The study found that 77% of responding organizations do not currently have a phased retirement program in place. As its name implies, "phased retirement" allows an employee who is approaching retirement to continue employment with a reduced workload. Phased retirement takes many forms, including part-time, seasonal or temporary work, or even an extended leave of absence, but it typically involves having an older employee gradually reduce his or her work hours over time.
Sixty-eight percent of survey respondents said they don't currently have initiatives to encourage the retention of retirement-eligible employees. A number of respondents who do not offer such initiatives admit that the subject hasn't even been addressed, or that they don't see it as an immediate priority.
"It's remarkable that so few companies are proactively addressing retirement issues," says Jay Jamrog, i4cp's SVP of research, "especially when you consider the wave of Baby Boomers who are almost eligible for retirement now. You would think that more companies would be paying attention to ways of capturing and keeping all that accumulated knowledge. Unfortunately, it appears most will probably not worry about it until the day they see it walking out the door for good."
The study did suggest, however, that a small number of companies are at least considering phased retirement options: 10% of respondents are planning to institute such programs. Said one respondent: "We recognize the need to 'formalize' a program, but have not done so yet. Some of the more progressive areas of the company are working with potential retirees to help transition them into retirement and [to enable the company to] benefit by obtaining the knowledge the future retiree has acquired." And someone who does retire is often brought back: 62% of survey respondents say they rehire retired employees on a part-time basis.
Of the organizations that currently offer phased retirement options, half say they have a formal policy regarding the issue. But these companies are lukewarm on their policies' effectiveness; just two in 10 say they feel their phased retirement programs are successful to a high extent. More than two-thirds (67%) view their programs as successful to "some" extent or to a "moderate" extent.
The Taking the Pulse: Phased Retirement survey was conducted by i4cp, in conjunction with HR.com, in April 2008. A total of 267 organizations participated. The full results of the survey are available exclusively to all i4cp corporate members.
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