By Lindsay Witcher
Mar. 15, 2018
Not only are people working longer into the traditional retirement years, but the vision of retirement and what it means to retire is evolving altogether.
Such factors are creating challenges for HR leaders who are now tasked with finding ways to help mature-age workers discover the next phase of their lives while developing initiatives that allow the organization to utilize the talent and experience of workers who hold years of vital knowledge.
HR leaders are seeking creative retirement programs for their mature-age employees designed to help those who want to remain in the organization but in a more flexible capacity. They also are providing assistance and support for those who have decided to transition out of the organization to pursue the next phase of their lives in a way that allows them to continue to find meaning and purpose. Employees are finding they are no longer tied to the traditional retirement model.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the expected retirement age is now 66. However, the actual average retirement age is 63, representing a gap between when employees think they are going to retire and when they actually do. Part of this gap may be explained by the fact that mature-age workers are not actually retiring in the traditional sense, but are seeking ways to find purpose and meaning, and are looking to remain engaged and productive well past the time they are employed full time.
Many organizations help employees plan for retirement to a certain extent, whether it’s offering 401(k) or transitional retirement plans. However, the new era of retirement means that employees aren’t just leaving your business to go fishing or sit on a front porch.
They become your consultants, company references and brand ambassadors. To ensure that positive relationships are established and nurtured with these industry-influential individuals, HR leaders must shift their thinking to focus on new policies for career transition in the retirement age — those that are beneficial for employees as well as for the organizations that offer them.
A few of the most common alternative career paths for mature workers include entrepreneurship, entering the gig economy, volunteerism, philanthropy or joining a board of directors. Employees are looking to enrich their second phase of life with substance and meaning. This new vision of retirement requires job connections, career mapping and career transition services.
Here are four new ways to look at the old idea of retirement.
For employees to get the most out of a career coach, leverage coaches who are experts in the employee’s field or future field. The coach should also maintain an open mindset and the ability to think beyond the scope of “normal” retirement. As mature-age employees consider alternative options like serving on a board of directors, entering the gig economy or volunteering their time, a career coach can bridge the gap by focusing in on helping employees carry their applicable skills from their current job to their next venture.
While these four ideas set HR professionals up to assist mature-age employees, they should really be applied in greater depth to the entire workforce. Focusing on creating a holistic experience for individual employees pays dividends for the employee and employer. Whether your employee is 72 or 22 or somewhere in between, don’t overlook the unique advantages they bring to your organization — and find ways to invest in their journey.
Lindsay Witcher is senior director global practice strategy for outplacement provider RiseSmart. Comment below or email email@example.com.
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