I ran across this article in Talent Economy titled, “The Long, Winding Road to Retirement”. The article starts no differently than other articles about the predicament with Boomers and retirement: lack of company sponsored pension plans, dwindling employee savings, Great Recession impact, etc. But what surprised me about this article was the author’s feeling that it was a leap of faith that organizations would get around to doing the right thing because of their pressure to deliver profits.
I certainly hope that’s not the case.
I do agree that organizations are under pressure to deliver results – financial and otherwise. But the way that organizations will deliver those results is with people. Let’s add that the numbers tell us that there are more jobs than people to fill those openings. So, organizations need to find ways to keep older workers engaged and, in the workforce, longer.
Now, I’ll also admit that this challenge doesn’t completely lie with companies. Employees need to think about their retirement plans. They need to find ways to save and take advantage of plans like 401(k), individual retirement accounts (IRA), and Roth IRA. Individuals approaching retirement should be researching how Medicare and Social Security work, so they file for benefits at the right time.
But the way employers and employees can do the right thing is by being authentic and transparent.
Employers need to start thinking about their staffing needs and whether they will act to retain older workers beyond traditional retirement. If that’s their plan, they should have conversations with employees ahead of schedule, so employees can start thinking about their plans and whether they want to stay in the workforce longer.
In turn, employees need to start thinking about their retirement strategy. Do they want to consider working part-time or as a freelancer? Employees need to start building skills for that transition. Is that something they can do on their own or would it make sense to ask the company for assistance?
This isn’t an easy fix. Or an overnight one.
Organizations looking to meet and exceed their goals will need talent. Some of that talent will be individuals approaching retirement age. But if companies want to keep talent, they have to start thinking about offering jobs, salaries, and benefits that that are going to do that. Frankly, that means doing the right thing.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the Wynwood Art District in Miami, FL