Health and the intention to retire: exploring the moderating effects of human resources practices

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Although health is among the strongest predictors of retirement timing, organizational effects on this relationship are largely unknown. Based on the theory of work adjustment and socioemotional selectivity theory, this study explores the role of human resources practices in the relation between older employees’ health and retirement intentions—specifically, their preferred retirement age and their intention to engage in late-career employment after being eligible for pension. Three groups of practices are distinguished: individual development practices (e.g. life-long learning and career development), practices tailoring the transition to retirement (e.g. phased retirement), and practices allowing to continue working in later life (e.g. individualized employment forms). We tested our model with multilevel data from 556 older employees and 661 managers from 101 organizations. Results suggest that healthy employees intend to retire later, if individual development practices are stronger pronounced in the organization. In addition, the positive relation between health and the intention to engage in late-career employment was stronger in organizations that provide more opportunities to continue working. Our findings contribute to a better understanding of retirement intentions and offer practical implications to shape later-life work to the benefit of both organizations and employees.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe International Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number18
Pages (from-to)3520–3554
Number of pages35
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Verena Böhne, Luisa Cadonau, Shawnee Dierks, Tino Glumm, Kristina Spieker, Elisa Stahl, Katharina Ullmann, and all other students who supported us during data collection.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. All Rights Reserved.

    Research areas

  • Aging workforce, older employees’ health, person-environment fit, retirement timing
  • Business psychology