As thousands of baby boomers—workers who are now between 50 and 68 years old—prepare to retire, they will take a significant amount of knowledge and expertise with them. Yet research shows that an overwhelming majority of companies are unprepared for this loss. According to Bruce Leon, CEO and founder of Tandem HR in Chicago, “Businesses aren’t ready for the exodus, particularly small businesses that don’t have sophisticated human resource departments. But organizations of all sizes are going to be affected, and we’re seeing that realization starting to accelerate now.” Leon recommends three steps for developing a plan of action:
- Conduct an assessment to determine the existing skills and knowledge in your company. “Once you know who has what skills, you can create a strategy to develop talent from within and transfer knowledge from senior leaders,” according to Forbes.com.
- Encourage the sharing of knowledge and best practices. “In our office, we’ve established an informal corporate university where senior people, who are subject-matter experts, take on the role of instructor,” Leon said. “They host webinars or lead in-person classes with our younger workers. It offers a great opportunity for dialog between the generations.”
- Create mentorships. “I’m a huge fan of mentoring,” said Leon. “Employees learn most through live work situations, and mentorship programs are a great way to facilitate frequent one-to-one interaction.”