on Organizations, Third Agers and Retirement
James H. Krefft, Ph.D
ongoing series exploring the kinds of large-scale changes organizations
will have to make to survive the never-before-seen, across-the-board
discontinuity that will be caused by the crush of Boomer retirements in
the next 5-15 years. Organizations that put in place a comprehensive continuity
plan for making these gut-wrenching transformations will survive, even
thrive. The rest will rot
should take an interest in the question: How should organizations
redefine retirement? And,
stakeholders in the vital redefinition issue fall into one or more of
four groups: stewards, prospective retirees, affiliates, and retirees. Stewards include anyone who has as a part of his or
her job an accountability (specific or general) for the continuity and
survivability of an organization. Put
all together, the people who do these kinds of jobs every day constitute
an organization’s continuity infrastructure.
Anyone who spends chunks of time
pondering the question, “Should I stay, or should I go?” falls into
the prospective retirees group.
You know who you are: you can quote crime statistics like an FBI
agent, rates of return like an investment banker, and travel options
like a cruise director. If retirement planning were Three-Card Monty, you’d be a
Affiliates are non-employees who have, or had, an
ongoing relationship with a business, nonprofit, or government
non-employees may either be former employees or professionals,
technicians, and paraprofessionals who work independently but whose
livelihood is closely tied to organizations.
why these stakeholders should care about how organizations choose, or
choose not, to redefine retirement in the 21st Century.
Unstoppably, three waves of change are converging on today’s
organizations, and when these waves of change come together they will
create the conditions for “A Perfect Drought” – a drought in
organizational competency. The
‘War for Talent’ is coming back, a relapse that will threaten the
health of organizations across the board.
forecast that these three waves of change are moving our way: a
demographic Santa Ana wind; a distracted workforce heatwave; and a
productivity downdraft. Over
the last few years many prognosticators have been blaring trumpets
regarding the demographic Santa Ana wind currently being
triggered by the graying of the Baby Boomer generation, but fewer
forecasters have paid attention to the now intensifying distracted
workforce heatwave or to the productivity downdraft looming
on the horizon.
eye-popping numbers associated with the Boomers are easy to find and
easy to quote. The trend
lines bring gasps from audiences, shake actuaries to their souls, and
send gerontologists running for Geritol.
10,000 people a day are retiring, and the number is going to keep
going up until 2025.
older a worker gets, the more he or she is at risk of being distracted
on the job. The social
thermals at work in the distracted workforce heatwave are more difficult
to pinpoint because many of them are emotional in nature.
The distractions faced by
workers in their 50s can be deeply personal.
productivity downdraft will hit when the current “productivity
bubble” bursts. By
downsizing and concentrating key organizational and technical know-how
into fewer and fewer hands, leaders have now placed their enterprises at
risk for a new reason. When
the 50-somethings begin to check out, the bubble is going to burst.
We’re looking right at the productivity bubble, right now, and
we are refusing to believe what we are seeing.
Part 3 of this series we’ll discuss these three waves of change in
Copyright 2004 James H. Krefft, Ph.D.
and The Center for Third Age Leadership, LLC
Krefft is an author, consultant, and President of The Center for Third