Career Advice

How to Create a Career Development Plan for Employee Close to Retirement

Get this: 22% of American workers hope to retire this 2024, according to a survey by Allianz. As an older worker, you might want to be part of this number. On the other hand, as a manager, you probably have team members near retirement age. 

At this point, you might be wondering how to create a career development plan for employee close to retirement. I’m here to help both employees and managers. I’ll give you some insights on how to create the best development plan. I’ll even show you a development plan template you can follow. So let’s get to it!

Read More: Career Failure at 40: How to Pick Yourself Up and Start Again

Types of Late-Stage Employees

Before you create retirement plans, it’s a good idea to identify what type of late-stage employee you or your team member is. Here’s what Laura Tanner, Manager of Middle: Managed, says:

As a manager, you need to figure out what path each employee may be on so that you can adjust your approach. This can be a bit of a guessing game because you cannot ask when someone is planning on retiring unless they have their retirement letter in hand and you need to buy them a cake.

So let’s go over the 4 most common types of older employees and how they see their career paths. 

1. Older employees engaged and love their job

This employee is content to work well beyond the usual retirement age. They are a valuable team member, actively participating in ongoing learning, and probably dismiss any talk of retirement from colleagues.

2. Older workers slowing down but still very resourceful 

This person is more of a mentor than anything else. They still provide valuable contributions by serving as a resource person. More than that, they love helping other employees – they treat it like a real mentorship program. 

3. The old employees just waiting for their retirement benefits 

This employee is on the verge of leaving because they’ve worked for years and are waiting for their retirement benefits (or their retirement number). They’re not open to new ideas, changes in workflow, or process improvements.

4. The old workers who can’t yet retire and are not happy about it

These retiring employees are disappointed as they are unable to retire when they initially intended (due to finances or whatever reason). As a result, they are less involved and may not actively contribute to the team.

How to Motivate Employees Close to Retirement

OK, I’m speaking to just the managers now (if you’re a retiring employee, you can skip to the next section). If you have many senior employees, you must keep them motivated. Here’s how Tanner puts it:

The challenge for you as a leader is to make sure that these late-stage employees maintain their engagement and productivity on your team, rather than become complacent because they feel that they have ‘earned their due’ and want to go on autopilot into retirement.

With that in mind, here is how to motivate employees close to retirement:

  • Consider utilization practices
  • Provide opportunities for growth 
  • Offer care
  • Make them dream again

Consider utilization practices

Say the retiree is satisfied where they are. They don’t want a new job description or additional learnings. Moreover, they’re experts in what they do. If this is the case, then you can leave them as they are. If they genuinely enjoy and love their job, you’ll see them highly motivated until they’re able to retire.

Provide opportunities for growth

It’s more common to find retiring workers who are not as motivated. Well, one strategy to engage older employees is to provide learning and development opportunities.

I mean, these workers were probably in the work force for 30 years. As their manager, you need to give them something to be excited about. 

Quick stat: 87% of engaged employees are less likely to leave their jobs

For this, you can give them promotions, additional training, mentorship programs to teach the younger workers, seminars, trade fairs, and the list goes on. When they have new career goals to look forward to, that will highly motivate them to do their best until they plan their retirement party. 

Offer care

It’s no secret. The older you get, the more care you’ll need. One way to show someone that you value them is to care for them. And when older employees feel cared for, they may want to extend their gratitude by working hard. 

Yes, that means supporting any ailments they may have. This might mean offering a part-time or freelance job, ergonomic plans, additional leaves, duty adjustments, etc…

NOTE: This isn’t a 100% sure-to-motivate-your-employee strategy. Sometimes, if you provide too much care, they might become complacent. So you need to treat this tip carefully. 

Make them dream again

What about the employees who long to retire but can’t yet (for whatever reason)? How do you deal with them as a manager?

Laura Tanner again gives us excellent advice: 

To my employees that said in their performance review that, “at this stage of my career, I’m not interested in taking on large new projects”. I challenged them on that statement. I told them in a good-natured way that they still have more to offer AND if they really feel like they will be leaving soon, is there a dream project or skill that they want to have mastered before they retire? Essentially I ask them to dream again and think about any unfinished business. I also encouraged mentorship and ways that they can support the development of their peers. I will be keeping my eye on them throughout the year, encouraging them to be participatory. Basically, I am not going to have someone coasting on my team because they think that they deserve a paycheck after working for so many years.

Development Plan for Employee Close to Retirement

If you’re an employee nearing retirement, you might be wondering, “What should career goals for 60-year-olds be? What do development plans for older employees look like?” 

