According to an infographic by UNC, nearly 25 percent of the total US population is a baby boomer. Baby boomers are the people born between the years 1946 and 1964, and they currently make up 31 percent of the workforce. In 2011, the first baby boomers turned 65 years old and, by 2029, they will all be 65 years or older. When they retire, they will take with them important industry and company knowledge that will be difficult to replace. In fact, 62 percent of employers at Fortune 100 companies believe that future retirements will result in skilled labor shortages over the next 5 years.
Despite this, only 19-37 percent of companies have taken action to prevent a future “brain drain”, while the majority of companies have done nothing to prepare. When older workers retire, all of the knowledge and experience they’ve accumulated over the years is gone with them, leading to a shortage of experienced workers. Companies can mitigate that risk by using social collaboration tools to capture industry and company knowledge. When discussions take place on a social collaboration tool, workers can turn their knowledge into searchable content that will be available to colleagues for years to come.
This can be much more useful than a traditional knowledge transfer in which the retiring worker would train their replacement. For one, the information could be gathered over a much longer period of time, to account for both general knowledge and use-case-specific knowledge. Secondly, the same training wouldn’t need to take place each time the position was vacated, as the information would be recorded, updated and available for future hires. Finally, the information wouldn’t be restricted to a single person within your organization – it would be available to anyone who needs it.
Baby Boomer Brain Drain [Infographic] by MBA@UNC’s online MBA programs