Bridging jobs can be a fantastic way to support and prepare employees looking towards retirement, but are they right for your company?
Bridging jobs aim to offer people that are approaching retirement a more gentle transition. For HR departments they can give you an effective way of ensuring these employees have the level of support they need as they get prepared for this significant period of change.
However, they may not work for every company and every person involved. So how do you know whether bridging jobs will be effective?
Research from the universities of East Anglia, Essex, Reading and Sheffield found that these roles, which look at employees going part-time or being more flexible with their hours, could make older workers feel a lot happier.
It's thought that bridging jobs can help ease some of the emotional trauma that many people can experience when it comes to heading into retirement.
Nancy Hey, director of the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, which commissioned the research, said: "Good work is really important for our overall life satisfaction and how we retire matters. When we've gone around the UK asking what quality of life looks like, the importance of wellbeing at work consistently comes up."
She said policy needs to reflect the changing patterns and ways of working and how this affects people as they retire. Ms Hey added that the sudden shift from employed to retired just "isn’t working".
Past generations saw the official retirement age as the cut off point for their career, but now a lot more people are seeing this as a period where they will start adjusting their work schedule to prepare for retirement.
Easing the transition
Companies may think that once people retire, they have no responsibility to them and this is true to some degree. However, constructively managing an ageing workforce and making it clear that you are prepared to help older employees better prepare for their retirement means your brand is going to be much more attractive to more mature workers.
Having older employees look on your company favorably can be a massive benefit, giving you access to much more experience and expertise. If bridging jobs are implemented in the right way, they can provide a much-needed support network for people who may be uneasy about suddenly stopping work.
Look at the individual employee
Some people count down the days until they can afford to retire, while others wonder what they will do will themselves when they no longer have a job to throw themselves into. It's important that you recognize that both of these employees will probably exist in your company, and many who are somewhere in between.
As with any policy that you want to implement, make sure that bridging jobs are not seen as a one-size-fits-all. Instead you'll need to identify employees that may be considering this and reaching out to them, telling them the options and support that is available to them.
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