Filling the Skills Gap Left by Workforce Retirees

May 21, 2014
baby boomers knowledge
All savvy business owners know that employee turnover will never go away. People join, people leave, and if a company is strong, it can keep rolling. However, many companies are currently facing one of the more challenging business issues in recent years: baby boomers are retiring, and they are taking their well-honed skills and years of acquired knowledge with them.
At first, this may not seem like such a dire problem. Just hire some new blood to take their places, give the new people a little time to adjust, and carry on, right? Not exactly. While Gen X’ers, Gen Y’ers, and Millennials all offer some advantages over their elder counterparts, and while they may certainly look impressive on paper, they simply lack the skills and knowledge that their predecessors accrued over many years in the workforce. There’s a skills gap, and as more baby boomers retire, this gap is becoming more significant.
Thankfully for business owners and managers, this potentially problematic issue is coming to light sooner rather than later. Retiring employees are an inevitable part of doing business. However, there are steps that your business can take to reduce the impact of all those skills and all that knowledge leaving along with your retirees. Here are a few things to consider.

Planning Ahead

To lessen the impending skills gap caused by retiring experienced workers and, as a result, its impact on your business, it’s important to plan. Conduct an assessment of your staff, specifically how many of your employees will retire, when you think they’ll go, what information they might take with them, and what you can do to help retain that knowledge while amiably saying goodbye and thanking them for their years of hard work and dedication.
It’s also wise to talk directly with your more experienced staff to get a clearer picture of their anticipated time frame. Do they plan to be around for one more year? Two? Five? It may be worth it to create incentives to encourage the baby boomers on your team to stick around a bit longer while you scout out good, viable, long-term replacements for them. Of course, Williams Recognition can help you with an employee service reward program to create incentives for employees to stay on board.
Finally, think of how you can eventually turn new hires into knowledgeable pros who stay and grow with your company for years. Again, turn to Williams Recognition for great programs and incentives that will help you cultivate a team of employees that will keep you ahead of your competition.

Getting New Hires Up to Speed

In many companies, as one employee leaves, another is brought on to fill the opening. These days, smart business managers know that some overlap of employees is not only a good idea, it’s absolutely crucial for training new staff. After all, who better to get a new hire up to speed than the person who held their job for the previous 20 years? Consider hiring a new staff member at least a few months before the person he or she will replace retires. Or, you might keep retirees on as consultants to help train new hires. This type of mentorship not only ensures that your new people will be great, but it demonstrates that your company puts a high value on personal relationships.
It is important to be patient with new hires. Keep in mind that it will take some time to get new team members acclimated and comfortable. Years of accumulated knowledge and high level skills don’t become established quickly. It is a process, but if you give it time, it will work.

Celebrate The Retirement of a Co-Worker!

While a retiring co-worker might temporarily slow you down, don’t forget to be happy for the new path that he or she is setting out on. Retirement is a major milestone, so take time to celebrate it! Again, putting an emphasis on your people and what they’ve accomplished sends the message that your company values relationships, hard work, and dedication. For more ideas on how to honor your retirees, give Williams Recognition’s a call toll free at 877-562-6501.

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