Learning & Development

Are You Losing Out on the Value of Your Retirees?

It’s been forecast for quite some time now—the outflux of aging Baby Boomers, now reaching (even surpassing) retirement age. The Recession put a damper on some of these plans, and while many employees are choosing to stay employed for longer periods of time, employers are finding themselves faced with increasing retirements and, in some cases, challenges to fill the gaps.

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Recruitment challenges are increasing with many companies, citing a lack of qualified candidates as one of their greatest challenges.
That’s where retirees—or potential retirees—may come into play. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey, 79% of today’s workers anticipate that they will supplement their retirement income by continuing to work. Now is the time to begin considering whether your employees nearing retirement might be interested in and are able to offer value through continued employment in some capacity.
It’s likely that some segment of your about-to-retire employee audience includes staff members with valued—and valuable—experience and insights into not only your organization but also its culture. They can benefit your organization in several ways:
  • Choosing to stay in their role for longer than previously intended, perhaps to focus on a specific project or initiative where their experience would be valuable.
  • Staying on but cutting back their hours to work on a part-time basis, perhaps training—or mentoring—their replacement.
  • Returning on a consulting basis to help train and develop younger employees.
  • Volunteering with the organization (if it’s a nonprofit; this is very common in the healthcare industry, for instance).
  • Serving as nonemployed advocates on behalf of the organization.

The recent movie The Intern provided another workplace twist that is actually gaining some traction in “real life”—seniors as interns. It’s not an unlikely, near-future scenario in which seniors may represent competition for students as companies fill internships. Contrary to popular belief, those over 55 are not necessarily being overlooked for jobs or internships. As Bustle noted in a 2015 article, “Of the 5 million new jobs created in the U.S. between 2009 and 2013, a whopping 80 percent of them went to workers age 55 and over, and a number of them got into their new positions via (often unpaid) internships.”
If this is an audience you’ve been overlooking, now’s the time to think about the many opportunities these soon-to-be or already-retired employees may represent for your company.

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