22 May 2018 By Victoria Tomlinson
Today, 22 May 2018, we fully launch Next-Up to fill a gap for ‘unretired’ people – and those set to face ‘unretirement’ in a few years. So what are the issues, where is the gap and how can we help?
We have worked with around 100 individuals over the last few years, often sent to us by colleagues and friends, typically to sort out a LinkedIn profile or introduce people to our networks (somehow people always assumed we would know someone who needed their skills – and I think we usually have!). We would also help with more in-depth tasks, like positioning individuals as thought leaders, finding speaking opportunities, and coaching people looking to start a business or become a consultant.
What we have seen over the last few years is that when you are working at the top of your game, often there simply isn’t the headspace or practical time to think and shape your unretirement career. As a result, the shock of stopping full-time working life can be difficult to process.
One former partner in a big 4 accounting firm recently explained: “There is a spectacular lack of imagination amongst professionals as to what they can do next.”
I am not sure I would go that far, but certainly a lot of people struggle to think ‘what next?’
Last year we asked Professor Nigel Lockett of Lancaster University – and an entrepreneur himself – to run our business planning day. He said ‘you need an online platform to help these people’. Sometimes it takes an outsider to see the trend and the solution!
This was 22 August 2017, and we have since been researching and testing out various propositions. We are extremely grateful to our fantastic informal advisory board who have given time, expertise and contacts to help us in this – advising on everything from the skills gaps in charities and the needs of the technology platform, to the practical and emotional support people need when faced with this transition.
And a number who gave specific advice and support – especially around tech issues! We also need to thank our marketing partner, Six & Flow in Manchester – after a long search to find a web design and marketing agency, they were appointed in late March and have done an amazing job in getting our site launched so quickly and with so much insight to our business.
Next-Up is based on a membership model which includes:
We also offer individual coaching beyond this – to help come up with an unretirement plan and make it happen – as well as practical support, however you need this. For some this might involve setting up and writing a website, others finding speaking opportunities, some may want help in formulating a business idea and others in networking and introductions. Whatever you want to do next, we’ll help you or introduce you to the people you need.
We are also delighted to have The Orcid Partnership as our launch partner – they were named Best Non-executive Search Consultancy in 2017. Working together, we will refer Next-Up members to The Orcid Partnership if members are interested in, and qualified to consider, non-executive director positions. In turn, the Orcid Partnership will refer candidates to Next-Up where they are interested in exploring wider opportunities.
The second stage of Next-Up will be to launch our Jobs Board in the summer – but this won’t be a Jobs Board as most know them. This will be for anyone looking for skills – charities have projects, businesses want advisers, others are looking for mentors. Many of these roles will be voluntary, but deeply rewarding in terms of applying your expertise.
The aspiration for many is finding a non-executive director role, but I hope Next-Up will show people the true range of organisations that would love their skills. Charities and not-for-profits want trustees – but perhaps even more, help on projects – everything from property expertise and leadership coaching to working with local government. Business schools want to get people from all sectors in to bring the theory of management to life and mentor students. Schools want speakers, mentors and more. Start-ups need mentors and advisers.
This may not be what you initially had planned for your unretirement, but wherever we have introduced people into roles like these, they have absolutely loved it. You learn from the young, they challenge all sorts and lap up your experience and wisdom. What’s not to love, as they say?
If you are planning your next stage or want to rethink what you are doing in unretirement – go to our site www.next-up.com. And please feel free to refer friends and colleagues if we can help.
We want to make a difference.
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.