If you examine the demographics of today’s workplace, it quickly becomes obvious that there are some big changes that will be happening over the next ten years. According to the Washington Post, over 10,000 baby boomers retire every day – that’s almost 4 million retirements each year.

This is one of the most pressing organizational challenges today, as many organizations are beginning to realize the necessity of transferring the wisdom and experience of their retiring leaders over to younger leaders in the organization.

When senior employees retire, they’re taking their expertise with them

Organizations are losing their most experienced leaders, but they are also losing the knowledge and skills that those leaders developed over decades. This unprecedented departure of human capital is important to address now for long-term stability and growth.

In order to consolidate and preserve the working knowledge of senior employees, organizations are keen to explore solutions. The best solutions are personalized, affordable and scalable.

There are simple ways to support your retiring employees and benefit your organization at the same time

There are two things that employees must think about as they prepare to retire: their legacy, and their future. Both of these things will provide them with a sense of meaning and purpose, and will also help preserve knowledge within your organization.

Employee Legacy
Inspire your employees to plan out how they will leave their legacy of wisdom and experience with the organization will bring meaning and purpose back to their day-to-day work. It will also encourage them to download their wisdom to younger employees instead of taking it with them as they retire.

Employee Future
Help employees plan for their future by addressing concerns and exploring how they will continue to lead a meaningful life in the other roles and activities that fulfill them. Challenge senior employees to think about some of the following things:

  • What lasting contribution do I want to make with my organization?
  • How can I pass on my experience and knowledge to others?
  • What conversations do I need to have to make this possible?
  • What are my values and how can I realize them in different ways beyond work?
  • What other roles beyond “employee” do I play in my life?
  • Where else in my life do I want more for myself?

Helping your employees develop a plan for the end of their careers and the beginning of the next chapter of their lives has obvious benefits for everyone.

Offering workshops and coaching to retiring employees is worth the investment

Group coaching workshops provide an opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences as well as build community. One-on-one coaching addresses the specific issues of each individual and helps them construct a personal plan for both their remaining career and their upcoming retirement.

This combination of support helps to alleviate fear and disappointment, while preparing employees for a rewarding new future.

Benefits for the organization:

  • When senior employees start thinking about their legacy, they stay engaged with the organization and often find opportunities to contribute to longer-term initiatives.
  • By getting senior employees to take an inventory of their skills and knowledge, you force them to think about what they could pass on or write down.
  • If senior employees develop a sense of purpose outside of their career, they will be able to leave the organization on schedule. This prevents the all-too-common issue of senior employees staying with the organization for too long and for the wrong reasons.
  • By going above and beyond for your retiring employees, this sends a message to high-potential leaders that they will be valued throughout their entire career at your organization. This can directly drive retention and loyalty.

Benefits for your employees:

  • One of the strongest human emotional drivers is the need to feel as though our lives have meaning. By creating opportunities for your senior employees to transfer their valuable expertise to future generations of workers, you will be giving their final years at your organization purpose and value.
  • Many employees, particularly career-driven leaders, struggle to develop an identity outside of their work. This often leads to boredom and loneliness, which prevent a smooth and happy transition to a new life stage. By encouraging employees to plan for life after work, you give them the opportunity to define themselves independently from your organization.

It’s the right thing to do:
Far too many news articles have been published about companies that don’t take good care of their former employees – financially and emotionally. Helping loyal employees transition out of your organization is one of the best things you can do to thank them for years (often decades) of dedication and hard work.