Regardless of the age of the employee, having a discussion regarding their aspirations and future goals will help an employer identify what and if any training is required, and to see what the employer can do to meet these aspirations. For many employees this will include asking questions such as where do they see themselves in five years too and how they will view their contribution to meeting the strategic goals of the organisation. These useful conversations use a range of open ended questions attaining the short terms and long term goals of an employee. Many employers find it extremely useful to hold these conversations as part of an appraisal.
The outcome of these meetings should be documented either by a recording or minutes and these should be held on file for as long as the employee is employed. It would also be good practice to give a copy of this to the employee for their own records.
If any employee is under performing, the employer should discuss this with the employee as soon as possible and try to find out and help identify if there is a problem, failure to address any issues uncovered because the employee will soon be retiring can be classed as discriminatory. Any problems identified should be addressed and setting an improvement period in place such as training and mentoring to help the employee meet the standard expected by the business. If the employee continues to underperform a formal performance procedure should then be considered under grounds of under capacity.
Unless there is a valid reason that is justifiable it is no longer possible to dismiss an employee on the grounds of retirement. An older employee can retire at any time voluntarily and start withdrawing from their occupational pension that they have an entitlement to. An employer simply cannot force an employee to retire unless it is justifiable.