14 May 2020 By Victoria Tomlinson
COVID-19 has been the biggest challenge of our working lives. But its impact is only just starting. Firms and corporates are already looking at what next for our business. And inevitably many will be weighing up loyalty to their peers against the need to rethink business models and open up opportunities for younger generations.
And that may mean approaching partners and directors for discussions around early retirement or redundancy. This must be top of anyone’s list of awful things to do.
But what if you could help people see a new future that they want? So this wasn’t a terrible conversation but about opening up new opportunities.
What if you could transform how people look at ‘retirement’ and what comes after it?
We have now been working with the partners of international professional firms – before our workshop, typically two thirds are ‘apprehensive and uncertain’ about their future. By the end of the two-day programme, this completely flips – and two thirds are excited about opportunities ahead.
As one partner said, “I now realise the future doesn’t have to be a random process. I can start planning now and make it happen.”
A director of a FTSE corporate emailed us after one of our events and said she had been all over the place about her future. She had had enough of corporate life but wasn’t ready to spend her life travelling and lunching. What else would she do? But having listened to our speakers she suddenly realised there was a whole world out there and full of opportunities to use her skills in new ways. She was buzzing. It was as if we had unlocked an Aladdin’s Cave for her.
Another director, this one in banking and also at the same event, spoke to me after and said, “It was the first time in a long while that I walked into a room where people didn’t look at me as a ‘has been’. You just presented one idea or opportunity after the other to us. I had been in quite a low place and this made me completely rethink what I could do.”
So what are the issues and how can you help your directors and partners to be optimistic about life after full time work? (I am avoiding the word retirement here, because the R word is so negative to most senior people these days)
This list gives a quick overview of many of the issues. What can you do to help partners and directors?
Get all this right and you could find a win:win process that everyone feels good about. A time to celebrate, not create gloom in your organisation. Everyone is expecting numbers of people to return to work and say they don’t want to commute any more, they have reflected and want something different. This is a chance to do more than just having more Zoom meetings. It’s a chance to get organisations structured for the long term and give a generation of people coming up to retirement, new opportunities.
Victoria Tomlinson is chief executive and founder of Next-Up. Next-Up supports employers with a range of services for directors, partners and employees to help them understand the impact of retirement on mental health and create a plan to use their skills and experience in new ways to ensure wellbeing. A key part of our role is to inspire people with ideas and contacts, beyond traditional expectations. A former director of EY, she is an international speaker on unretirement, personal branding and using LinkedIn strategically as well as on leadership and women on boards. She mentors chief executives and directors, start-up businesses and ex-offenders. Victoria is Honorary Teaching Fellow at Lancaster University and chaired an advisory board for University of Leeds.