that you’re invested in their well-being. They’ll likely respond with renewed commitment to their role and the organization at large. Talk about a win-win! We hope you’ll consider investing in your talent before they retire.