Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Case Study: Shadowing Program for Boomer Succession Plans

According to an article written by Barbara Rose of the Chicago Tribune, International Truck and Engine Corp. started a program of assigning younger employees to "shadow" veterans before the older workers retire in 2004 after a report to the company's board showed that half its 600 managers and executives would be eligible for retirement within five years. As Dan Ustian, chairman, the company's president and chief executive officer, said: "All that knowledge is really important--the culture, the relationships with customers. It’s vital we get a head start."

Among other things, bosses at International were coached on how to initiate talks with retirement-eligible employees without running afoul of age discrimination laws. They asked questions such as, "Where do you see yourself in five years?" and, "Are there other positions you'd consider?" "Many of the conversations are about trying to get them to stay and groom a successor," said Greg Elliott, vice president for corporate human resources and administration. Then, the company would work with the retiring employee; for example, with one senior executive, his package, which included a retention bonus, kept him on 12 months, long enough to identify a successor and complete a six-month process of job shadowing.

Source: "Preparing for the baby boomer brain drain" Portsmouth Herald (May 3, 2006)

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