Flexible and Phased Retirement

Employers and advocates have merely talked about “phased retirement” for decades. Rather than enabling longtime contributors to ease into retirement, the last chapter of work has been marked by decades of mandatory termination or early buyouts. A common assumption: 65 is most people’s “sell-by date.”

Times have changed. People want and need to work longer. Proven talent is growing scarce. And knowledge workers are departing with valuable intellectual property. More flexible, creative approaches – Respectful Exits – are required.

Beyond 62 or 65 and out, employers and employees can collaborate on customized schedules that extend individual work lives and yield continuing contribution, knowledge capture and intensive mentoring. To explore the value and challenges of flexible and phased retirement, click on the colored panels.  Some of the unique and proven phased options are pictured below them.

Partial Reduction

A schedule reduction from 100 to 80% that lasts 1-2 years is the simplest version of a ”Respectful Exit.” The duration can be set at other percentages and longer periods, such as 70% for 3-4 years.

Phased Reduction

This less common option offers reductions in annual increments such as 100-90-80-70% or a variation. This more flexible reduction process can fit the desire of many older workers to gradually adjust to retirement.

Full Flexibility

Retirement is often driven by the pressure to conform to traditional and unduly taxing ways of working. The combination of telework, flextime and compressed schedules can offer a transition to other forms of Respectful Exit – or enable exit/re-entry options over time on a full- or part-time basis.

Collaborative Contracting

Most older workers who are offer “phased retirement” actually sever ties and return as contract employees without benefits. Contracting can be a respectful option with fair compensation to offset the cost of lost benefits.

Intensive Mentoring

Knowledge transfer can be integrated into reduced schedules and include specific mentoring commitments. Or it can be a part of work redesign that allows a “new” full-time job – combining reduced work with a dedicated mentoring role.