How to Handle Unexpected Employee Retirement

Burnout, anxiety, unexpected retirement, quit quitting—how often do we hear these words? Is something wrong with our workplace today? Or maybe it’s that people are giving up on achieving big things. How do we prevent these from happening?

A McKinsey report says that 40% of workers globally say they may leave their jobs in the next 3 to 6 months.

I believe retaining talent, creating a healthy work culture, and helping employees adapt to new conditions are all about good people management. Yes, the attitude toward work in recent years has changed, but the workplace will also never be the same. What C-level management can do is adapt new strategies to the new reality we live in.

Here are some tips to avoid unexpected employee retirement.

Implement Long-Term Plans for Those at a Later Career Stage

A common mistake is believing a good salary is enough to keep employees happy; the reality is that many in their 50s feel they’ve been kicked out of company strategies. As a result, many have chosen to end their careers early.

Employees need much more than just a monetary reward. They also want to feel valuable to the company and emotionally connected with their leaders.

So, your task is to provide concrete steps, such as succession planning or long-term plans, for those in a later career stage. This can alleviate uncertainty and the feeling of being “in the dark” about goals and expectations for both the employer and the individual.

A Successful Career Plan Should Include the Following:

  1. A long-term vision and mission. This should include the employee’s vision of his or her future career path and development, as well as goals and how to achieve them based on the employee’s professional values.
  2. A series of medium-term objectives in support of that vision. These are the 3- to 5-year milestones and goals that can serve as the stepping stones to achieving the employee’s main vision.
  3. Short-term “plateaus” you can seek. These can be the new skills, accomplishments, and experiences your employees can pursue in a 1- to 1.5-year time frame to help them achieve medium-term objectives.
  4. If needed, help employees share or reshape their retirement plans, and allow older workers to discuss their decision to remain in the workplace for longer than initially planned.

Following these steps can enable succession planning that guarantees experienced employees’ knowledge and expertise will be beneficial to newcomers who step into their shoes.

Create Corporate Education Academy

While many companies worry about how to retain talent and prevent early retirement, French employers have taken action by implementing baby boomer corporate academies.  

Many people approaching retirement worry about what life will be like, often asking questions such as “What will my sense of identity be if I stop working?” “Where will I get my purpose?” and “What are my employer’s expectations of me as I approach retirement?”

If you take a look at what employees really need, it’s to find their passion, such as hobbies, more time with family, and being around people who need them and with whom they may share their expertise.

  1. Create upskilling courses for employees. The best way to make them stay with your company long term is to invest in their development and growth. Provide your employees with upskilling, which can help them grow within your company and make their job more interesting. Try to upskill your employees by encouraging less experienced workers to teach more advanced workers in a process called “reverse mentoring.” 
  1. Help them find their hobbies and passions. Learning and development (L&D) departments can create different tests, quizzes, and hackathon webinars at your corporate academy to allow employers to find something they like to do when they leave the workplace.
  1. Provide your employees with the ability to learn and mentor others online. This will enable your employees to spend more time with their families while working, training others, upskilling, or reskilling.

When choosing the platform for your online academy, focus on those that have an intuitive UX design and positive use ratings, and strive for personalization training.

Create an Online Media Portal for Employees

Corporate media is a compelling angle your company can use to retain its employees. When creating the media, consider your employees’ interests, conduct a survey, and ask what your workers like and want to see in the media. Your online resource may include company news, lifestyle themes, professional topics, stories from other employees, and their experience during retirement so everyone can find something they like.

Showing employees your business has plans for their future in the company leads to positive business outcomes, such as:

  • Reducing employee stress and burnout
  • Retaining top-notch specialists
  • Business stability and the ability to understand perspectives

A successful business is one that speaks the same language as the people who drive the business. It is also one that improves its employees’ lives and keeps things interesting through a positive work culture, caring, upskilling, reskilling, and studying.

Vladimir Polo is CEO & Founder of Academy Ocean.