Phased in Retirement

Tools to help an organization or individual look at this scenario.

The July 3rd issue of The Economist sported an illuminating analysis of the impact of aging on the economies of the world. It’s chock-full of recent stats on aging and offers a panoramic overview of the fact that the “graying of the world” will indeed change the world in ways far more dramatic than any other influence currently on the demographic “radar screen.”

With increasing longevity and decreasing fertility (lower birth rates per woman) economists’ project ongoing labor shortages. They see companies and organizations scrambling to retain employees, especially those with critical skills, knowledge, and experience.

Refirement Network has two tools that can help see the picture more clearly.
1. 15 Success Factors of Retirement ( RSP)
2. Life Options Profile. (LOP)

The purpose of these profiles is to give your employees a clearer picture of where and how they stand with regard to their next life step.

The RSP and the LOP do not encourage retirement; instead they are tools that help your employees make the most rational, logical, and prudent decisions about the next stage of their lives.

I’ve worked with many clients who, after taking the RSP or LOP come to the most reasonable decision that they indeed are not yet ready (prepared) for a life of full-time leisure, if they ever would be at all. Such a realization prompts them to look again at their assumptions, their values, their thinking, feelings, and ultimately their decisions about their current work, and reassess what is “best” for them right now. The majority of these folks decide to remain working albeit with a very much changed, if not transformed view of themselves as workers and as people.

The RSP and the LOP are life changing documents, they are not retirement inducements – indeed, when used correctly, they can be exactly the opposite.

Companies and organizations are now encouraged to perform audits of their “aging workforce” and from the collected data develop strategies to ensure that they retain the right mix of skills, talents, competencies, and experience in their overall workforce to promote organizational growth and development. The RSP and/or the LOP can be a vital tools in this process of critical worker retention.

The RSP and LOP give objective data, they provide a new and functional vocabulary for deepening conversations and heightened understanding of what’s best for any particular worker. When and if the RSP and LOP are “billed” as vehicles for skills retention and productivity enhancement, then the RSP and the LOP will no longer be seen as the first step of any worker toward leaving the organization. Instead, the data generated by the RSP and LOP will be seen as personal information the individual worker can use as a solid basis for further decisions about life planning.

We offer a vital life-giving means for sustaining growth and development not only on the personal (worker) level, but also on the corporate level as well. We’ve generated a true win-win for all!

We can offer initial training, and ongoing coaching to selected workers who fit into critical need areas for the company. You may even want to hire us as “critical human asset specialists” to become permanent fixtures in your overall worker retention programs. In such venues, retirement coaches will not be seen as helping workers leave the organization, on the contrary, they will be seen a primary means for helping workers stay!

Gerontologists have been promoting phased-in retirement programs for years as a healthier model for retirement. Allowing a worker to gradually move to a full-time retirement lifestyle, by traversing a succession of steps of lessened responsibility or fewer hours (or both) has long been the goal of enlightened adult development specialists. Well, it seems that the needs of the market place, rather than any motivation to help worker’s psychological adjustment into retirement, will finally move us in the direction of phased retirement. Because we see projected labor shortages, corporations will do all they can to retain critical workers? One very attractive way of accomplishing this is by instituting phased-in plans where workers can opt to shorten their hours on a gradual schedule and may take up to 10 or more years to move from full-time work to a full-time retirement lifestyle.

Lynda Smith is the only accredited coach with Retirement Options in South Africa.
This article is adjusted for South Africa from an article written by Professor Richard Johnson, developer of the profile tools discussed.