India Inc encouraging older employees to delay their retirements

HR managers are now encouraging their older employees to delay their retirements. Why? Because they feel that instead of investing time and energy in recruiting and training fresh talent, at all times, they are seeking to use the wealth of experience and knowledge of their older employees to benefit their companies.

Changing times and the need to have a good life has led to intense competition and stress. People do not lay back and relax, as everyone is a part of the rat race. Some want to make more money, some want job security and some simply strive for a better future. We work harder than generations gone by and we have greater expectations from life than our parents did. Therefore, to keep up with the challenging and ever changing times, many working professionals are opting to delay their retirements.

Professionals delaying their retirement have certainly proved a boon for organizations, They think valuable technical knowledge cannot replenished simply by hiring new talent. It is therefore safe that an employee delaying his / her retirement can be a good thing for an organization.

Delayed retirements are a huge plus for organizations that value the knowledge, specialized skills and guidance that the vastly experienced older employees can bring to the table. This helps retain talent for a longer time period. It also gives organizations more time to plan in advance for the changes that come along with the retirement of employees, especially in strategic positions. However, the flip side of this is that it could lead to stagnation or a dearth of new ideas.

An employee delaying his / her retirement can be both, boon or a bane:

This works both ways. It is an advantage in the sense that the knowledge and experience of the employee remains with the company. They also bring a level of maturity to the table. On the other hand, an older employee may not have the energy of a young one, may not be in touch with the latest trends, management practices and technology. They also add to the health care costs of the company. Finally, until they retire, there is no scope or recruiting new talent as there are no vacancies.

Although this practice is slowly gaining popularity in the workplace, there are a number of advantages and disadvantages that must be considered. Today’s workforce tends to be more geographically mobile. Therefore retaining such young workforce is far more difficult than retaining old employees are easier to manage as a workforce.

If an employee is healthy a delayed retirement can help secure his or her financial independence. On the other hand, as they get older employees tend to lose the energy, speed and agility that is required to be competitive and efficient in today’s market. Retirement at the age of 58 – 60 is an ideal option. It also opens doors for fresh blood and promotion opportunities for middle management cadre. Delayed retirement is the biggest obstacle in creating career tracks for individuals.

Though a lot of organizations believe that delayed retirements can be boon to them, many are yet to put it into practice. We at Tulip have not faced the problem of brain drain, therefore we do not encourage delayed retirements. Tulip has quite a young workforce, the average age of their staff is under thirty. In teams like project management and infrastructure development, the average employee is only 27 years old. In sales, the average age is 29 and is slightly higher. In strategic initiatives and the leadership team, the average age is about 45 years.

But a few other organizations have started accepting delayed retirements, although this is more an exception than a rule. They sometimes encourage delayed retirements in their organization, specifically in areas that require extensive and specific knowledge. One in the area of baking and another in training, are a huge asset to the organization and their delayed retirements have proved valuable.

An employee from Fidelity puts in his two cents. It is important to stay fit and to keep one’s self in sync with the younger generation. One must embrace technology and stay up to date. We can use our hard earned wisdom and contacts and can pass on what we know to the next generation. We must ask ourselves what value we add to the organization. If we have clear targets in mind, and can achieve them, then we are an asset rather than a burden.

As far as delayed retirements are concerned, the jury is still out for India Inc has not accepted this new reality and is still waking up to this new day. Those who follow the trends and read the tea leaves though predict that in the future, delayed retirements are going to be all the rage. Until that new dawn comes, we must simply wait and watch.