Retirement is evolving into a more fluid stage of the employment lifecycle.
Older Americans are leaving and re-entering the labor force in record numbers, and some do it multiple times over the course of their later years. Increasing longevity is a big factor in this growing trend. For many people, living longer means that permanently retiring at age 60 or 65 simply isn’t a viable option from an economic standpoint. In fact, a 2019 study commissioned by Home Instead revealed that more than half of those who are approaching retirement in the next five years expect that they will return to the workforce at some point. But the reasons these ranks of the leisurely go back to work, or “unretire” as it’s been termed, often transcend income.
What’s driving the unretired worker?
While they may not need the financial benefits of continuing to work, many retirees find they miss the routine and the stimulation that employment provided. Some simply enjoy working and want to continue to contribute as they age, although they tend to prefer doing so on a reduced schedule. Others seek fulfillment, empowerment and meaning through the pursuit of encore careers that reflect their passions. And still others want to gain a sense of accomplishment through reinvention, taking existing skills and applying them to a different sector of the economy. Although the motivations may vary, the benefits these seniors bring to the table are undeniable.
Unretirement offers a huge opportunity for employers.
Especially in this day and age, a worker’s skill set and experience is virtually priceless. The fact is, businesses can’t afford to let retirees walk out the door and take decades of knowledge with them. With massive number of baby boomers set to exit the workforce over the next decade and unemployment at record lows, companies need to find ways to tap into the talents of individuals nearing retirement. Rather than scrambling to haphazardly collect departing employees’ knowledge, embracing this phase of the lifecycle can yield big benefits, including:
- Ongoing contribution to company growth and development: When senior workers are able to remain with their respective employers in some capacity, they can continue to harness their elite experiences and apply that knowledge to the greater benefit of the organization.
- Better training for younger workers: With older employees readily on-hand to teach their fledgling counterparts, less experienced team members can better understand and learn the ropes before being thrust in to replace outgoing veteran workers.
- Improved diversity: Supporting unretirement programs and unretirees allows people of all ages to see the true value older employees bring to the organization and encourages collaboration across the board. Diversity of age brings diversity of ideas, which is great for driving innovation.
If you’re concerned that these seasoned veterans won’t be sticking around for more than a few years, keep in mind that younger workers often leave their jobs after just a year or two. The depth of knowledge your company stands to gain from hiring older employees can make it advantageous, even if they aren’t looking for a long term gig.
How can your organization effectively tap into the unretirement phenomenon?
Start by realizing that not all jobs are necessarily full-time positions. Consider helping senior workers in their transition towards a phased retirement by reducing the number of days or hours of work each week. This flexibility will allow aging staff members to adapt while continuing to earn, and enables your company to retain their valuable skills and experience for a longer period of time. Creating benefits packages for senior contingent workers can be appealing for those who are considering making a return to the workforce.
Embracing unretirment can be a win-win for your organization and your older employees alike.
It starts with having candid conversations with would-be retirees, devising flexible and attractive work opportunities, and planning long before their exit.
For more than 20 years, The HR Team has been helping companies make the most of their new and veteran talent. We would be honored to assist your organization, too. Please reach out to our knowledgeable professionals to learn more.
About The HR Team: Founded in 1996, The HR Team is a Maryland-based human resources outsourcing firm committed to developing strategic, customized solutions that respond to the unique needs and cultures of organizations of all types and sizes. Available as a one-source alternative to an in-house HR department or on an à la carte project basis, the company’s flexible service models address the full spectrum of HR needs that many organizations struggle to address. The HR Team helps clients achieve their highest level of success by providing value-driven human resources services that leave them time to focus on what they do best: directing business growth and profitability. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, the firm serves all of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. To learn more about The HR Team, call 410.381.9700 or visit https://www.thehrteam.com/.