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Why retirement costs companies more than the price of a gold watch

Now with more than 25% of the corporate workforce starting to hit 60 years of age in the next three years, it is imperative that companies have in place a strategy for older workers for preserving knowledge capital, relationships and technical skills. In a recent (March 2004) Harvard Business Review article It’s Time to Retire Retirement, author and researcher Ken Dychtwald says that at a time when early retirement packages are still common, businesses are facing a rapid shrinking of our most knowledgeable and most highly skilled workers. Dychtwald also predicts that the workforce population between the ages of 35 and 44 – the prime executive development years – will actually decline; resulting in an even greater battle in the “war for talent”.

Employers can do two things to improve this situation

Employers need to:

  have a genuine understanding of the true value of corporate knowledge and the cost of loosing that knowledge
  offer employees more choice/incentive in how to manage their work career through the last transition of the workforce management cycle.

Among those age 55 and older who are eligible for early retirement one-third have gone back to work.(Dychtwald) According to Dychtwald It’s not that they were tired of the work; they were increasingly frustrated by their lack of choice in determining how that work should occur. Take away or minimize that frustration and workers will reward their employers with loyalty instead of moving on to other more flexible opportunities possibly including the competition.

Employees need to know the options available for them and that they can explore these options in an open confidential and understanding environment. By presenting mechanisms for employees to determine their possibilities from a broader perspective that is not just work and performance based decreases their frustration while creating a new level of excitement and fulfillment that is driven by an opportunity for better quality of life and a sense that they are truly working for an enlightened employer.

The Best-Half

The Best-Half, is a process that has been created for employees to define in their own terms what their future will look like as individuals, partners and valued business contributors.

For employers The Best-Half solution results in loyal and engaged employees who declare their intentions in a timely way and who can transfer their valuable cumulative knowledge and expertise prior to a planned departure. This transfer can take place in an orderly and cost-effective manner.

Past participants in The Best-Half viewed the process as “a preparation course for the future” and a “refocusing of ones life on how to craft a fulfilling future” and “a program that offers genuine value”.

*It’s Time to Retire Retirement, Ken Dychtwald Harvard Business Review, March 2004
*Leaving Work, Managing one of Life’s Pivotal Transitions, James Nininger, Conference Board of Canada, Nov. 2002

The Best-Half process helps organizations in:

  Succession planning for executive positions by having employees declare their transition timeline
  Developing retention strategies that encourage innovative employment relationships for employees
  Capturing and transferring intellectual capital from transitioning employees
  Rewarding and recognizing long service employees when their value to the organization is greatest
  Showing employees that they are valuable contributors to an enlightened employer

The Best-Half process helps participants in:

  Making the right decisions about career planning in the last stage of the work force continuum;
  Determining the preferred mix of business, volunteerism, leisure and family;
  Creating a vision and a commitment to an exciting future.
  Creating options for fulfilling their commitments to business and family;
  Preparing for the essential psychological outcomes of retirement

The Best-Half Discovery Forum

The pivotal experience of The Best-Half Process is a one and a half day Discovery Forum. The Discovery Forum is facilitated using whole process group facilitation techniques, The Best-Half provides individuals and couples with proprietary structured opportunities for communication, self discovery and inquiry that culminate in the development of a Best-Half Commitment Plan. The exercises take place in an atmosphere of trust and collegiality. Follow up coaching occurs that results in outcome sustainability.

Clients of The Best-Half speak of the significant benefit of being able to take time to focus on the future using the skills of expert facilitators. A significant benefit of The Best-Half is the luxury of being listened to in a supportive setting where there is opportunity for creative expression and dialogue about the future in a structured program environment.

The Best-Half experience is valuable, cost effective, leading edge, innovative and proven to work. It has been built from the ground up to appeal to individuals and their spouses/partners who are contemplating retirement or have a defined timetable for transition. The Best-Half has been developed by individuals with expertise in facilitation, communications, human resources, coaching and behavoural science.


The Best Half comes at a critical time when approximately one-third of individuals who retire face difficulties with the transition and when companies are beginning to invest in exploring options and opportunities for a planned transition. The Conference Board of Canada* concludes that “Preparing for retirement needs to be an integral part of human resource planning and that organizations would best help their employees – and themselves- by offering comprehensive seminars on this transition.”
The Best-Half is a timely workforce solution that demonstrates a firm’s commitment as an enlightened employer that differentiates itself in the marketplace as having innovative and pioneering processes in human asset management.


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