How much notice to give on retirement -- at
Information and advice from HP, HPI, and HPE alumni.
Questions or comments to:
member asked us to pose this question on the
HPAA Transition Forum. Here are the anonymized replies.]
"My current employer isn't HP. One of my peers recently told our
manager and the team that he will probably retire in the next
This has me wondering how far ahead I should let my manager know
about retirement plans. I have no definite plans about
retirement but it seems likely that some time in the next 2 to 8
years I'll decide I've worked enough and retire.
We are both at the top of the technical ladder with fairly
unique skill sets. My colleague announced his plans to make time
to identify and groom a successor.
That seems like a nice thing to do, but we get grants of
restricted stock units that vest over 4 years. The grants that
vest each year have a value that is about half my annual salary.
Financially, by every calculation I've done, I could retire now
but I don't feel ready. There are some things I'd like to finish
first, and I'd like more margin.
My employer values skill and innovation. It is unlikely that
making my plans known would mark me for layoff.
I trust my manager. However, isn't even the best and fairest of
managers likely to give a 'short timer' less of a grant so they
can give more to someone else?"
"I would be very careful telling your manager about your
retirement plans. In November of 2013 I told my manager I
planned to retire in two years. Quite a coincidence that I was
one of two people selected for WFR the following May."
"Saying that one will probably retire in the next several years
in not at all necessary in my opinion. I can't imagine that any
more than six months is in the employee's best interest
regardless of how tough it would be to fill the vacancy. HP's
EERs were always less than six months from the time they were
announced to the date at which you would need to be able to
leave. The 2012 EER did allow them to keep you an extra year,
but there was a significant bonus for signing up to that
potential extra year.
That said, I retired the first time with the 2005 EER but then
came back to work at HP in the summer of 2007. I was asked by a
good friend on the interview team how long I would stay. I said
that I would commit to two years. They still hired me, and I
didn't retire again until the 2012 EER (leaving at the end of
Feb. 2013 after being extended. At no time did I ever feel that
my status as a 'short timer' reduced my earnings or negatively
impacted my position. So clearly, I had good managers who in my
opinion treated me very fairly.
I suppose that it is possible that if you let them know that you
don't plan to retire before the stock grants fully vest, they
might get the hint that if you don't get more grants, that you
might be inclined to retire once the options do fully vest."
"We all like to think that we are indispensable. HP, for
example, has gotten rid of 120,000 people since 2002, but the
company is still in business. With the changes in technology and
the high-tech industry, your job may go away and you may not
need to be replaced.
The chance that your managers will still be in the same roles,
or even still at the same company, after a couple of years is
slim. A friend was persuaded by her first- and second-level
managers to stay instead of retire at a good time; a few months
later they were both gone, her job was moved halfway across the
country - but she couldn't uproot her family - and she was laid
off at a very unfortunate time. Note that lower-level managers
are not authorized to make any personnel commitments for the
Pre-announcing retirement will cost you financially. No matter
how supportive your current manager is, other managers affect
your finances. Your ranking will suddenly drop with no reason;
monetary incentives will shrink; special privileges will slip
away, etc. Especially after the inevitable reorganizations
between now and your retirement date. Carefully research the
time lines related to your compensation, performance reviews,
incentives, etc. A couple of weeks' difference could cost you
Personal dynamics at work will change. Some co-workers will act
like you have a contagious disease and not want to be seen
associating with you for fear that they will be flagged as a
pending retiree and therefore a good WFR candidate. Your
announcement will trigger a lot of maneuvering and politicking
among co-workers, either because they thought you should have
gone a long time ago, or because they thought that you were
going sooner, or because they want to take over your job now, or
because a friend got WFRed instead of you, or whatever. The job
may become less satisfying, or even toxic. This is very unlikely
to bring out the best in your workgroup and department.
Ironically, if you are a known lame duck, your ability to
influence policy and strategy for the good of the company will
plummet for your remaining time."
"Yes, stock and bonus were very scarce in HP. As a manager we
would 'stack and rank' employees based on the value to the
projects that were priority. One of my friends was the only
person to work on a critical area. But we all knew he was more
interested in continued employment and family flexibility.
Managers are well aware of who they can take advantage of
because of circumstance. My belief is that those who can only be
retained by money will get it. Those closer to retirement are
often driven by other concerns that the manager will reward
"I'd not say anything until you are sure you will retire on a
given date and then give 6 weeks heads up. If your manager knows
you are retiring in 6 weeks he can opt to lay you off and you
can collect severance and unemployment (as long as you do not
collect the retirement check at the same time)."
"When I retired, I gave notice of my retirement in about 6
months. I did this to give management sufficient time to plan
for my replacement .
I think the timing considerations relate to:
1) How long is will take to train or replacement someone to do
2) Based on the notice provided, how will it impact:
a) career, training, or travel assignments
b) bonus or other awards
3) How much time you personally need to prepare for leaving the
a) getting healthcare plans in order
b) planning transitions on projects
c) any changes needed to 401K, stock plans, etc."
