In this week's blog: why carrying out a Midlife Review at your company makes great business sense

Stuart, the CEO of a firm of financial advisers, was worried...

Yet another promising manager had just left his practice.

He had built up a fantastic team of young middle managers. But over the past 10 years, relatively few of his equally talented top management team had left.

This meant there weren’t enough promotion opportunities for younger personnel – so they were leaving, often to his competitors.

Stuart knew this put the future of his firm at risk – and came up with a novel solution.

Stuart hired outside consultants to offer a Midlife Review to all personnel over the age of 45.

This is the planning session I've been talking to you about, which is designed to help staff in their late 40s and early 50s think about what they want to achieve in their final decades before retirement, and the lifestyle they want to lead, so they can maximise their potential.

Following these no-pressure, confidential conversations, the firm was able to map out the timescales at which older staff wanted to wind down, and identify who wanted to take on new roles or reduce their hours.

As a result, some older staff took the opportunity to go part-time, enabling Stuart to give some key younger people promotions and a pay rise.

Others, who said they were not yet ready to retire, were asked to mentor up-and-coming middle managers, to help build the skills and experience they would need for promotion in the future.

And some younger managers were promoted to other branches – with plans to bring them back to main office in the future.

Everyone won! And the firm felt a lot calmer, as everyone felt that their needs were recognised and inter-generational tensions reduced.

Now, very often, when I speak to CEOs and HR directors about the Midlife Review, they tell me that they see exactly how it helps their staff maximise their potential before retirement.

But, they ask, how does it help their firms?

This story shows why firms should make Midlife Reviews a priority.

Quite simply, it makes business sense – and will even more so, following the coronavirus crisis!

In Stuart’s case, the Midlife Review process helped retain key younger staff, and engage in proper succession planning.

An even more common result – which again is more necessary than ever given the economic pressures of the coronavirus era - is that you retain older staff who still have much to offer, as well.

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Take, for example, Caroline. At 55, she was a key member of staff in her manufacturing company, as she had set up their IT system and oversaw parts procurement.

She had been at the same company for 18 years and her employer could have reasonably assumed she was going to stay for the foreseeable future, but her Midlife Review highlighted a fact they weren’t aware of….

…Caroline’s mother had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and she had been considering leaving to take on a less demanding, part-time role.

With this information in hand they were able to reduce her working hours and arrange for her to work remotely one day a week.

It was another win-win, because Caroline got to keep a job she loved along with gaining more flexibility to care for her mother, whilst her firm got to retain her experience, skills and knowledge.

And what’s more, they were spared a situation where a talented employee left at a time of their choosing…

…simply because they had never had a conversation with her, flagging up her own concerns and needs.

For me, though, one of the most important benefits of the Midlife Review is that it can help you build up your future capabilities.

Most companies tend to invest time and effort in training younger staff, with older staff often getting overlooked (even when they’re not that old…!).

This makes no sense, though, when staff members like Caroline can be with you for another 10 years – or more. As Stuart’s experience shows, many of your older staff may be in no rush to retire or may not be able to afford it - particularly following the coronavirus crisis.

When you discuss with staff in their late 40s and 50s how they see their role panning out over the next decade or so, and work out with them what kind of training or upskilling they might need to make that happen, you ensure that you make the most of your existing workforce…

…so they can continue contributing as much as possible, for as long as possible.

If you’d like to find out more about how the Midlife Review can give you a competitive edge then I have good news.

I've released a brand-new book called The Midlife Review: A Guide to Work, Wealth and Wellbeing.

It’s an extremely practical guide, with tried-and-tested advice on how to launch a Midlife Review process in your own company and how to make a success of it.

It’s also full of case studies – as well as an entire section from the employee’s point-of-view, to get them to start thinking about what they want to achieve in the 15-20 years before retirement, and how to make that happen.

I’d love to give you a copy!

Just fill out the form here, and we’ll notify you when the book is out – and send you a complimentary edition (as soon as we are able to).

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Posted by Steve Butler

Topics: Age diversity, Mid-life

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