Baby Boomers – the generation born between 1946 and 1964 – are finally beginning to retire. Their ongoing mass exodus from the workforce is so prevalent, it’s responsible for an overall drop in labor force participation from 66% to 63.9% nationally, according to a recent study by Barclays.

More than 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65, or traditional retiring age, per week. That’s a lot of talent preparing to say goodbye to the working world.

As a result, organizations are gearing up to reshape their workforce in response to the loss of many employees now or soon. The problem is, not enough companies are prepared for the changes ahead.

A SHRM/AARP study found that as much as 72% of organizations find the loss of the Boomer generation in the workplace a “potential problem,” but had not yet fully assessed the impact of the changes – What are they waiting for??????

As the workforce shifts, it’s important to be prepared.

Here are a couple of tactics to prepare for the loss of the Boomer generation in the workplace:

Have a Succession Plan Ready

Succession planning, the process of identifying internal staff members (assuming they exist!) to fill key positions in the organization when a need presents itself, is an effective talent pool management strategy that can save an organization from a loss of time and resources. This process identifies specific individuals who are well-equipped to fill the need at the organization, largely in senior management or executive roles.

Such planning eases the impact when an employee in a leadership role departs the organization. In order to be effective, succession planning requires identifying, maintaining, and retaining a steady pipeline of qualified employees that could best fill the most critical roles within your organization.

This method involves identifying qualified employees within the organization that can actively develop their knowledge and skills and be prepared for advancement should the opportunity present itself.

Be Millennial-Friendly

Millennials are now an undeniably large piece of the professional world. According to The New York Times, this generation makes up 36% of the workforce.

Remember when hiring: “Years of Experience” is NOT a skill (I will address this with another blog). Some of the best ways to engage and retain top Millennial talent include open communication about overall career goals, recognition of hard work, and a clear path for the position. Opportunities for Millennials to expand their knowledge and be challenged can help to avoid restlessness.

Here are a few benefits to bringing on Millennials:

  • Enjoy praise over pay – 80% would rather receive feedback on a job well done (Time)
  • Enjoy collaboration and working as a team over solo work
  • Flexible, mobile, have the ability to pick up and go, open to new opportunities
  • Can offer insight into new target audience: Millennial more in tune to digital generation
  • Extremely comfortable with technology, social media platforms (the average Gen Y switches their attention between media platforms as many as 27 times per hour, according to Forbes)
  • Greater ability to multi-task as a result of constant technology plug-in

Other recommended solutions to the loss of talented older folks in the workplace include increased training, hiring temp/part-time employees (which I talk about here), and offering flexible hours.

Have you seen a loss of talent due to the retiring generation at your organization? What other solutions do you recommend?


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