Many people go through anxiety when faced with the reality of retirement. The feeling of being lost is understandable because often the employee whose retirement is imminent does not know what the future holds.
Retirement and retrenchment are two words often viewed with trepidation by employees. I have had the opportunity to observe how people would go through anxiety when faced with the reality of retirement. It seems to bring out fear and feelings of being lost which inevitably invites negativity and low morale.
The feeling of being lost is understandable because often the employee whose retirement is imminent does not know what the future holds. Their entire existence has been tied up with their career or job, they may have spent their entire adulthood at work and may have developed some kind of “routine” or lifestyle that is dictated to by their career or job and are not able to vision a lifestyle that excludes the job.
It is in this state of low morale that the individual start showing up at work completely consumed by negative emotions which impact their team members and sometimes even their productivity.
What people do not realise is that others (especially management) may start viewing the said individual as a liability instead of a valuable member of the team. The atmosphere starts to feel like the employee is rather tolerated instead of being valued, people cannot wait to see the individual leaving the organization.
What can be done differently?
Organizations can be pro-active in alleviating the challenges outlined above. They can start introducing focused coaching programs that are specifically targeted at certain age groups, say from age 55. In most cases employees will receive reminders about the upcoming retirement about a year prior retirement if they are lucky.
Giving an employee one year to emotionally prepare for retirement may not be enough even if they know that they are nearing retirement age because they may be in denial due to lack of preparation. Nothing prepares any individual for the future than coaching, it allows the coaching client to set goals that they can be excited about.
Retirement coaching is an ideal way to start preparing the employee emotionally for the new life ahead. Retirement should be viewed as a beginning of something exciting rather than the end of something familiar.
Coaching will keep the employee so busy that they will not focus on the fears or anxiety they may be feeling. Giving employees who are facing retirement the opportunity to be coached will really demonstrate a culture of caring that most employers like to identify their organizations/brands with.
The benefits of having a Retirement Coaching Culture
It is one way an organization can demonstrate that they care about their employees and their future.
It helps the individual to develop excitement about creating a new life for themselves. We all want an excited colleague in a team.
Feelings of anxiety, fear and stress are eliminated and may help ease the transition for the employee.
It helps the individual and the company to transfer skills to younger team members in a very harmonious way thereby impacting productivity in a positive manner.
It results in a win-win situation for both the employee and the organisation.
In conclusion, I believe every organisation wants to be remembered by its former employees as the best company to work for and retire from and this is crucial for the brand.
The above is also relevant for retrenchment processes. Get the employees excited about the future, it is very important for the morale even for those who remain behind when they know that their colleagues’ futures are being taken care of.
About the author
My name is Maluke Lethale, I am a Qualified NLP and ORSC Coach with an interest in transformational coaching within the workplace and in general.
My coaching methodology while focusing on professional development is holistic in nature, embracing the fact that as professionals we bring the whole person to the workplace and interact with others as such.