Holding on to retirement-age employees

Posted by: Diane Brady on January 29, 2008

Retirement is a delicate subject in most companies. On the one hand, employers may be glad to bid adieu to higher-priced talent whose exit clears the way for younger hotshots to move up. But there are always those impending retirees who would be painful to lose. They have experience and skills that are in demand or difficult to replicate. People trust them. They’re in their prime.

One quarter of all the respondents to Ernst & Young’s 2007 Aging US Workforce Survey say that they are trying to determine how to adjust benefits for that latter group to persuade them to stay on a while. They’re less interested in broad-brush changes than a more surgical approach aimed at key employees. That can mean anything from tailoring stock options to adding in more health benefits.

It’s virgin terrain for many executives. About 44% of respondents said would like senior management to stay beyond their normal retirement but 60% say their current compensation and benefits programs are neutral in terms of encouraging or discouraging retirement at a certain age. With talk of a coming brain drain, it will be interesting to what kind of innovations companies will develop to keep people on the job. If you’re that good, the prospect of getting more money may not be much of a draw.

Reader Comments

John G. Agno

January 30, 2008 12:59 PM

Most employers aren't ready for the shift that could affect thousands of their workers, given that the oldest of the 80 million-strong baby boom generation begin to retire and collect Social Security payments. Before boomer retirees head out the office door, it is important that they share their tacit knowledge of the company culture with those employees who will remain active in the business. Social networking techniques, phased retirement programs and other innovative methods can link older knowledgeable workers and retirees to current employees.

A majority of Baby Boomers say they want to work in retirement, but U.S. companies are only just beginning to try to figure out how to accommodate that.

To help organizations retain the Boomer generation's valuable knowledge, mentoring programs are linking older workers and retirees with current employees to help them understand the corporate culture. Some companies are using social networking techniques, phased retirement programs and other innovative methods to link older knowledgeable workers and retirees to the company and its current employees.

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