Does the work need to be done onsite? Does it need to be done all day every day? Does it need to be done in the blocks that have traditionally been shaped into “jobs”? The conventional all-day-everyday approach to work might not be your best bet—even if the expertise isn’t thinking of retiring.
How to start:
Clarify what you really NEED from this employee. Is it her terrific customer relationships? Does he know how to do things no one else has learned? Does she troubleshoot better than anyone else? Or is it a matter of retaining anyone who can do the work? Do a good job of defining the problem.
Be sure the employee knows what will make a uniquely satisfying retirement personally. A customized seminar or the book Supercharged Retirement will help your potential retirees define priorities, lifestyle, and geography choices. These might dovetail quite effectively with what you need to get done. And if not, they provide a solid base from which to develop a mutually workable solution.
Negotiate the solution. What works best for both parties? The result could be a part-time work arrangement, a mentoring effort, job sharing or a team approach to the work. It could be an expert agreement. Or a project or seasonal commitment. It's a win-win situation if you do it right. And doing it right includes giving the employee access to some coaching on how to negotiate, if needed, and assuring communication skills are adequate all around.
Be realistic. Do what you need to make it work. If you and the employee agree the best solution is for him to write a manual, but he doesn't write well, partner him with someone who does—perhaps a college intern. If it requires this employee to be an effective coach, make sure she has those skills—or give her the training to gain them.
Wait on the formal program development. This is new territory and until things have been tried a few times, formal programs will limit what you can acheive. Find out what works and what doesn’t for your company and your retiring employees before you etch it in stone as a “program.”
Use the talent you have. We can help.
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