Here’s another good question asked in my recent webinar, “Effectively Growing Your Key Talent: Are You Sunlight and Water — or Just Manure?”
Q: As someone approaches retirement how do you keep them engaged in department development?
A: As retirement gets closer and closer, some employees lose their motivation to work hard and well. They are focused on what they’ll do after work stops. That’s not true for all, of course, but for some.
To keep them engaged ask what they’d like to do to leave a legacy in your organization. If they can’t think of anything, ask if they’d be willing to train and mentor those newer to the organization.
Assuming they say yes, then have a meeting with the mentor and mentee. Explain each of their roles and tasks. The mentor is to impart as much information and wisdom as possible on specific tasks. In addition to sharing their step-by-step processes, they are to share their thinking about why they’d approach the task a certain way and what they’ve learned to avoid.
The mentee is capturing this information, not only so s/he can learn it, but so it can be documented and shared with others. The mentee is responsible in putting the lesson in a format that can be read and learned by others.
Once the mentee has drafted the information, the mentor looks it over for any misunderstandings. S/he goes over this with the mentee, not only to ensure the mentee has the correct info, but to make sure others will, too.
The corrected document then goes to other senior professionals for vetting. Perhaps this mentor has been doing a workaround that isn’t the best way to accomplish the task, or may be against company policies. This vetted document then goes into the company knowledgebase and is used when someone forgets how to do that process or to train those new to the position.
Thus, by sharing their knowledge with a junior professional, the mentor passes on his/her thinking and processes as well as ensures their legacy in the company.