Posts Tagged ‘boomer retirement’
Recruiting, managing and retaining Gen Y employees (aka: Millennials) seems to be all the rage nowadays, but smart companies are also putting effort into retaining their Baby Boomer talent. Recent research shows that “one Boomer hits retirement age every 8 seconds” in the United States, and although not all of them CAN retire due to their financial circumstances, many of them can. Yet those who can’t retire are looking for alternatives to generating income outside of the corporate grind.
The need for Boomer retention is being felt more in technology, pharmaceutical, and engineering companies. However all industries are feeling, and will continue to feel, the pain of a serious “brain drain” as Boomers exit the workforce…taking their vast experience and knowledge with them.
So how can a company keep their Boomer talent, who have one foot out-the-door, from walking away? Here are four Boomer retention strategies to consider:
Match Them with a Younger Mentor
Some Baby Boomers feel intimidated by rapidly changing technology, and this results in their wanting to leave the workforce because they feel “antiquated”. To help this situation, many companies are implementing “reverse mentor” programs where younger employees mentor them on social media, smartphone apps, and using new technology the company has implemented. This helps those Boomers who are choosing to retire because of technological advancement from leaving because they no longer feel embarrassed about not grasping tech it quickly.
I conduct presentations for Executive Leadership teams and Human Resources executives where they all tend to focus on Generation Y wanting flexibility. What they fail to realize (until I tell them) is that Boomers on the verge of retirement want the same thing!
Many Boomers who HAVE to continue working, or who want to continue working, choose to leave their jobs because they’d rather try being self-employed, or take a job somewhere else that embraces flexibility, so they have more control over their schedules. More and more companies recognize this and are launching flex-time, part-time, consulting positions, remote working options, etc.
Sure, much of that started due to Millennials demanding it, but companies quickly see it is helping keep their Boomer talent longer, too.
Give Them a Second Career Choice
Many Boomers want to leave because they’re burnt out on what they’ve done professionally for (possibly) 30+ years. As a result, many employers are offering job training options so their Boomer talent can learn a new skill set, oftentimes in a totally different department. Research is showing that this “career customization and training” strategy can reignite their enthusiasm and excitement, resulting in their desire to stick around a lot longer.
Eliminate Generic Rewards Programs
It has been proven time and time again that the one-size-fits-all rewards and recognition programs DO NOT work. Everyone is different, and what motivates them is different. What a 60 year-old employee wants is normally different from what a 25 year-old wants.
Encourage front-line Managers to find out WHAT each of their employees want, and allow them to act accordingly (within reason, of course!). Customized employee incentive have been proven to work… across all generations!
Starting from now through the next 20 years, companies cannot afford to lose their top talent. We are entering an employee-driven job market again, after it being an EMPLOYER-driven market for quite a few years. So it’s time for companies to take employee retention, across the generations, very seriously.
While on a recent plane flight, I came across an article in USA Today about a new book, and its author, that I thought was very interesting and inspiring. But, before I jump into telling you about it, let me take a minute to explain why the article about the Boomer author’s journey grabbed my attention:
In October of 2011, I released my third book, “Boomers into Business: How Anyone Over 50 Can Turn What They Know into Dough Before and After Retirement”. I wrote it because there are a lot of new shocking statistics about how horribly prepared more than 47% of Boomers are for retirement (or even have enough money to cover their basic bills when they get older!). So I wrote my latest book to provide career options that Boomers can consider to make more money now, on-the-side of their current job if they’re employed, as well as what they can do after they “retire” from their current job or career to generate income later in life.
There. That gives you a general overview as to why the article topic grabbed my attention…now, back to that.
The book is called, “Diary of a Company Man: Losing a Job, FInding a Life”, written by James. S. Kunen (Lyons Press). And it tells his journey of being a 59 years old Baby Boomer executive who was fired from a good job at Time Warner, and found himself in what he, along with many other Boomers, describe as a place of: Too young to retire and too old to hire.
So, there Kunen was, caught in that scary place that many Boomers find themselves in where they find it hard to get a new job, yet they’re too young to quit working because they don’t have enough retirement savings, and/or they need to make a living now just to make ends meet.
I don’t want to give away the ending and how he survived this, so you’ll either have to read his book or read the article I did to get more details. But I will provide you with this brief book description from his Amazon book page:
The funny, insightful, and inspiring story of a 1960s campus radical turned corporate PR man who finds himself, along with his fellow baby boomers, in a place called “Too Young to Retire and Too Old to Hire”.
James S. Kunen—author of The Strawberry Statement, an account of the 1968 student uprising at Columbia University—chronicles his adventures on the road to finding meaning in work and life.
