Population changes have the potential to seriously challenge your ability to attract and maintain the workforce you need. And skill shortage may occur at certain positions anytime due to insufficient number of workers with required skill sets to replace the ones who will be retiring. As an effect, there can be lower efficiency and productivity levels, higher training costs and compensation. At such a time, it becomes necessary to identify the roles, individuals, and competencies that are leaving the work space so as to zero in on the requirements to fill these gaps.
But, a significant number of workers have the desire to work after the traditional retirement age, and their reasons are not just financial. Retaining retiring talent mutually benefits both the employer and the employee. While the employer can retain talented employees in areas in which skills are scarce and the employee continues to remain occupied and earning.
Additional benefits to the employer are that the loyal older employees not only enhance the company’s reputation, but also yield high-quality work. As the workforce ages and absences rise, the costs increase. To reduce absences, some organisations use methods such as providing wooden flooring, easy-to-read computer screens, health programmes at the workplace to encourage workers to lead healthier lifestyles. Such programmes have proved to be beneficial in improving health and well-being of employees. And it reduces absenteeism, besides increasing productivity. Dr OP Vermani, former chairman, chemistry department at National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra, believes that retirees should get respectable pay package, preferably with health cover.
Besides adding to their savings kitty, working after retirement helps retirees in many other ways:
Physical, mental fitness: Working plays a key role in keeping the mind functioning optimally, thus avoiding premature memory loss. Climbing stairs and walking around the office keeps a person physically fit. Working also keeps them socially active. With this, they feel younger longer.
Change of course: Now is the time to look at a new career. To do something, you always dreamed of (early passion), but could not do before, even though it may not be as remunerative as your previous career. Popular fields are education, social service, entrepreneurship, and consultancy.
Longevity bonus: Due to increase in life expectancy, the retirees know that they still have 5-15 years of active life left during which they want to do productive work rather than sitting idle.
Self-worth: Many people feel that retirees are considered useless by/for the society. Continuing working increases their feeling of self-worth.
So, what was earlier considered as an exception, is now becoming a norm. Retirement is no longer a clean break from working to not-working. Rather it now means working part-time and using abilities in relaxed but productive way.
Need flexible retirement options
The employers should install a phased-retirement programme, offer flexible work and retirement options, putting more emphasis on employees’ track records and competence. Such employees should be retrained for jobs that suit their ageing skill sets. It can be help to oversee projects and facilitate intergenerational mentoring. Also, retired executives can be considered for temporary consultancy roles.
(The writer is a city-based Ayurveda doctor)