India’s ministry of science and technology recently proposed that the retirement age of scientists be raised from 60 to 62 years. By adding two more years to the careers of our scientists, this proposal aims to utilise the skills people have built upon over the years so painstakingly. The pertinent question here is: are we doing enough to retain the wealth of institutional knowledge that retirees would be taking with them?
Leverage the expertise
The idea is as simple as it is self-evident: senior experts are needed in situations where quick, but highly professional support is required. This can be the case, for instance, when a new assembly line is being set up at an international subsidiary, when a division’s accounting system is reorganised, or for quality assurance at a new manufacturing site. To a company, retired experts come most handy, to enable and help associates and cross-functional teams achieve overall business objectives.
Retirees nurture future leaders
The experience of more than 30 years is impossible to replicate in the best of training rooms or pass on in 30 days. After all, people learn more from things that happen to them in real life than from studying case studies. Keeping this in mind, many companies are now rehiring retired hands as project consultants to coach budding talent. The results have been very encouraging, especially in key areas like project delivery. Thus, they help ensure cost-effective and timely delivery of projects, in turn, ensuring customer satisfaction.
Offer alternate options
Beyond the obvious advantages retired associates bring to a company, another facet that they bring along is their unmatched discipline. However, older associates on such consulting assignments might demand flexible roles and work hours and they have every right to do so, given they have been investing years to have their talent close to perfection. As things stand, retirement plans run by most employers is the top source of post-retirement income. The future will see part-time and home-based job options, thus helping these associates top-up their income.
Published in Retaining talent for ET Ascent (November, 2014)