Why bother developing your employees? Because it´s the thing the do? Because if you don´t some other company will? In many ways it comes down to doing what you need to do to keep good people. Indeed, why invest in your slackers? You may have read something in the last year about accommodating older workers. I won´t put an age range there. Let´s just use the big catch-all-Baby Boomers. I read recently that some boomers who split their time between two homes have been able to keep their jobs. This works well if you´re employed by a company with locations across the country. But it also raises a question about any employer´s flexibility and willingness to do what´s necessary to keep good people.
Yet it goes beyond simply keeping your best people. It´s also about retaining your most experienced employees. Yes, "best" and "most experienced" might sound redundant, but as workers age their vast experience and knowledge aren´t always recognized and/or appreciated. But imagine the time and money you can save that would otherwise be spent on training if you could capture and hold on to the very, very skilled and experienced workforce in your own backyard?
One of the biggest challenges for employers is designing retention programs that work across a broad range of people. Someone in her twenties just starting out clearly has different skill sets and motivations than the seasoned employee who´s going on his 20th year at the company. The trick, of course, is to create incentives that get the good people to the same place-staying put with your company. But for the Baby Boomer generation, that means developing work environments that enable them to enjoy their "retirement" yet maintain a strong presence in the workplace. Indeed, retirement isn´t what it used to be. This generation has a huge work ethic (and that´s not to say that Gen-Xers don´t) and whether they want to have financial security or prevent boredom from settling in these Baby Boomers are not walking out the corporate front door as quickly as the generation that preceded them. And that´s a good thing, because when they do walk out that door they´re going to be taking with them a tremendous brain trust with valuable skills and knowledge that younger workers simply don´t have (and won´t have for years to come).
Many companies, hopefully yours is included, know that labor shortages are a possibility when it comes to Baby Boomers poised to retire and so they are preparing how to deal with this eventuality. On the other hand, some companies don´t see it as a problem and may suffer potential losses. Is your company in the former group or the latter?
Next time: more about what your organization can do to prepare.