Social Business

Robert Brandson keeping retiring boomer expertise: an e20 no-brainer, but more good ammo for the pitch

A McKinsey Quarterly survey in 2007 found that the Baby Boomer generation is “the best-educated, most highly skilled aging workforce in U.S. history.” Though they’re “only” about 40% of the workforce, they comprise more than half of all managers and almost half of all professionals, like doctors and lawyers.

Many are preparing to leave – and American leadership isn’t prepared to lose them. To paraphrase one-time presidential contender Ross Perot, that “giant sucking sound” being heard across the business landscape is the vacuum of combined knowledge locked up in the heads of millions of baby boomers heading off into retirement.

Brands offers seven steps:

– Establish and share rules of and rationales for engagement

– Scan the personnel landscape

– Set up a database or system for collecting information

– Create a home for – and invite – nuanced info

– Build bridges early on

– Host events to bring people together

– Use social media and online tools

– Make knowledge sharing a continual, perpetual habit, not a one-time act

The innovation here, from my perspectivie, is the introduction of the knowledge retention as a massive chunk of the knowledge workforce (by and large, those at the top) begin to take their bows.

It’s not enough to say, “I’ll take my company social once these old folks are out of the way.” By then maybe you’ll have budget and tools and a slew of millennials microblogging the day away. But by then you’ve lost a lot of know-how.

Find the one old guy or gal resisting social tools and knowledge management, and you’ll likely have found the one who’s experiences and insights could most benefit the knowledge pool.

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