Retaining Baby Boomers

Jan 1, 2009 9:28 am

With Baby Boomers retiring in large numbers, concern in the corporate world is growing regarding the loss of experienced employees. How do we slow down the brain drain and keep potential retirees in the workforce while we transition into replacement with the younger generations? A 2008 Recent Retirees Survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute was undertaken to better understand what employers might have done to encourage workers to postpone their retirement and remain longer with their company.
Why do people retire when they do? Respondents typically retired from employers for one of four reasons: retirement becomes affordable, lack of job satisfaction, a desire for more personal or family time, and/or their own health status. However, some retirees would have reconsidered staying on if employers had been aware of the following factors discovered by the survey.

How to get Baby Boomers to stay

People will work longer if asked soon enough.
One of the major findings from the survey is that employers have a narrow window of up to two years in which they may be able to intervene to change retiring workers’ decisions by offering them incentives to remain with the company.

Employers may just need to ask.
Many retirees report they would have been open to an approach from their employer asking them to stay longer with the company. Sixty-one percent say they would have viewed the experience positively. Just 10% indicate they would have reacted negatively to an approach asking them to delay their retirement.

Work incentives vary in appeal.
The survey tested a total of 19 possible incentives that might encourage retiring workers to postpone retirement. Four of these appear especially likely to be successful:

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