We’ve all seen the headlines: Baby Boomers are retiring in astonishing numbers.
This major demographic trend actually started back in 2011, when the eldest members of the Baby Boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) began reaching the traditional retirement age of 65. About 77 million Americans were born in this time period, making it significantly larger than the generations immediately before and after. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg—the American workforce can expect drastic implications resulting from these retirements for at least the next decade. According to the Pew Research Center, until the year 2030, a staggering 10,000 Boomers per day will reach age 65. That means that a staggering 31% of the U.S. workforce will be retiring in the next decade. For businesses, this massive exodus represents a worrisome loss of employees with valuable skills developed over decades in the workforce, strong institutional knowledge, and leadership abilities that are often lacking in younger workers.
The situation calls for significant advance planning from businesses in every sector.
Clearly, employers need to implement proactive approaches to minimize the impact of this large-scale displacement. Those companies that don’t develop a plan to deal with the drastic increase in retirements will be fighting a losing battle in the war for talent for the next fifteen years or more. So how can your business brace for the Baby Boomer retirement wave? Here are some smart strategies to implement:
Consider “retirement coaching”.
This means far more than simply providing a to-do list when older workers announce their retirement. The coach is someone who can support retiring employees through the process of their departure and help them understand the steps along the way. Structured properly, coaching sessions are comfortable relationships that can include phone support and follow-up with the coach. Effective retirement coaching helps give both prospective retirees and younger employees a clearer view of their future with the organization.
Make succession planning an undisputed priority.
The only organizations that can sustain leadership and talent development are those that view it as a consistent and accepted priority. Otherwise, the urgent crises of the day will always take precedence and workforce development will be forced to take a back seat. Premier organizations implement best practices of succession planning and expand aspects of the process to include all positions. This allows all employees to receive a rigorous development plan, while providing resources focused on those workers who are the most prepared to take on greater leadership responsibility.
Facilitate knowledge transfer between employees.
Begin now to identify staff members with leadership potential and craft a formal mentorship plan for them that includes learning specific competencies from your best veteran employees. Devise ways to enable these potential replacements to gain first-hand knowledge of the skills required to successfully perform in the positions. Structured one-to-one mentoring relationships may make sense, but routinely pairing older and younger workers in intergenerational work teams can also be valuable. Job shadowing and formal training sessions provide opportunities for detailed learning. Involving senior workers in new-hire training programs offers another way to facilitate the sharing of knowledge.
Formulate and implement creative working arrangements for retirees.
Allowing your retired employees to remain involved with the organization has potential benefits for everyone involved. It provides them with an opportunity to remain active and contributing, and extra income. In return, your company retains their decades of valuable knowledge and experience. Flexibility is often the key to keeping these older generations of workers around, so identify solutions that work for your business. This may include job-sharing, part-time schedules, flex time, telecommuting, phased retirement, and/or opportunities for consultancies.
Plan now, flourish later.
The grey tsunami is still in its infancy, but it’s essential to begin preparing now. By acting promptly to harness the advanced knowledge of your older employees while cultivating their potential successors, your organization can successfully weather the Baby Boomer retirement wave.
The HR Team is here to offer valuable tools, techniques and succession planning insights that can mitigate the loss of these retiring workers. Please contact our knowledgeable professionals to learn more.
About The HR Team: Founded in 1996, The HR Team is a Maryland-based human resources outsourcing firm committed to developing strategic, customized solutions that respond to the unique needs and cultures of organizations of all types and sizes. Available as a one-source alternative to an in-house HR department or on an à la carte project basis, the company’s flexible service models address the full spectrum of HR needs that many organizations struggle to address. The HR Team helps clients achieve their highest level of success by providing value-driven human resources services that leave them time to focus on what they do best: directing business growth and profitability. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, the firm serves all of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. To learn more about The HR Team, call 410.381.9700 or visit https://www.thehrteam.com/.