Known for shaping new cultural trends like smiley faces and bellbottoms, America’s more than 76 million baby boomers—those individuals born between 1946 and 1964—are now shifting America’s workforce by retiring and creating a business “brain drain.”
This older worker brain drain leaves businesses with a void of accumulated leadership, skills expertise and client relationships. Over the next two decades, 10,000 baby boomers in America will retire every day, or roughly 4 million workers a year.
A growing number of senior employees are retiring because they are family caregivers for aging loved ones. To help retain their valued, older employees, many U.S. businesses are now negotiating incentives such as increased healthcare benefits and telecommuting. Other brain drain solutions include the following:
Know the numbers. Companies can assess their risk of brain drain by gathering updated personnel data including age, tenure and job positions to determine the most beneficial workforce for the right jobs over time.
Adjust work arrangements. To decrease boomer departures, companies can review their policies and schedules to accommodate greater flexibility with senior employees. What about compressed workweeks, job-sharing or part-time hours?
Pair senior employees with emerging leaders. Businesses can tap into the wealth of experience of seasoned workers by assigning them to mentor younger successors. Fortunately, the majority of up-and-coming younger employees welcome working with business veterans.
Document processes and procedures. Involving older workers in compiling a detailed company history with specifics on the business’ internal workings is essential.
Firms also have hired back long-term employees as project-based consultants to solve specific problems or work on projects that require a sought-after skill set. Companies value these experienced veterans who can hit the ground running, and boomers value the adaptable hours, extra pay and opportunity to keep engaged. Together, both businesses and long-time workers nationwide are creating beneficial ways to turn the country’s brain drain into a brain gain.
What solutions do you suggest to reduce business brain drain?