There was an interesting article in the June edition of CFO Magazine entitled “When Boomers Go”. It focused on the huge impact the Baby Boomers have made on business and the implication to organizations when employees from this generation retire. For some organizations, a retiring baby boomer it is an opportunity to replace a burned out employee with one who is eager, anxious to make his mark, and full of new ideas. However in many situations, a retiring baby boomer takes with him or her vast company knowledge that was learned over years of experience in the industry and on the job..
When knowledgeable middle or upper managers retire, an organization that has not planned sufficiently can experience a significant brain drain of people who intimately understand the intricacies of the business. In recent years many companies reduced staffing levels to control costs and remain profitable. This lean organizational philosophy further magnifies the impact of loosing experienced managers.
The key to limiting the negative impact of retiring baby boomers is planning. Some companies decide to use consultants to determine what skills will be lost when these workers retire. Other organizations develop programs where older workers train younger employees so key information is not lost during the transition. It’s a good idea to have older workers go through a formal checklist of tasks and skills they have developed so it is clear what gaps will exist when the employee retires. Other companies realize that many older workers don’t want to fully retire. These companies create flexible schedules for their potential retirees, allowing them to work part time and remain a resource for the organization.
Another way to deal with the loss of skilled employees is tap into the growing group of retiring employees from other organizations. Many retirees realize that being a full time retiree is not fulfilling and prefer the intellectual stimulation of continuing to work either part time or full time. This group of skilled workers are an excellent source of experience people who can bring new ideas to their employers by tapping into their years of experience.
There are many potentially unforeseen perils that can impact companies today. Fortunately, with planning and forethought, retiring employees should not be one of them.