What HR Departments Need to Know About Baby Boomer Retirement

While it’s common knowledge that the Baby Boomer generation has dominated the workforce for many years – only now are they finally getting eclipsed by Millennials – their retirement has been weirdly ignored.

This is a problem, especially for HR departments, because it is estimated that roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers will exit the workforce every day for the decade at least, an event known as The Silver Tsunami.

The Impact on HR

It’s a no-brainer that HR will have to oversee the offboarding process of all of these retirees, adding an immense strain to organizations as new leaders are developed to replace them, but it’s also important for HR to understand how to properly ease Baby Boomers into the next stage of their lives.

Think about it. Baby Boomers have been in the workforce for about five decades or longer. That’s a long time to be working. It becomes part of who you are, how your day’s structured, who you talk to. Suddenly retiring is a shock to the system for many, which is a bummer because a lot of people work solely to retire someday.

The Hidden Problem

We’re told from an early age to start saving for retirement. Baby Boomers, for the most part, have heeded this advice by using financial planning services like TIAA Cref and others to save the appropriate amount to retire on comfortably.

So, instead of the financial issue, Baby Boomers are facing a whole different beast: the lifestyle change.

Like mentioned above, it’s quite difficult to go from working every day to having no set schedule even though that freedom is one of the main reasons people want to retire in the first place.

How Is This An HR Problem?

Two ways, mostly. One is that HR is there to help employees. This simple mission means that if you have a Baby Boomer who is up for retirement, it’s important that you make sure you do what you can so that employee can transition into their new lifestyle as stress-free as possible. In short, it’s the right thing to do.

The second is that without the aid of HR, some Baby Boomers will become “reluctant retirees,” meaning that they will simply postpone retirement until later life because they do not want their lifestyles to change.

Reluctant retirees pose a huge problem for organizations larger and small because they stagnate organizational growth by not letting new talent and ideas in. This means that Millennials will exit the company quickly instead of developing their leadership to one day take over. Without this constant, healthy churn of new talent, all aspects of business begin to suffer.

The Solution

The solution to all of this is simple: retirement lifestyle planning. Basically, HR departments need to work one-on-one with upcoming retirees to gauge what aspects of the move they are most stressed about.

Then, typically using an outside service, HR can create a plan that addresses these issues before they lead to the retiree becoming reluctant. A simple plan would be to have the retiree work with a coach to ensure they know what they are going to do with their newfound free time, how they can structure their days, and how they can continue a purpose-driven life after work.

By making a plan, you help ensure that the employee, who has worked tirelessly for the company for a possible half-century, transitions into the retirement they deserve. Not only does this help your company develop new leaders and avoid stagnation, it’s also just the right thing to do.