"If you have been there shorter than 10 years then 6 months is
plenty. If you have been there longer than 10 years then 1 year
is plenty but be aware that if there is a layoff you may be
first unless you have an agreement in writing which says you
will retire on Septober 33 of 3315 and they will not lay you off
Make it a memorable date like 05/05/05 -- which is the day I
quit smoking. This allows you time to train someone and make
plans for your retirement party."
RE: "I trust my manager. However, isn't even the best and
fairest of managers likely to give a 'short timer' less of a
grant so they can give more to someone else?"
"In a word – Yes. When I EER'd in 2012, there was an option for
managers to allocate an EOY bonus (should there be one in
December, 2012) prorated to retirees from 2012, based on time
worked during 2012. My (previously fair, generous and
supportive) manager never acknowledged that this was a
possibility. I saw no purpose to push this – just the way it
"One other consideration regarding when to let your manager know
about your retirement plans is the timing during the Fiscal
Year. Salary increases (rare) , stock and stock option
distribution (dependent on job type and level) and Variable
Performance Bonuses (common) are decided upon by your manager
usually in November, just a couple of days before the
Thanksgiving Holiday. Most managers have to work on this during
the Thanksgiving break every year.
If you notify your manager of your retirement prior to or even
just after this date, you can generally expect a smaller or
non-existent distribution, since the manager generally has a
very limited amount of $ and stock to distribute, and would
prefer to use this on people who will remain as part of the work
group. Your likelihood of receiving something would be very low
with most managers simply because they don't have much to
distribute these days and they want to use it to help recognize
and retain the workforce that will remain.
I understand this is a generalization and is highly dependent on
the manager. However, as a manager myself I have seen this
happen too many times to count.
My suggestion would be to wait until after salary increases,
bonuses, stock are distributed... then make your plans known."
"I too would be very careful how you manage the communication
with your manager on your intent to retire. Let's just say it
could very easily have an impact on your rating and job
"As others have mentioned, no one is indispensable in the
'remains of HP' [or at any company.] I took EER in 2012 and
there was NO effort to train a replacement for me. In fact, they
couldn't even hire a replacement until after I left. My
replacement had to be either someone in India or China, a
college hire, or someone two pay levels below mine. HP was not
interested in preparing in advance for my departure. Yes, I had
a unique job with unique skills that took about 3-4 years to
become 'up to speed.'
I had a very good manager and my job wasn't in jeopardy. It was
just my time to retire... and I have zero regrets in doing so
(as I type this looking out the window at the ocean... :-)
...quality and experience are becoming something that is
displaced with 'headcount' and cost savings. You get the
behavior you measure and that is what is being measured at the
"As a manager (software development) I might have liked getting
6 months or more notice of someone leaving. But we usually got
2-4 weeks notice and we always managed with that. Even when the
person leaving was a high level star contributor.
More important than the length of the notice is how well the
person did their handoff. Finishing up projects when possible or
else providing good notes/documentation to the next owner. Also,
once having given a long advance notice would you be able to
continue performing at a high level or would you develop some
degree of a 'short timer' mind set?
Perhaps rewards management has changed since I retired, but I
would expect to get no, or least smaller, pay increase, bonus,
etc., after having given notice."
"I would recommend never giving a planned date or even a hint
that you are planning to retire.
When there is a WFR, managers are asked for input on all
potential candidates for WFR. This can include 'off-the-record'
comments about future plans. Older employees are already at risk
and should never give an indication that they are anything but
'all in'. Do not give a huge advance notice (more than a month
or two) unless you are ready to go anytime and could benefit
from a WFR package that might be happening!"
"6 weeks to two months is sufficient notice. You want to give
them enough notice so that they can put the process in place.
For some managers you might be the first person that they have
gone through the process with, so starting it 2 months ahead is
a good idea. Also its near enough that you likely won't change
your mind. This is not something you want to dither about.
Any longer might be useful to the company but does you no good.
I know you want to be a good citizen so you might want to alert
your manager that a training session would make no sense since
you will be retiring, but be careful how far out you do this.
Also, since many of us don't really retire but go on to work
elsewhere, the education might be useful.
Also take whatever benefits you can while you are eligible.
Remember in retirement medical coverage may be reduced and
dental doesn't exist. You might even want to increase your
Flexible spending account since HP will cover the full amount
even though you might not add your full contribution since you
will not finish the year (this was true when I retired in 2009,
but may not be the way it is handled now). So fix your teeth NOW
and use the flexible spending to pay for it!"
"Even for those leaving HP who will retire, I strongly urge you
to utilize the services of Lee-Hecht-Harrison. They had some
really interesting self-reflection sessions about considering
what to do in retirement (write a book, get a part time job,
etc.) It's well worth the time."
There is life after HP!