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Redesigning Retirement


Redesigning Retirement

It’s time for a new deal between employers and older workers.

BY KEN DYCHTWALD, ROBERT MORISON AND KATY TERVEER

Organizations around the world are facing shortages of experienced talent, with sectors including health services, manufacturing, education, and trade especially hard hit. A solution is in plain sight – the fast-growing ranks of older people ready, willing, and able to continue working and contributing past the conventional “retirement age.” But organizations need to make specific adjustments to their employment and management practices if they want to realize the potential of an older workforce and maintain their talent supply.

In “Redesigning Retirement” (Harvard Business Review, March-April 2024), Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., Robert Morison, and Katy Terveer of Age Wave explore this opportunity, showcase organizations taking the lead, and offer five strategies for success. Here are some key perspectives from the article:

 Retirement and unretirement waves:

“If it’s unsettling news that so many Boomers are reaching the traditional retirement age, the corresponding good news is that many of them are looking for ways to spend their time meaningfully and productively, including by continuing to work after ‘retiring’ from their regular jobs.”

retirement

Older workers’ value:

“What older workers bring to the table is well documented and yet highly underappreciated. They have knowledge and skills, both functional and organizational. They offer commitment, loyalty, and engagement—valuable traits often in decline these days. They can serve as mentors and role models of resilience and emotional maturity to younger colleagues struggling with the increasing demands of their jobs and lives. They also possess the emotional intelligence that’s key to relating to customers, especially if the customer base itself is aging.”

An aging workforce:

“An older workforce is already here. Altogether, more than 10 million Americans who are 65 or older are currently employed, and that number is projected to rise to nearly 15 million by 2032. Today 27% of Americans ages 65 to 74 work or are actively looking for jobs. And people who are 65 or older now represent the fastest-growing segment of the labor force—by far.”

Actions to take:

“We need to overcome lingering ageist stereotypes and start thinking of older and retired workers as a large, versatile, and valuable labor pool—one that’s significantly underutilized. If you are experiencing labor and talent shortfalls and have found that many of your valuable employees are exiting into retirement, it’s time to act. We recommend that you take five steps: Preserve experience, replenish experience, share experience, offer flexibility and leverage age diversity.

Ageism-free hiring:

“As you search for experienced employees, root out any assumptions and language in job descriptions and recruiting methods that may discourage older candidates. Don’t put a cap on the years of experience required or use subtly ageist phrases like ‘energetic’ or ‘digitally savvy’ that may signal a bias against older workers. Field-test your organization’s career site with a small panel of older employees and retirees.”

Leveraging age diversity:

“Perhaps the most beneficial way an organization can make its commitment to age diversity tangible is to purposefully create multigenerational work teams so that people of various ages and life stages work together regularly, learning from and about one another. If your organization has intergenerational issues, it probably needs more intergenerational teams.”

The new age of aging:

“These workforce changes are part of a broader and deeply significant transformation in the shape of people’s lives—and in what it means to ‘age’ and ‘retire.’ Seventy-one percent of Americans who are 65 or older say that the best time of their lives is not in the past but right now or still in front of them. And 83% say that feeling ‘useful’ is more important to them than feeling ‘youthful.’ Working longer can make them feel both.”

Harvard Business Review – “Redesigning Retirement”

EXCERPT REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION BY HARVARD REVIEW

See more from Dr. Ken Dychtrwald in GRAND here

AUTHORS

Ken Dychtwald

 

 

 

 

Over the past 45+ years, Dr. Ken Dychtwald has emerged as North America’s foremost visionary and original thinker regarding the lifestyle, marketing, health care, economic and workforce implications of the age wave. Since 1986, Ken has been the Founder and CEO of Age Wave, an acclaimed think tank and consultancy focused on the social and business implications and opportunities of global aging and rising longevity.

Robert Morison

Robert Morison, Senior Advisor at Age Wave, is a researcher, writer, speaker, and consultant, and an authority on what happens at the intersections of business, technology, and people management.

 

 

 

KATY TERVEER

Katy is the Senior Vice President of Research at Age Wave where she leads the design and Katy is the Senior Vice President of Research at Age Wave where she leads the design and development of thought-leadership studies and oversees research that illuminates how aging, longevity, and retirement shape the marketplace, the workplace, and our lives.

 

Ken Dychtwald

About the author

Over the past 45+ years, Dr. Ken Dychtwald has emerged as North America’s foremost visionary and original thinker regarding the lifestyle, marketing, health care, economic and workforce implications of the age wave. Since 1986, Ken has been the Founder and CEO of Age Wave, an acclaimed think tank and consultancy focused on the social and business implications and opportunities of global aging and rising longevity.

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