Transitioning to Retirement - Greg Weiss

Preparing Your Workforce for Transitioning to Retirement

I recently vacationed in Vietnam and while there chatted with a number of recently retired former managers and leaders sipping mojitos in the sun.

While most enjoyed their freedom, there was a real sense of loss of foundation, loss of worth, loss of sense of belonging and relevance. In more than one incident, I heard about people who died within two years of their retirement, essentially their spirit dying before their body did.

As HR leaders, you understand the importance of fostering a talented and engaged workforce. But what happens when those valuable employees approach retirement? 

Traditionally, the focus has been on financial preparedness. However, a successful transition requires more than just a healthy nest egg. This article explores the concept of retirement as a transition phase, and outlines five key steps to support your employees’ mental well-being during this significant life change. We’ll also delve into the benefits of implementing a retirement readiness program, demonstrating why it’s not just the employee who wins in this process.

Why Retirement is More Than Just a Financial Decision

Retirement is often romanticised as a time of leisure and relaxation. While that may be part of the picture, the reality is that leaving the structure and social connection of a workplace can be a significant adjustment.

Numerous studies have found that retirees who lack a sense of purpose after leaving the workforce experience higher rates of depression and social isolation.

This highlights the importance of mental preparation alongside financial planning.

Five Steps to Support Your Employees’ Mental Transition

Here are five steps you can take to help your employees navigate the emotional and social aspects of retirement:

  1. Open Communication: Create a culture where open conversations about retirement are encouraged. Offer pre-retirement workshops or individual consultations with financial advisors who can address both financial and non-financial concerns.
  2. Phased Retirement Options: Consider offering phased retirement programs that allow employees to reduce their workload over time gradually. This can ease the transition, provide valuable mentorship to younger colleagues, and help maintain a sense of connection to the workplace.
  3. Volunteer and Second-Career Opportunities: Partner with local volunteer organisations or explore the possibility of creating a company mentorship program to connect soon-to-be retirees with potential second-career opportunities. This allows them to leverage their experience while pursuing new passions.
  4. Social Activities and Support Groups: Organise social events or connect employees with existing retiree networks. This fosters a sense of community and belonging post-retirement.
  5. Focus on Wellness: Promote healthy lifestyle choices and offer resources on stress management and mental well-being. A healthy body and mind are essential for enjoying a fulfilling retirement.

The Business Case for Supporting Pre-Retirement Employees

Investing in your employees’ pre-retirement well-being isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s good business sense. Here’s how a well-designed retirement readiness program can benefit your organisation:

  • Retention of Valuable Talent: By easing the transition to retirement, you can encourage experienced employees to stay on board for a longer period. This allows them to transfer their knowledge and skills to younger colleagues, ensuring a smooth knowledge handover.
  • Improved Morale and Productivity: Employees who feel supported by their company during this life change are likely to be more engaged and productive. A happier workforce translates into better customer service and overall company performance.
  • Enhanced Employer Brand: A reputation for supporting employees throughout their careers, including pre-retirement planning, makes your organisation a more attractive employer to top talent.
  • Reduced Costs: A well-planned transition can help minimise the disruption caused by employee departures. This translates to lower recruitment and training costs.

Making it Happen: Building a Retirement Readiness Program

Developing a comprehensive retirement readiness program can be manageable. Here are some key considerations:

  • Tailored Approach: Recognise that different employees have varying needs and interests. Offer a range of resources and program options to cater to these diverse needs.
  • Expert Guidance: Partner with financial advisors and retirement planning specialists who can provide personalised advice to your employees.
  • Communication is Key: Promote your program effectively through internal communication channels. Encourage employees nearing retirement to participate actively.


Retirement is a significant life change, and supporting your employees through this transition is an investment that benefits everyone.

By fostering open communication, offering flexible work arrangements, and providing resources for mental and social well-being, you can ensure a smooth and fulfilling transition for your valued employees, while strengthening your organisation in the process.

Do you need help with supporting your employees?

Want to support your employees through restructures and redundancy with effective onboarding, stay interviews, offboarding, and outplacement programs? Get in touch with me today to organise a 1-1 call to see how Career365 can support you and your team. Click here for more information.


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