Succession planning for your business – Work Wise

(Part 2)

Earlier we discussed the issue of business owners retiring and the effect it had on their businesses. In this article we will talk about what businesses can do about their older workers retiring.

It no secret that the largest segment of the population is getting older and the exodus is already beginning. Mature workers currently account for the majority of employees in businesses and workplaces. Replacing them will not be easy. So what can employers to do to deal with this?

Employers need to realize that just because workers are retirement age they may not necessarily retire or at least not entirely. If there are flexible and attractive options for work, their workers may choose to stay on. Can employers offer part-time work options to their older workers? Can they offer seasonal employment for “snowbirds”? Can they modify job duties to adjust for less physically demanding work? Is there sufficient time off available to care for a sick spouse or parents? Can workers job share with another older worker? Can they be on a “call as needed” list for casual work?

It is worth exploring some options in order to keep what may be the bulk of your staff. Ask them what works for them—you might be surprised at some unique solutions.

If your older workers are set on leaving, then perhaps some succession planning with them would be helpful. How about offering some mentoring or training options so that newer workers can benefit from the expertise of their “seasoned” workers? Maybe they can identify some younger employees with potential that an employer can groom for some key positions later on.

Need more ideas? These three publications can help:

Leaving Your Small Business: Your plan for a successful transition: this booklet provides practical information for employers with 50 or fewer employers to develop a succession plan for leaving their business.

Safe and Healthy: a guide to managing an aging workforce: addresses health and safety issues surrounding older workers. It can help employers deal with these issues and make changes related to the needs of their older workers.

Employing a Diverse Workforce: Making it Work: this publication uses information from successful Alberta businesses to help employers retain and engage a highly motivated and diverse workforce.

All publications are free and available at our office and on line. We are Alberta Employment and Immigration and are located on Main Street in Stettler.

For a copy, call us at 403-740-4320 or visit and click on the e-products and services tab to view or download a copy.