As the economy stabilizes, many companies feel they are now back on solid footing, however, they may not be prepared for the next big bubble to burst: The Boomer retirement bubble.
Over the next two decades, as countless experienced workers walk out the door, it is up to the companies and industries that employ them to take steps to avoid the knowledge vacuum as the best educated, most highly skilled aging workforce in history prepares for retirement. Here are 5 steps to avoid the knowledge vacuum, and protect your company when your most skilled workers move on to the next stage of their lives.
1. Identify Key Leadership Positions
This can be done by going over major roles in the company, determining their vacancy risk, as well as their responsibilities, functions, authority, and how those play into the greater operation of the company. For example, if you have a manager approaching retirement age, determine a timeline of her departure, what her tasks and responsibilities are, and which employees report to her for what tasks.
2. Identify the Skills within the Key Leadership Roles
Once you determine whose roles are key leadership roles, determine what skills, education, and experience is required to manage each position successfully. You can collect this information and file it for later use, but make sure to update it as needed.
3. Assess Your Current Employees
At this stage, it is important for the department or company to determine who, if any current employees could successfully assume the roles that are a vacancy risk. It is a good idea to think as far ahead as three to five years before the vacancy of the leadership position if possible. This allows the employee who may fill that role time to prepare and transition more seamlessly.
4. Develop and Implement Career Development Strategies
Create opportunities for your employees to develop different skills within the company, and determine what career paths they would like to pursue and what options are available to them. If you have annual performance reviews, this may be an excellent time to discuss these options with them. Encouraging your employees to learn and grow, and making them aware they can advance in the company will create more prepared, able workers for when others retire.
5. Monitor and Evaluate Strategies
Monitor how the implemented strategies assist in closing the high priority talent gap. Succession planning is a difficult task, and your plan may require some fine tuning depending on the roles that become available. However, if you remain flexible, and plan well, replacing your key employees should go smoothly, and with minimal impact to your company.