Leaving A Legacy: How HR Can Retain Those Looking To Retire

It’s always tough to lose a good employee, especially when it’s a member of your executive leadership team. However, as baby boomers age, losing top talent will become nearly impossible to avoid.

Over the next few years, 20 percent or more of senior leaders will be eligible for retirement. How do businesses move forward? What, if anything, can be done to hang on to these valuable employees, even if only for just a little while longer?


Avoiding the Inevitable

The first thing you need to do is be honest with yourself. Accept the fact that even your best employees will  retire at some point. Be understanding that their decision to leave, especially at a career peak, was not easy.



Typically, retirement is a decision someone has taken a considerable amount of time to ponder; once he or she has committed, the decision is unlikely to reverse. Fortunately, most soon-to-be retirees put in their notice months in advance, giving you more time to utilize their services or persuade them to stick around for a while longer.

If one of your valuable employees has come to you with the decision to retire, encourage the potential retiree to consider one of these options:

Many retirees enjoy their job and don’t want to leave, but wouldn’t mind losing the long hours. Allow them to work part-time or remotely from home, or let them create their own hours.

Often, retirees realize two weeks into retirement that all they probably needed was some time away. If possible, allow your employee to take an extended vacation or short leave of absence before making a final decision.

Test the waters with phased-in retirement options. In this scenario, the retiree cuts back one day of work each month – or week – until entering full-time retirement status. A lot of the time, retirees realize that retirement isn’t all it was cracked up to be.

Devise short-term contracts so that they can still contribute to the business.


Harness Their Knowledge

If the thought of retirement is too hard for your employees to turn down, but the thought of losing their knowledge forever is too daunting for you, consider the following:


  • Offer to retain them after their official end date for training purposes.
  • Ask to keep them on a short contact list to call on as a vital resource of knowledge.
  • Ask if they are willing to consultant on a regular basis for the business.
  • Bring them in as a guest speaker for employee luncheons and seminars.
  • Request they create training videos using a learning management system, so your team members can harness this expertise for many years to come.


Despite the fact that a large number of workers are nearing the end of the employee life cycle, 36 percent of retirement-aged employees anticipate working beyond age 65 – an increase of 25 percent from 1991. That’s good news for employers as potential retirees are on the fence about retirement. Businesses can’t afford to lose top performers, especially ones who make executive-level decisions. You don’t have to lose these high-caliber workers … or you can at least avoid it a little longer.


This article originally was posted on Paycom.com.


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