Boomers at the (exit) gates
We’ve all heard it - the baby boomers who have filled the corporate offices, populated the boardrooms, and presided over meetings for the last 30 years are getting ready to retire. They are checking their retirement packages, examining lifestyle changes, contemplating a life of travel and relaxation, to the point where some are winding down now - well ahead of their official departure date.
Simultaneously, the up-and-coming leaders, the Gen X and Gen Y groups are gearing up to take over. They are using the Internet and social media to connect with their peers like never before. And, instead of quietly waiting in the wings, these emerging leaders are actively seeking other opportunities where they are able to jump in, make high value contributions NOW - and learn, learn, learn.
So instead of the seamless transition from the old guard currently at the helm to the capable hands of their existing middle managers, many companies are facing a major drain on their talent pool coupled with a crippling loss of corporate memory.
Can corporate life thrive or even survive in the midst of this churn?
Regrettably, many managers have not stopped to consider the impact the loss of long-time employees will have on their organization. It appears they don’t appreciate how the lack of a strategy to capture and preserve essential corporate knowledge can quickly bite them – until they find themselves in a crisis situation.
We have visited organizations that are taking a close look at what’s required to make the transition with minimal disruption:
- Preparing middle management teams by partnering them with mentors and coaches.
- Budgeting and allocating both time and money to support the work that needs to be started now.
- Taking steps to retain the historical information that will be crucial to their future success.
So the challenge is this: How can organizations re-energize and engage their soon-to-depart employees? This is a group who will not be with the organization much longer and will not be implementing the long range plans. Simultaneously, they must retain highly talented people who are keen to influence the future and take over at the helm so they can make their mark?
Is your organization taking action to address these issues? Are you aware of any unique or highly successful programs to retain both institutional memory and young talent? Or have there been efforts that have no traction and are looking like failures? We would love to hear your stories in the comments below!
Heather Hughes CMC, is a Certified Management Consultant with over 30 years experience in organizational change, succession planning, leadership development and employee engagement. She is a Senior Consultant with Delta Partners and brings a global perspective to her clients that emerges from her work in Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK . Heather also has a strong industrial background from her work in the forestry, transportation, fisheries and mining sectors. She is the author of “L is for Leader, that’s you” a resource for business leaders.