As older workers get closer to retirement, many are motivated to leave a mark -- to know that they have made a difference. And they want to be challenged and continue to find some deeper satisfaction. Are organizations creating cultures where the experience of older workers is valued and honoured? Organizations may have succession plans in place, but do they help those retiring leave a career legacy?
We've all heard it said that the retirement age of 65 is too young and is outdated. But leaders are continually telling me that some of their best, and most knowledgeable talent will be walking out the door over the next 5+ years. Statistics Canada reports more than 40 per cent of Canadians aged 65 to 69 are currently employed in some capacity. This statistic means that there are a significant number of Canadians from this age group who are likely to retire in the next few years. In fact, it has been reported that almost 5,000 baby boomers are retiring every week in Canada.
It is time to harness the passion of older workers and ensure that their experience and knowledge doesn't just walk out the door. Here are some things for you and your organization to consider -- ways the wisdom and knowledge of experience can be harnessed now and your older workers can be honoured for all they have done: It'
1: Charting the future: Draw on experienced professionals to get involved with change initiatives, think tanks, and planning sessions. Don't focus on the past, but let the retiring generation help the next generation chart the future.
2: Mentoring / coaching younger workers: Set up mentoring programs so that your older workers can transfer their knowledge and share (formally or informally) their wisdom, experience, and skills.
3: Designing/leading training programs: Utilize the skills and experience of your older workers to help with the design of training programs or to act as trainers in your 'corporate university'.
4: Sharing networks: Older workers typically have extensive networks that they have built over their careers. There may be opportunities to tap into their networks for recruiting, outreach, or special projects.
If your organization could use some assistance in setting up initiatives for older workers, give me a call.
Kathleen Redmond MA, MCC
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