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ResourceMFG | Manufacturing Workforce Specialists
5 tips for managing high retirement rates in manufacturing

High retirement rates can seem like the end of the world for your manufacturing company. Between the worker shortage and the skills gap, you may feel like you're losing an irreplaceable asset every time someone walks out the door. Although some employees are irreplaceable, there are a few ways to make their retirement easier on your company, your teams and even the retirees themselves.

Here are five tips to help manage high retirement rates and make sure you come out on top.

1) Don't panic
When you hear manufacturing workers discussing retirement, your first instinct may be to panic. After all, replacing those workers can be tough when the hiring market is so competitive — but it's important to step back and take a deep breath. Panic can spill over into your teams and impact efficiency, productivity and morale, so focus on proactive solutions and supporting both current and retiring workers.

2) Have a plan
Creating a solid plan helps manufacturing employees navigate the retirement process without leaving their coworkers in tough situations. It also gives you the chance to decide ahead of time which steps you'll need to take in what order — that way, when workers are ready to head off on their next adventure, you don't have to scramble to put out fires or slap bandages over problems that will just keep getting bigger. Just make sure to start creating a plan as soon as possible, or you'll find workers are retiring while you're still trying to figure out what to do next.

3) Transfer knowledge effectively
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, one of the most important ways to manage high retirement rates is to make sure knowledge is being transferred efficiently. Manufacturing workers may hoard information for various reasons — sometimes simply because they haven't had the support or time necessary to pass it along while on the job — but it's crucial to get that information before your workers retire.

4) Use retirement to your advantage
Although retirement may seem like a bad thing for your manufacturing company, it can also open new doors. For example, promoting internally can show existing employees that they'll get exciting opportunities to shine when their coworkers retire, encouraging them to stay with your company so they can progress. Even if your workers are happy right where they are, an open position means you get to look for new talent to add to your team — which can come with new ideas and a fresh approach to problems you may be stuck on.

5) Provide alternative options
Another potential solution, according to Insperity, is to provide alternative options to full retirement. These can include part-time or consulting work, which both give the employee a lot more freedom while creating a smoother transition for your manufacturing teams. An additional benefit of this solution is that you'll have time to encourage workers to transfer their knowledge to replacements and other team members, as mentioned above.

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