Capture Knowledge Before the Looming Brain Drain

It should come as no surprise that many Baby Boomers have one foot out the door at their current employers. For the past several years, media outlets and industry analysts have been sounding the alarm about the imminent mass exodus of Boomers from the workforce. 

Case in point: The U.S. Government Accountability Office reports that by September 2017, around 31 percent of government workers will be eligible to retire. And, although the recession may have caused some workers to remain in their jobs longer than they expected, now that the economy is bouncing back, Boomers are beginning to brush off their retirement plans and make their way toward the door.

What does this mean for employers? When those retirees leave the company, they will take a significant amount of institutional and industry knowledge with them, which can lead to mission-critical skills and leadership gaps if companies aren’t adequately prepared. NASA estimates, for instance, that the civil servants who leave their Safety and Mission Assurance department have an average of 15 years more experience than those who have come in to replace them.  

Additionally, although Millennials are more than willing to take on leadership roles – more than half say they aspire to become the most senior executive at their organization – the fact is, most of them just aren’t ready yet. Research from the Aberdeen Group indicates that many organizations will only be capable of delivering 67 percent of the leaders that their businesses will require in the next three to five years.

How to Capture Knowledge Now for the Future

To remain competitive and running efficiently, organizations need to take steps now to bridge their potential knowledge gaps and minimize the disruption caused by losing these skilled workers. Recognizing succession planning as a strategic priority, rather than just another HR tool, will help organizations institutionalize their knowledge capture approach and ensure that they have a reliable talent pipeline that can carry them into the future.  

Although hiring the right talent is vital to organizational success, so, too, is recognizing and optimizing the talent already present within the company. With a comprehensive talent management solution, organizations benefit from invaluable insight into multiple dimensions of organizational talent, such as potential, competency proficiency, job readiness and performance ratings. By leveraging talent management data, companies gain the business intelligence they need to prepare for the loss of critical talent. 

In order to train workers as quickly and efficiently as possible, organizations also need visibility into existing employees’ career interests and development opportunities available to close key skills gaps. The right solution empowers employers to make data-driven decisions that maximize the capabilities of available talent.   

By making knowledge capture a priority within the organization, companies can continue to operate efficiently despite the potential for a torrent of employee retirements. Using a robust talent management platform can help a company minimize the “brain drain” of a retiring workforce while ensuring a steady pipeline of talent who is prepared for advancement into mission-critical roles.

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