For decades, the Baby Boomers have been the primary workforce in every industry across the United States. At 75 million strong, they are a powerhouse of experience and talent. However, roughly half of them are already retired and many other ones have their eyes on doing so within the next decade. This generation holds important jobs and their exits from the workforce could impact several industries-healthcare, transportation, and manufacturing specifically-negatively and create a long-term skills gap.
Leaders should proactively plan for the retirement of their Boomer employees to keep companies running fully-staffed. Here are 4 measures that can help counteract Boomers’ Exits.
Entice Them to Work Longer
Don’t automatically assume your Boomer team members want to retire in their early to mid-sixties. There are a variety of factors that play into both being able to and choosing to retire. Maybe the employee hasn’t saved enough to retire, or maybe they just love their job! Talk with the employees who are nearing retirement and make it clear they are welcome to stay in their roles as long as they’d like. Consider offering a retention bonus for every year they work, as well as extra time off. (A Silver Parachute plan if you will.) Some of them may surprise you and choose to work for several years after the traditional retirement age.
Offer Part-Time Flexibility
Employees consistently rate job flexibility as one of the top employment perks, and these may keep Boomers in their jobs longer. Think about implementing part-time work or job share positions where each employee works half time. This could guard against a mass exodus of Boomers and a disruption in your company’s efficient operation.
Another line of defense in dealing with exiting Boomers is to ask them to train people to take their places. A mentoring program can be essential in molding younger, newer employees to be qualified and experienced enough to take their places. Implement a mentoring program and encourage your more experienced team members to help train and guide the newer ones. After all, veteran team members are chock full of information that could benefit those who come after them. A mentoring program can decrease the negative effects of the hole Boomer retirees leave in the company.
Read this article that describes how to start a mentoring program.
Beef Up Your Referral Program
A final course of action for keeping your workforce fully-staffed is to mine your current employees. Referral programs are one of the best recruiting strategies. Focusing on this avenue, if your company hasn’t already, could be key to hiring high-quality people to take the retiring Boomers’ places. Advertise your referral program consistently and offer bonuses to employees who recommend people for jobs.
Here is a great article on setting up a referral program that works.
Being able to keep companies viable and relevant hinges on how their leadership manages the steady departure of their long-term Boomer employees. By proactively tackling the issue, making changes to keep Boomers working longer, and planning for ways to get high-quality employees to fill their shoes, your business can continue to flourish and minimize the impact of the retirement wave.