When I talk with managers during my workshops I often hear ‘X has switched off but as they have less than 2 yrs before retirement it is not worth the hassle and upset of getting them to improve their performance’.
To my mind this approach never has been a strong management solution. It gives the workforce a clear demonstration that in certain circumstances you can ‘get away’ with doing very little, to say nothing of irritating good staff who find themselves making up for a poor performer who continues to bank the same salary as them. Basically, this approach could lose you the respect of your team.
It is natural for staff to lose motivation and drive when they see the end in sight. There have been occasions when all of us have found it hard to complete that last month of notice period before starting a new job. And it is also natural for people to start focussing on the activities they plan to do during retirement. This is, after all, one of life’s major transitions.
However, it is not fair, or right, that they should be slacking off in their efforts when they are still being paid to deliver results.
But how to motivate soon-to-be retirees for that last couple of years? After all these employees have significant strengths, talents and breadth of experience gained over many years. Your task as a manager is to find ways to utilise all of these attributes before they go. Some ideas for you to consider:
- Identify an important project for them to complete with a clear and significant deadline to hit.
- Assign them to train to new and inexperienced staff. Formally recognise their expertise and ask them to pass on all that hard won knowledge to those following on behind.
- Talk to them about the type of retirement party they want to have. Do they want a party where people are polite, sign a card and then go back to their desks secretly grateful they have gone? Or do they want a party full of thanks, appreciate and cries of ‘How will we survive without you!’ The choice, as they say, is theirs.
Have you been successful in motivating retirees for that last couple of years? If so, please share what has worked for you by adding a comment below.