The end of the affair?

Article Index

The relationship between employee and employer can often be a long and fruitful one. Like all relationships there will be ups and downs, yet each will come to rely on the other party to a surprising degree. Yet at retirement age, the employee is often cast adrift by the employer with little practical assistance on offer.

What employers often fail to appreciate is that the act of taking retirement can be a traumatic time for the retiree. Virtually everything changes overnight: income, expenditure, friendships with colleagues, home relationships and health issues are all suddenly thrown into flux.

Whilst this issue may seem of little immediate concern to many hard-pressed employers, there are some compelling reasons why an enlightened organisation will seek to provide some practical assistance to those employees about to retire.

What’s in it for the employer?

The first point for the employer to consider is that of public relations in the local community. If the retiring employee is provided with no assistance at this important point in their life, it’s quite possible that they will feel the years of hard work have not been appreciated. The danger here is that the retiree may voice their negativity to friends and family, or worse still, on the internet. Conversely, when some practical assistance at retirement is provided, the retired employee is more likely to act as a positive ambassador for the former employer. PR does matter. Businesses often live or die by how they are perceived, so the more positive the background noise generated by the retired employee, the better for the business.

By the same token, the employer also needs to appreciate the potential impact of the retired employee on the colleagues they leave behind. The retired employee will probably maintain contact with many ex-colleagues, and if the separation is not well managed it’s likely that some negativity will be passed back to them. This in turn could damage employee engagement levels, which can have a tangible impact on the employer’s bottom-line.

And don’t forget that the employer may need some future help from the now retired employee. Influencing long-term clients, locum cover, and inherent knowledge may all be areas where the employer will need to seek help from the retiree. A little good-will can go a long way here.

Providing pre-retirement courses can also benefit employers in other ways. One such area centres on the employee’s financial ability to retire. With the employer no longer able to retire their employees on age grounds alone, the retirement decision will probably only be made when the employee feels that there is sufficient retirement income to retire in comfort. This could easily turn into workforce stagnation, and that can be a real problem for many employers. 

Pre-retirement courses can lessen this issue. Often employees do not fully understand the changes in tax thresholds and state benefits to which they may be entitled. Considering debt payments, downsizing, and equity release can all change the employee’s perception of when retirement is possible. 
So, providing assistance at retirement should be a win-win for the employer. So what is available and how can the employer access such services? 

What practical assistance can be offered?

Below are just a few of the topics that an enlightened employer may wish to consider offering in a pre-retirement course:

  • Financial issues in retirement

Many employees have been saving for their retirement in a defined contribution pension scheme. Such schemes allow the employee to build up a fund of money, and it is only at retirement that the employees choose the type of pension income to be taken. This decision is often one of the biggest single purchases employees will make in their lifetime, yet many do so without any advice.

Annuity options can vary between level and escalating income, including a spouse’s pension, impaired life, and investment-linked options. So it’s important really to understand all these issues and shop around for the best income deals in the marketplace.

And as mentioned earlier, retirement brings many other changes to income and expenditure. Fully understanding the building blocks of retirement finance can really empower the retiree to understand the key decisions in front of them.

  • Health and relationships in retirement

Another important area to focus on is the change that retirement inevitably brings to routine and relationships.

On the health front, understanding how to manage diet and exercise is important, but so too is highlighting the options that a retiree can consider to give post-work life a new structure. Areas to consider can include volunteering, hobbies, and further education. All of these items can go a long way to filling the void after work and help the individual to stay fit and alert. 

It should also be recognised that retirement can sometimes put a strain on relationships between partners, and also change the perception of the individual within the family unit. So these items should be considered as well.

The aim here is to arm the retiree with all the information they need to ensure they can get the best out of their retirement years.

  • The later years

Finally, and not least, some retirees will want to consider the longer term. A chief concern of many pensioners is the desire not to become a burden on their family in later years. Early planning in areas such making a will, medical insurance, and the possible funding options to provide care in later life will all help to avoid such issues.


Many of the above items can be provided at relatively low cost as components of pre-retirement seminars, workshops, or webinars. Regardless of how the support is offered, the employer can provide some valuable support to their employees on the journey into retirement. And if the employer does this willingly, then it’s likely to be beneficial for both parties. Retirement might well be the end of the employment relationship, but a little help from the employer will probably help everyone to remain good friends.


Add comment

Security code

Forgotten your password?

I'd like to subscribe
Subscribers only - te law will answer your employment law queries. Find out more about our email support

Now there's more ways to stay in touch

Join Us on Linked in Become our Fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter