Traditionally retirement is synonymous with relaxation and leisure, but as many retirees discover it also surfaces unanticipated feelings of irrelevance and disengagement. Interestingly, a growing number of retired professionals are choosing to re-enter the workforce. This transition not only facilitates sharing accumulated wisdom and skills but also stimulates mental engagement. For organisations, it unlocks the benefits of a diverse, multigenerational workforce.
However, in the pursuit of creating inclusive workplaces, age diversity often remains overshadowed by other diversity facets such as race, gender, and sexual orientation. It is important to acknowledge age as a critical dimension of diversity. A PWC study from 2019 revealed that only 8% of companies include age in their diversity and inclusion strategies. A multigenerational workforce offers organisations access to a treasure trove of experience, knowledge, and perspectives spanning various age groups.
How organisations benefit from retirees rejoining the workforce:
Mentoring younger generations
The modern workforce can reap substantial benefits from the influence of senior professionals mentoring younger cohorts. This mentorship serves as a bridge across experience levels, enabling seasoned experts to impart their extensive knowledge and expertise to emerging talents. Decades of industry-specific insights empower young professionals to rapidly grasp subtleties that might otherwise take years to acquire. This knowledge exchange propels accelerated growth and competence.
Mentorship extends beyond technical expertise, catalysing soft skill development such as leadership and communication. Senior professionals assume the role of career guides, aiding younger colleagues in setting practical goals and opening doors to expansive networks. This not only fosters career-advancing opportunities but also nurtures self-assuredness, inspiring mentees to embrace significant challenges. As mentors, retired professionals cultivate a supportive ambiance propelling younger peers toward success, encouraging a culture of growth, learning, and excellence.
Impact in the social sector
Retired professionals are an untapped resource for non-profits and social organisations. Many retirees are eager to rejoin the workforce, not just for activity but to contribute significantly to causes they're passionate about. Part-time and full-time roles in the social sector present a mutually beneficial solution, enabling retirees to channel skills and expertise towards bridging resource gaps. Their contributions in skill areas like finance and human resources, strategic planning, programme management, and mentorship can substantially elevate the sector's potential for positive change. This choice often stems from a profound sense of purpose and a drive to create tangible impact, as retirees bring not only skills but also dedication and passion.
The retiree's perspective
Retirement brings a sense of accomplishment but often leaves retirees searching for renewed purpose. The absence of a structured routine and professional validation creates a void. Returning to work, even on a smaller scale, offers the opportunity for meaningful engagement, providing both occupation and renewed purpose. Post-retirement work facilitates ongoing human interaction and learning, yielding substantial mental and emotional benefits. It stimulates the mind, preserving mental agility and lifelong skill refinement. The work environment helps retirees rediscover the significance of their contributions, restoring feelings of respect and relevance. Being active and embracing challenges boosts self-esteem and overall well-being.
Multigenerational workplaces: A win-win
Returning to work post-retirement is not solely about personal fulfilment and financial security; it's also about building a more inclusive and dynamic workplace. Retirees experience renewed purpose, mental stimulation, and an improved quality of life. Simultaneously, organisations gain from the wisdom, experience, and strong work ethic that seasoned professionals bring. Embracing this multigenerational approach fosters a symbiotic scenario where retirees thrive while significantly contributing to the workplace, bridging generational gaps, and fostering a harmonious and productive environment. The return to the workforce enriches both personal and professional aspects of retirees' lives. With an increase in longevity, in time we expect more organisations will incorporate a multigenerational workforce.