A retiring employee is a testament to your caliber as an employer. If someone devoted most of their life in service to your company — then it must have been an excellent place to work in. However, what happens to that retiree after leaving also reflects on your company — and retirees need help more than ever.
Happy Retirees — Happy Workplace
Almost every retiree has friends in the workplace — whether you employ thousands like Verizon or Google or just a handful from a small franchise. Former colleagues might get together to share a beer from time to time or even spend some time during the weekends. While retirees won’t often talk about their problems, a hint or two can reach the workplace.
For most retirees, a dried-up retirement fund is scarier than the prospect of dying. Unfortunately, this fear has a basis and the problems of Social Security only add up to it. The 401k, as well as the pension benefits, you provide them is essentially their lifeline — and you need it to be robust to ensure their comfortable retirement.
Fortify Their 401k Plan
With Social Security on shaky ground (with 20 percent or more in cuts to benefits predicted by 2035), your retiring employees will be relying heavily on their pension. Unfortunately, most of your workers might only be living in the present — neglecting their 401k plan and not thinking of their retirement days. Most Americans have less than $100,000 on their 401ks and it would be a stretch to make that amount last for 15 years or more.
Make sure to remind them of the importance of putting money into their 401k. Consult your accountants and try to match as much as you can (your contributions are tax-deductible, making them practically free). Once an employee hits 50, make sure HR informs them that they can — and should — increase their 401k contributions to make up for inadequate contributions during the past years. You can even suggest investment managers who can grow their 401k — just make sure they have a good track record and a sterling reputation.
Foster a Healthy Environment
Possibly two of the biggest drains on retirement funds are healthcare and hospitalization costs. While your company is unlikely to influence those two factors — it can reduce your retired workers’ need for them. Wellness programs are a good way to make your employees a little bit fitter and put them on track to a healthier future. Studies performed by large corporations have reported a 5$ savings on every dollar spent on employee wellness. These savings come in the form of increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and increased worker satisfaction.
Make it easier for them to exercise and incentivize fitness goals with monetary rewards (e.g. an annual $500 check for maintaining or losing weight). Serve up healthy snacks in the lunchroom or partner-up with a health food provider to give your employees discounts and incentives.
While your company isn’t obligated to take care of its employees upon retirement, it should still put them in a position to flourish and have a comfortable life. Your employees have served you well all their lives — it’s up to you to make the rest of it a little bit better.