As any Human Resources manager knows, talent acquisition is a huge challenge and retention is an even bigger one. Attrition is the stuff of nightmares for employers small and large; as it detracts from the accumulated knowledge, skills and experience while putting additional pressure on the remaining resources. For this reason, the talent flight represented by baby boomers (generations born between 1946 and 1964) looms as growing threat to corporate America. With this massive exodus of workers into retirement, the economy expects to face higher health care costs and lower savings, per person productivity and social security funding.
Talent Requirement Projections:
According to the Bureau of Labor Services, businesses have a far greater need to replace departing workers than to fill new job openings resulting from business growth. The writing on the wall is very clear – the time to focus upon building the necessary skills and experience for the replacement candidates is now! It is also time to plug the losses in knowledge, experience and relationships caused by attrition.
Managing the Talent Flight:
Old may not always be gold, but an organization’s senior employees have an enormous amount of knowledge and experience which is invaluable and irreplaceable. It is time to wake up and undertake the overdue exercise of workforce planning, identifying the possible gaps that may result from the dreaded talent flight and taking the needed steps to manage it.
Find Replacements through succession planning: Given the seniority, knowledge base and accumulated experience of the baby boomers, it is difficult if not impossible to immediately identify replacements. Organizations must recruit, mentor and train existing or new candidates to ensure that there is no crisis on one’s hands the morning after the baby boomer’s farewell party is held.
Bring them Right Back: Tap into your retired workforce. Retirees offer their employers a pool of well-qualified employees who already possess a considerable range of skills, expertise, and keen business insight. These already-experienced employees require minimum training. They bring the maturity of an older employee who may be less likely to get involved in office politics and more likely to exercise work habits from the past, such as increased focus and better attendance. And, they are often willing and able to work within more flexible terms of employment (such as a part-time or contract basis).
Knowledge Management: As some wag said, knowledge is the one and only wealth which can be given away to any number of people without affecting its owner’s net worth! Social media techniques have simplified collaboration and knowledge-sharing, making it inexcusable for any company to not capture critical business knowledge.
Get them on-‘board’: Senior executives in critical leadership roles having rich and valuable experience can be requested to join the company’s Board of Directors, become a member of an advisory committee, or serve as a mentor and coach to the next generation of executive leaders.
Creating Great Workplaces: This plan needs serious consideration, especially if you are sure that you do not wish to lose any of the existing staff, for any reason. Coming out of a recession, with austerity measures tightening belts two notches too tight, chances are that companies will see a lot of poaching and voluntary jumping of ships too (but that is matter for another post) along with the replacement needs.
Make sure that your ambitious growth plans and ambitions do not fail because your talent has flown away, leaving the nest bare, the way it happened with the swanky French restaurant in my neighbourhood when their executive chef upped and left.
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