How much notice to give on retirement -- at
Information and advice from HP
member asked us to pose this question on the
HPAA Transition Forum. Here are the anonymized replies.]
current employer isn't HP. One of my peers recently told our manager and
the team that he will probably retire in the next several years.
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.
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
"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 company.
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 dearly.
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
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.
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 instead."
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)."
retired, I gave notice of my retirement in about 6 months. I did this
to give management sufficient time to plan for my replacement .
the timing considerations relate to:
long is will take to train or replacement someone to do your role
on the notice provided, how will it impact:
career, training, or travel assignments
or other awards
much time you personally need to prepare for leaving the job:
getting healthcare plans in order
planning transitions on projects
changes needed to 401K, stock plans, etc."
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 early.
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
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
"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 is."
"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 stability."
"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 top."
"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
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
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