January 30, 2013
Jack Ma is the talk of the town, with some people postulating that his decision to retire as CEO of the Alibaba group at the age of 48 is an indication that 50 is the new 65. Surprisingly, they seem to be missing the small additional detail that Jack Ma is an extremely wealthy man who can choose to retire or take less stressful roles. For most others, the reality is far less exciting. Recent economic conditions have increased the cost of living while reducing the ability to save for retirement. The result – retired people are returning to work – with enthusiastic employers welcoming them back as employees or independent contractors to provide specialized and expert services.
If a worker wishes to assume a fully active role (or even a partial one) – what would be better than returning to one’s former employer? Both parties know that there is a cultural fit and the retiree can contribute from day one. However, there are factors to consider so that neither the retiree nor employer is penalized for not complying with employment regulations.
Some strategies, to help in attracting workers back to the fold:
- Create a network of valued alumni online. Help them to keep in touch with each other, while you stay in touch with them too. Post available opportunities on the forum and ask for referrals or applications. Recognize and treat them as an important and accessible talent pool.
- Use online professional networks, referrals and partner groups to reach out to non-alumni retirees
- Look for retirees when you are seeking personnel to work on a limited time project.
- Derive the benefits of having a senior person on board, with the ability to stay oriented to organizational goals when compared to younger individuals.
- Check in advance to ensure that retired workers who participate in a pension plan would not lose pension benefits if they decide to return to work. Pending legislation (Phased Retirement Liberalization Act) would allow the payment of pensions while the qualified participant (after the normal retirement age of 59½ or the completion of 30 years of service – whichever is earlier) remains employed. However, that protection doesn’t yet exist.
Even with senior workers, it would be necessary to have an on-boarding process in place. All employees, regardless of age, should be subjected to a rigorous review of background checks and substance abuse testing.. Onboarding may also require special accommodations to create a productive work environment for the retiree. Remember, retirees can provide a level of stability not found with other workers seeking opportunities for career advancement. In fact, numerous studies show that the unplanned attrition rate of returning retirees is significantly lower than for the worker population at large. A planned approach to bringing retirees back into the fold can yield great benefits.
The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.