Retirement is a rewarding milestone every employee can look forward to. A journey to plan for, years in advance. If work life keeps an employee motivated and they are capable of performing well within their role due to years of experience, there is no reason why they have to retire at the age they can start collecting their state pension. Retirement is no longer forced or compulsory, and older employees are able to voluntarily retire when it suits them.
The benefits of workplace discussion
Avoid asking your older employees directly if they plan to retire in the future. Instead, hold one to one informal discussions with your older employees to establish their plans within the organisation over the next few years; do they have any training and development requirements that would benefit them?
If your employee mentions retirement, there is no harm in asking what date they were considering and their requirements leading up to that date. Workplace discussions similar to this prove useful for both employer and employee and should be recorded in written format.
An employee must give formal written notice for retirement; until then, they are free to change their mind. In the case where an employee does, it is recommended to hold a further workplace discussion to discover what made them change their mind. Employers are unable to compulsory retire employees as this can lead to unfair dismissal.
What if performance levels are declining?
If performance levels are deteriorating in an older employee, then initial steps must be taken to identify appropriate measures to improve it. Identifying the cause of the decrease in performance is a good start, whilst also outlining a training program to support them with an agreed timetable in place. If the employee fails to show signs of improvement, it may be necessary to dismiss the employee based on capability.