Retiring is one of life’s big steps. It can be an important and emotional moment for you, your colleagues, and your family as you step away from an often-long career into the next phase of your life.
One of the common conversations we have with clients concerns how best to communicate the news of their retirement to their employer, close colleagues, family, and friends. This is something that often needs to be done sensitively, so here are some helpful tips on how you might share your news.
Make sure it’s a team effort
When we speak to couples, it’s often clear that the concept of “retirement” has very different meanings for each individual. For some, it’s about putting their feet up and spending more time with their family. For others, it’s about foreign travel, new hobbies and, in the words of the song, “living la vida loca”.
The first step is to talk to your partner or spouse about your plans. Retirement is a joint effort, so ensure you’re both aware of your intentions and make a plan together. You’ll then benefit from the confidence and peace of mind that it’s a joint effort.
With regard to your family, your retirement choices can have an impact on your children, especially if you’re supporting them financially. So, it’s vital that you broach the subject in a constructive way and explain why you’re doing it and what your plans (including your financial plans) for the future are.
Your retirement plans can and will change as time goes on, so having your partner and family on the journey is important. Most of the time, your children will be thrilled for you!
Managing your exit from work
When we speak to clients, they often share the same concerns. They don’t want their departure to be awkward, but also don’t want to face huge pressure in the last few months of their job. Most want a structured and organised exit that allows them to hand over responsibilities in a timely manner and leave on the best terms.
A good first step is to give your management as much notice as you can. There are no hard and fast rules concerning how much notice is expected, as this will vary from person to person, and company to company. It might be up to six months or a year if you’re in a senior or skilled role.
You should give management enough time to ensure a smooth transition, but not so much time that you’re perceived as a lame duck.
In terms of your colleagues, it can be important to manage this process carefully too, otherwise you run the risk of important people finding out about your plans by accident or from a third party. Many of your colleagues will remain in your network after you retire, so it’s important to manage these relationships carefully.
Announcing your plans to colleagues at a team meeting or event, before management make the news public, is often a good tactic.
It can also pay to send personal notes to important colleagues – especially if you’re not going to be able to share the news with everyone in person.
So, before the announcement, draft personal emails to everyone that’s important to you – colleagues and professional connections – time stamp the emails and release them immediately after you have told your team. While the core message might be the same, take the time to personalise each email so the recipient feels valued.
While your colleagues and staff might be surprised by your news, hearing it at the same time as everyone else can pay dividends.
What to share
So, we’ve looked at how you share your news. What’s also important is what you tell family, friends, and colleagues.
If you’re looking for a new challenge when you retire, and you’re open to new opportunities, it’s important to frame your message in these terms:
Talk about “a new challenge” or “the next stage in your life”. This lets people know that you might be receptive to potential conversations about work or opportunities in the future.
Explain to people exactly what you’ll be doing next – extended trips, writing a book, or becoming a non-executive director, for example. This demonstrates to people that you’re leaving with a purpose in mind.
Of course, you don’t have to do all of these things on the first morning you wake up as a retired person! It’s OK not to do anything for a few months, or even a year, if you want to get into a rhythm and not put too much pressure on yourself.
Get in touch
To find out how we can help you achieve the retirement you want – whatever that means to you – please get in touch. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01621 851 563.