Let me answer those questions for you…

Look for other employee options

Say you enjoy your job. However, you just can’t take on as much workload as you used to. Well, a common performance goal for older employees is to find other options in the company. Here’s what Kay Bosworth from Chron suggests:

Consider asking your employer for options that would allow you to stay there on a different basis, such as part-time, telecommuting, or freelancing.

If not, you can try phased retirement. This is when you slowly cut back on work hours or duties as you get closer to retiring. Instead of suddenly stopping work, you gradually reduce your workload.

Start a new career

Yes, you can start a new career at 60! If you’re very bored with your job, don’t waste your time. Remember, you may only have a few more years to work. 

For this career plan, you can pick something that interests you. Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a consultant. Now, you may have to go back to school to fulfill your dream job. 

NOTE: It won’t be easy. Ageism is a real thing. Here’s what someone from Quora suggests: 

My suggestion would be to study something in which you can be self-employed. As another answer points out, people are unlikely to hire someone of your age (also my age). Even teaching math or being a nurse would be difficult to enter. Schools prefer younger teachers, and nursing is physically very demanding.

Start a business

According to AARP, adults age 50 and older are starting new businesses. So who’s to say you can’t do the same at the ripe age of 60+? 

And no, starting a business doesn’t have to be big. It can be something as simple as selling your handmade crafts on Etsy. Or, you can provide services that you’re good at, such as accounting, web design, etc…

If you’re very ambitious, then why not start a BIG business? This will mean that you need to make long-term goals. But it will make you excited, too. Plus, think about the earning opportunities. 

Development Plan Template

To close, I’ll give you a development plan for employee close to retirement template that you can follow.

For Managers:

Employee Development Plan for Transition to Retirement

Employee Name: [Employee’s Name]

Objective: Help [Employee’s Name] transition smoothly into retirement while utilizing their skills and experience effectively.

Areas of Focus:

  1. Knowledge Transfer:
    • Identify critical skills and knowledge [Employee’s Name] possesses.
    • Facilitate knowledge-sharing sessions with team members.
    • Document essential processes and procedures for future reference.
  2. Mentoring and Coaching:
    • Encourage [Employee’s Name] to mentor junior team members.
    • Facilitate coaching sessions to share insights and experiences.
    • Foster a culture of continuous learning within the team.
  3. Project Handover:
    • Identify ongoing projects and responsibilities.
    • Develop a plan for a seamless handover of projects.
    • Ensure proper documentation and communication with team members.
  4. Training for Successor:
    • Identify potential successors within the team.
    • Arrange training sessions to equip successors with necessary skills.
    • Provide ongoing support for a smooth transition.
  5. Work-Life Balance:
    • Discuss and plan for a gradual reduction in work hours.
    • Explore flexible working arrangements leading up to retirement.
    • Emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.


  • Month 1-2: Knowledge transfer and mentoring sessions.
  • Month 3-6: Project handover and training for successors.
  • Month 7-12: Gradual reduction in work hours and focus on work-life balance.

Review and Feedback: Regular check-ins to assess progress and make adjustments as needed.

Signature: [Employee’s Name] Date: [Date]

For Employee:

Individual Development Plan for Transition to Retirement

Employee Name: [Your Name]

Objective: Facilitate a smooth transition to retirement while maximizing personal growth and fulfillment.

Areas of Focus:

  1. Skill Enhancement:
    • Identify skills you would like to develop or enhance before retirement.
    • Explore workshops, online courses, or training programs in those areas.
    • Allocate time each month for skill-building activities.
  2. Knowledge Transfer:
    • Document your key responsibilities and knowledge areas.
    • Share insights and experiences with colleagues through mentorship sessions.
    • Establish a plan for ongoing knowledge transfer to team members.
  3. Networking and Relationship Building:
    • Strengthen professional networks within and outside the organization.
    • Attend industry events, webinars, or networking sessions.
    • Foster relationships that could provide post-retirement opportunities.
  4. Health and Well-being:
    • Prioritize physical and mental health.
    • Incorporate regular exercise and wellness activities into your routine.
    • Consider stress-relief strategies and mindfulness practices.
  5. Financial Planning:
    • Review and update your retirement savings plan.
    • Seek advice from financial advisors if necessary.
    • Develop a budget for retirement and explore investment options.


  • Months 1-3: Identify and prioritize skills and knowledge areas.
  • Months 4-6: Engage in skill-building activities and initiate knowledge transfer.
  • Months 7-9: Focus on networking and relationship-building efforts.
  • Months 10-12: Emphasize health and well-being, and conduct a comprehensive financial review.

Review and Adjustment: Regularly review progress, adjust goals as needed, and celebrate achievements.

Signature: [Your Name] Date: [Date]

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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