A recent article published on the SHRM platform discussed the interesting notion of rehiring retired employees. The so-called gray wave has been making quite an impact on the hiring landscape of late. The term refers to Baby Boomers who continue to work or return to work after being retired at the age of 60+. These seasoned employees can make a significant impact when it comes to experience. 

As such, it makes sense for innovative business and HR practitioners to take heed of this employment trend. Hiring retirees can be a little tricky, but there are ways to make the process run more smoothly. Here are a few key points to consider when you tap into this vein of your corporate alumni community:

How To Smooth the Way For Successfully Rehiring Retired Employees

1. Be Very Clear About the Role

Onboarding is just as crucial for returning alumni as it is for brand-new recruits. When you rehire a retiree, make sure to take them through the particulars of their role in detail. Some may be returning to a less senior position, and there may be a little sensitivity training required. 

Make sure everyone is clear on KPIs and who reports to whom. After all, your skilled retiree may be stepping into a role that had never even existed before. So, take some time to map things out and keep them in the loop throughout the process.

2. Keep Personal Needs In Mind

The fact of the matter is that older individuals have medical and personal needs that younger employees don’t necessarily have. HR should be sensitive to these needs and provide flexibility to accommodate them. For instance, a returning retiree with a knee issue should not be required to climb several sets of stairs to get to their workspace. Or work at a standing desk, for that matter!

3. Give Stereotypes A Wide Berth

On the other hand, also be very careful about stereotyping older workers. For instance, not every Baby Boomer is averse to learning new tech. Instead of placing your returning retiree in this box, take the time to introduce them to your tech stack in the proper way. 

Don’t be condescending when there are skills gaps – instead, find ways to get them equipped for their position like you would for any other employee.

4. Plan For Succession

Even if a retiree is only returning in a part-time position, HR should treat their hiring process the same as any other person. They should receive the same benefits and compensation any other contingent worker would enjoy. Also, be sure to think ahead and find ways to upskill other employees to take over and fill their knowledgeable shoes when they are ready to pass the baton.


Rehiring retired employees can make a big difference when it comes to diversifying your team to prepare for the future of work. Smooth the way for successful post-retirement employment by being very clear about the role and keeping personal needs in mind. Steer clear of stereotyping older workers and plan for succession straight out the gate. 

To get early access to The Alumni Advantage, sign up to the mailing list. Authored by James Sinclair, Co-Founder and Chief Executive of EnterpriseAlumni, the book provides an end-to-end understanding of how organizations are recognizing and leveraging their former employees.