Employee navigates “hire-to-retire” transition for others

carmen-johnsonWorking in benefits planning to help those who are retiring can be a challenging job. With an aging workforce, there’s always work to be done and a new person to transition into retirement.

Carmen Johnson, a Retirement and Benefits Navigator, has happily taken on this task, enjoying the work she does to help outgoing King County employees start a new adventure in their life.

“I find it so rewarding,” she said. “It’s an emotionally and mentally challenging time for people and I get to help them through it.”

With an average of ten thousand people turning 65 in the United States each day, according to the Pew Research Center, many things need to be done to ensure employees can easily transition from “hire-to-retire.”

Part of a retirement team, Carmen has been with King County since 2012 and in her current role for almost two years. She got involved right away in learning all about the many things that impact retirement.

“There’s a lot to learn,” she said. “Social security, Medicare, VEBA, PERS – and  laws and programs change constantly, so it is a continuous process of educating myself.”

“But I don’t really have any negatives to my job. I really enjoy helping people.”

Staying up to date on current policies, while also working with employees to retire means there’s never an average day. Carmen also works with the New Employee Orientation (NEO), Verification of Employments (VOE), processes paperwork for both new hires and retires and also schedules out the Medicare and Social Security employee workshops.

These workshops are an exciting part of her work, in that she can meet employees from all across King County and get to know each of them and their retirement goals. Carmen facilitates at least two workshops a month.

“I enjoy meeting people from all over the county and helping them through all of their varied situations,” she said. “It’s great to get out of the office and learn about the wide variety of employees that help make the county run.”

“I can’t do that at another employer and I like it a lot.”

Carmen looks forward to providing even more opportunities to retiring employees this year. She and the retirement team are working to keep employees engaged and excited about the shift to retirement, by giving them the tools and education needed so that they will be taken care of long after their time at King County ends.

“We’ve got more training workshops planned and we’ll be updating the website to be more informative,” she said. “We know we’re going to see a lot of people retiring in the next few years and we plan to be prepared.”

For information about benefits planning, visit the Benefits, Payroll and Retirement section of the King County website or contact kc.benefits@kingcounty.gov.