He traces his evolution from a rebellious youth who sees working as a kind of death, to a laid-off corporate executive who experiences not working as a kind of death, to a reinvented and reinvigorated individual who discovers something important and meaningful to do.
The experience of falling victim to America’s recession-ravaged economy (and the people who run it) leads him along a career path far different from anything he had planned. After years of making a living, Kunen finally learns how to make a life. Diary of a Company Man will be a revelation not only to baby boomers but to young people trying to figure out what to do with their lives.
So, how did he reinvent himself? Did he become self-employed? Did he find another corporate job in a different career? If you’re a Boomer and find yourself in a similar situation as Kunen, what can you do? Or if you still have a job but need to make more money for your retirement account, what can you do? Or if you’re looking for something you can do to generate income past 65 years old, what can you do?
For starters, you can pick up a copy of Kunen’s book, or my new book, for some ideas (both of our books are available in print and Kindle)! Unfortunately, all of this is a stark reality for over 35 million Baby Boomers, and the time to start thinking about future financial security, and career options, is now!
This is very disturbing and the statistics are startling! Here’s the general scoop:
According to The EBRI Retirement Readiness RatingTM in 2010: 47.2% of older Boomers (56-62) are at risk of outliving their retirement savings. And 43.7% of younger Boomers (46-55) are at risk of not having enough money for basic monthly expenses when they retire.
47.2%??? That’s almost half of Boomers 56 to 62! Those statistics are staggering. This means we have millions of people who cannot afford to stop working at 65 and are currently seeking ways to make more income now and on an on-going basis past 65. And the report also discusses the risk that Gen X and Millennials (aka Gen Y) also face, based on current economic conditions, for their retirement futures.
If you’re interested in receiving a free copy of the complete 2010 EBRI.org report, here’s the info: The EBRI Retirement Readiness Rating:TM Retirement Income Preparation and Future Prospects by Jack VanDerhei and Craig Copeland, Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI.org).
But wait! There’s more! Did you know that according to a special report entitled Next Generation Leaders: Competency Deficits and The Bridge to Success by Judy Chartrand, Ph.D. and Bonnie Hagemann, Baby Boomers are currently retiring at the rate of 1 every 8 seconds? And this massive retirement trend has just started!
Sure, the immediate thought is they’ll just stay in the workforce longer to generate income, but not all of them can, or will, so employers are scrambling to find head count. I’ve written about this before, and I speak about this a lot. It’s a big issue that is the hot topic of conversation at companies across the U.S., along with the importance of their attracting, recruiting and retaining Gen Y employees.
But what I found really scary were the statistics about not having enough money to retire. This will then cause a huge economic impact on our government aid programs and healthcare programs.
Ouch! We’re talking MILLIONS of Boomers! I hope the top brass who run our eldercare programs are getting things in order…this is going to be a major issue for our country starting now and for the next 20 years.
Bye for now,
Over the years employers have been so concerned with women (and men) needing time off to take care of their sick children, and parents needing flex-time to attend their kids’ soccer games, that many have not focused on a major cost drain that will only GET BIGGER as Boomers start to hit 65+ and the Veteran generation continues to hit their 70′s, 80′s and 90′s…the cost of adult children (like me!) faced with caring for their aging parents.
And other stats from the Council on Aging in Silicon Valley include:
- 70% of those who are working TAKE TIME OFF to provide this care
- 15% of them QUIT THEIR JOBS when full-time care is needed for their elderly loved ones
- California businesses (and in all states) lose BILLIONS of dollars and lost productivity EACH YEAR due to their employees handling elder care of their loved ones
As an HR professional, you need to find ways to save your company the high cost of workplace interruptions and absenteeism. It is time for employers to WAKE UP! The cost to businesses due to absenteeism, stress and reduced productivity will add-up to massive amounts of financial loss for companies that are not prepared to manage this reality.
I recently met with Lorraine Larson at the Council on Aging in Silicon Valley and was floored by these facts but impressed by the services they offer to help companies manage this growing issue. If you don’t live in the Bay Area (or California) then I strongly recommend finding an organization like this in your area to help you prepare your company.
They offer educational services for employers and employees about: Elder Care Planning, In-Home Services, Caregiver Support, Retirement Planning, Long-term Care Insurance Counseling, On-site Work-Life Seminars, AND training for HR and/or workplace supervisors to manage elder care issues they will face with their employees.
Get with it, folks! I’m 44 and my Dad is turning 80 this July. We are working on moving him closer to us and I know once he is here I’ll be taking more time away from work (without regret because I adore him, but for many people this is a financial burden), so I can relate to the issues employers and employees face. Luckily we have organizations like the Council on Aging to help companies and individuals deal with this important fact of life.
Bye for now,