Helping employees remain active and engaged in their work may result in them choosing to retire later—and even live longer.
Examining data from the long-term Healthy Retirement Study led by the University of Michigan, Oregon State University researchers found that healthy adults who retired one year past age 65 had an 11 percent lower risk of death from all causes (even while taking into account demographic, lifestyle and health issues). Adults describing themselves as unhealthy also fared well when they kept working. In other words, the economic and social benefits of work may impact mortality post-retirement, says lead author Chenkai Wu.
Couple this research with other studies showing people are retiring later anyway, and HR professionals should be paying attention.
“Baby Boomers “may ‘retire’ into a different job but won’t stop working,” says Robin Throckmorton, co-author of Bridging the Generation Gap (2007) and president of Cincinnati-based strategic HR, inc. Money, connectedness, and enjoyment are all at play, she adds.
Employers must be aware and supportive in their hiring and retention programs. Older workers are a great “buy,” Throckmorton says. “They have great experiences, are not always interested in continuing to grow the corporate ladder, are loyal until the end and are adaptable.” Yet she often seeing hiring managers fear being able to afford older workers, and that they’ll get trained and then retire. A mindset shift is needed about their value.
The longevity research also points to the need for the right messaging about retirement plans and planning.
Companies without retirement plans tend to seek employee retention “as long as it’s a mutual fit,” Throckmorton notes. Those with plans looking to support the desire of people to work longer should change ensure the plan doesn’t penalize anyone for continuing to work.
Yet many companies have competing interests with employees looking to work longer, since their salary and benefits cost more, says Joshua P. Itzoe, a partner and managing director of Greenspring Wealth Management, based in Towson, Maryland and Atlanta and offering retirement plan consulting services.
Companies with a more paternalistic culture and mission, meanwhile, may well buy into the longevity research. These employers, Itzoe says, value experienced workers for their contributions and “care about the long-term success, and health, of their people.”
Let CareerCo help you attract quality employees you’ll want to work longer for you: Start now…