ROANOKE, Va. — I was blessed with the opportunity to work with a number of long-term staff members when I took over the management of Commonwealth Linen Services.
We’ve had a number of employees who have worked full-time well after reaching 65. They perform their jobs at a high level, and we are glad to continue their employment.
Over the past years, a number of them have chosen to retire. That decision can often be a difficult one and is based on a number of factors.
Health can be a primary consideration for any employee looking to retire, though a number of the employees over 65 regularly outwork recent high school graduates. Their ability to stay focused and on task normally overcomes anything physical they might have lost over time.
But unfortunately, as one gets older, certain parts of the body do begin to break down.
I have one employee who is 79 years old. She draws her Social Security, her company pension and her regular paycheck. Late last year, I convinced her to go to a part-time schedule because her hip was giving her so much trouble.
I talked to her about retirement, but she said she wasn’t ready to retire and didn’t have anything else she wanted to do. Last month, she finally agreed it was time to retire.
In the end, her health was the deciding factor, not her productivity.
I have another employee who will be 71 years old early next year. She has been drawing her Social Security since she turned 65. She is productive and a real asset in the small-order filling area of the laundry. She has worked for the laundry for more than 40 years.
She loves working, but believes she will be of more help to her family if she stays home and helps with the medical needs of some of her family members. This employee knew what she wanted to do, but needed help getting through the retirement paperwork maze.
I offered to help her and have been working with her as she plans to retire at the end of the year.
I have known other employees who reached the age of 65 and were simply ready to move on and do other things in their lives. These people are very motivated. With a little guidance, they are on their way.
I have coordinated retirement dates with these employees and thanked them for their many years of service.
Whenever someone retires, we hold a big retirement luncheon, celebrating the employee and recognizing their valuable contributions to the organization. We always invite all of our previously retired employees to these events.
As a manager, it is important to remember that most employees only retire once. They have never done it before and most likely will need help filling out the paperwork. We honor their service to our organizations by accepting the responsibility of helping them through the process.