Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Surviving the Baby Boomers Exodus

While many people are worried about what the year 2012 might bring to the world as we know it - thanks to Hollywood's movie '2012' and the so-called Mayan prophecies, businesses will be far more worried about 2011. Why 2011? The first of the Baby Boomers will turn 65 in 2011 and will begin retiring. Baby Boomers make up more of the U.S. work force -- 38 percent -- than any other age group.

Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, and are 46 to 65 years old. The book details how to capture their work knowledge before they retire, a process that can take a few hours to many months, depending on the job skills and if the knowledge is tacit or implicit. Tacit knowledge, such as explaining how to ride a bike, can take a lot more time.

In the book readers will find that this is not simply a question of replacing Boomers with younger workers. After all, Generation Y, born between 1980 and 1995, has population numbers nearly equal to the Boomers. But the loss of Boomers' expertise and institutional knowledge could be catastrophic to American business.

So what steps can companies take to retain and transfer the knowledge and experience that will walk out the door as these workers retire? The fundamental issue is training, and the smartest companies are already planning for this as the next major challenge in the workforce.

Capturing, transferring and retaining Baby Boomers' knowledge, skills and expertise before they retire will enable Generations X and Y employees to maintain business continuity. The skill and expertise of 76 million Baby Boomers is too critical to waste!

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