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Making the transition to retirement

It's easy to underestimate the radical lifestyle changes that people undergo when they retire. While many may wistfully imagine happy days on the golf course or pruning roses in a sunlit garden, there are some who have found a very different reality, including social isolation, loss of purpose, reduced income, relocation, illness and bereavement.

With the current economic backdrop and the challenges of austerity and rising health and care needs, it's arguably more important than ever that organisations do what they can to support retirees through the transition.

There's a strong business case for adequate investment in retirement planning and creating opportunities for 'flexible retirement'. Such initiatives may enable employers to retain skilled and experienced workers, and reduce recruitment costs. Estimates suggest it may cost a business around £12,000 to replace a senior employee.

It's up to organisations to decide what resources they can allocate to retirement and transition planning - some larger ones may have a team dedicated to the task - but a retirement meeting and a letter sent home are unlikely to provide the depth of help that individuals need.

Offering pre-retirement training to employees will help them prepare for financial and personal changes, plan ahead, and give space for both parties to find ways to make the change more easily. Moving to flexible or part-time work may give those near retirement a chance to keep in touch with peers, develop skills, and generate an income - all of which will smooth the transition when it comes. Other possibilities may include job-sharing, changing roles, or getting staff to coach or mentor younger employees to pass on their expertise and improve continuity.

Keeping in touch with retired workers gives them a link to old friends and colleagues, while affording employers a chance to offer casual, temporary or consultancy work, or perhaps find help to cover staff absence, holidays or busy periods.

Acas provides practical training on issues surrounding Age and the repeal of the Default Retirement Age as well as Flexible working, and also gives detailed advice on the latter in the Advisory booklet - Flexible working and work-life balance .

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects page for more information.

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