One of the best ways to improve your employee retention strategies is to promote from within. Because growth is one of the most important elements in driving employee retention, you need to capitalize on retirements as a way to promote from within and provide growth to your existing employees. As an employee retention speaker and employee retention expert, moving an existing employee into a vacancy created by retirement is ideal.
Unfortunately, we miss out on using retirements as a way to promote from within. Many employees who are contemplating retirement are scared to death to bring it up for fear they will be “pushed out.” They don’t know how the organization will react so the organization has the retirement sprung on them and can’t have an internal person ready. Result: we have to go to the outside to hire someone that can fill the hole left by an unplanned retirement. I solve that problem by bringing the topic up to the employee. Let’s be honest. Unless you are asleep at the wheel, you will pick up on talk through the grapevine that someone is thinking about it. Then, you need to be open, honest and have an adult conversation with the person who is contemplating retirement. But, most organizations are paranoid about being sued so they never do. Get over it.
I have found that most people want to transition out smoothly and are not sure how, or exactly when they want to do it. So I ask them. I tell them I have heard the rumor and because we want to promote from within we want to ensure that when “they are ready” to retire, we want to have an internal replacement prepared because we do believe in promotion from within. I am open and honest with them. I then ask if they’re willing to help us in the transition so that we can do it right when “they are ready” to retire. Guess what the reaction is? Most employees are relieved. They have been wanting to bring it up but were concerned about how it would be taken. We then develop a plan of action together.
Everyone wins. The employee who can plan for retirement. The organization that can prepare to fill the vacancy when “they are ready” to retire. Lastly, so does the internal person who will be the replacement. They get to smoothly move into the role and don’t have to look to leave in order to grow. Everyone wins when you do it this way AND you improve your employee retention at the same time.