Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Preventing Crucial Knowledge Leaving with Retiring Older Workers

Anne Fisher writes about a few companies that are working on ways to capture the knowledge of older workers and disseminate it to younger workers before it's too late. What they're doing may offer a blueprint for other companies.
As the "old white guys" depart in droves, plenty of human resources managers fear that the younger workers won't be ready to step up and run the show. Boston-based consulting firm Novations Group recently surveyed 2,900 HR people and found that only one-third are confident that they have enough talent in the pipeline to keep their businesses humming as boomers bow out.
Among the practices Fisher highlights to avoid the brain drain are (1) traditional mentoring, (2) "communities of practice"-—companywide groups that meet, in person and online, to share information, (3) "action learning teams"--which put people together from several disciplines-—manufacturing, sales, marketing, legal, finance—-to solve particular problems, making sure to include young managers who participate along with older and presumably wiser colleagues, and (4) retain older people--at least part-time--until they've had a chance to teach others what they know.

Source: "How to Battle the Coming Brain Drain" Fortune (March 21, 2005)

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