We all know that veteran employee who has an encyclopedic knowledge of an industry, or has handled so many complex transactions that he can guide you through the process effortlessly.
Well, that employee and about 9,999 of his or her cohorts likely are retiring each day. Baby Boomers, who make up 79 million veteran employees across the American workforce, are reaching the age of 65 at a clip of 10,000 per day, according to the Pew Research Center.
Many companies now face the prospect that an incredible wealth of institutional knowledge will be exiting their company over the next several years as these Boomers ride off into the proverbial sunset.
Losing knowledge might seem like a minor issue in a world awash in information, but organizational experts who have studied companies extensively differentiate distinctly between knowledge and information.
Knowledge comes from experience, from years of solving problems and learning the intricacies of that process firsthand. Information is raw facts and data. Information is often most useful in the hands of a knowledgeable and experienced employee who knows how to filter and activate it.
So how do companies prepare for the inevitable exodus of their most knowledgeable employees? Here are three ideas that can save you the headache of realizing the value of your company’s institutional knowledge only after it has walked out the door.
Encourage intergenerational mentoring
Each generation has a lot it can learn from the other. Baby boomers can pass on their experience, even as millennials and Generation Z employees tap older employees into new technology and innovative ideas. Creating a mentoring program within your company that purposefully mixes up generations that often congregate only with their age groups can make sure institutional knowledge is passed along and new innovations and technologies are more easily adopted.
Pairing a baby boomer mentor with a millennial or Gen Z mentee can improve both employees’ engagement and morale, while preserving the company’s precious internal knowledge.
Read the rest of the article at rgj.com.