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Retaining the Boomer Workforce



By the year 2012 approximately 20% of the workforce will be 55 or older.  The crucial need to delay the projected labor shortages is forcing organizations to rethink their incentive programs in order to retain their maturing workers.  A recent survey of older worker’s expectations showed that 79% of older workers plan to work beyond retirement.

  Some of the incentives cited in a recent Society of Human Resource Management Research cited incentives like: Flexible work arrangements; Training to upgrade skills, time off for volunteerism and phased retirement plans.

  Boomers hold experience and business knowledge that is like ‘gold’ in the workplace issues facing today’s organizations. The smart organizations are figuring out plans to promote internal knowledge transfer and promote intergenerational learning, such as:

 Mentoring programs. These have been found to be a beneficial tool for training and passing on the boomer gold.  Mentoring programs will take a mature worker and match him/her with a small group of proteges’.  They meet regularly to discuss business issues with the mature serving acting as a sounding board for the younger employees.

Increase retiree recruiting efforts to bring back as needed for projects.  

 Providing generational/people skills training.  Give managers the tools that will ultimately encourage and increase retention of baby boomers.  What I am hearing from the business organizations I speak to, that many of the mature workers are feeling ignored in the workplace.   Rather than younger manager soliciting their wisdom, the younger managers tend to look right past the boomer – as if they have already retired and left –and continue to carry on conversations with the other younger workers.  This is generational ‘slamming’ which will cost organizations plenty. There are two reasons for it:  Younger management is unaware of how their actions affect the generational dynamics in the workplace and/or they have either never been trained in generational communication skills, perceptions and expectations.   An generational deprived and inexperienced management team can actually  recreate a clique- like scenario which actually discourages, rather than promotes, boomer retentions .

 When working to increase the learning between people with generation differences, look for things they have in common and use those things to build upon.  For example:  The desire for flexible work arrangements. While they are approaching the issue from difference ends, the mature workers and younger workers have the same desire when it comes to flexibility in scheduling. The retiree would like to still be able to work a little to give him a sense of life balance; the younger workers would like to be able to incorporate more life balance time to their work schedules.  In the Gener-Vision™ Special Reports at our website there is a wealth of information to help familiarize oneself with the expectations and desires of each of the generations.  

 We know that years the years of experience and wisdom that our boomers hold is like gold.  Losing it could cost organizations a fortune.



Donna “Kinza” Christenson, The Performance Pro

“Building leaders & Enriching meetings”

262-567-6317 *

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