Succession Planning: Baby Boomer Brain Drain? Part II

In part II of our series on the “Baby Boomer exodus” from the workforce we look at additional strategies that can help companies prepare for the inevitable.

To review part I in our series, please visit:

Hone your succession planning

Identify which of your junior managers have the potential to move up to senior leadership.  Tell them that you recognize their potential and want to develop it.  Provide them with growth assignments so they will be as prepared as possible when it is time to advance.

Create knowledge-transfer strategies

Ultimately, senior leaders have to retire, and the only way to keep their knowledge in the company is to employ effective knowledge-transfer plans.  These can vary widely.

One approach is to set up mentoring opportunities, whereby senior leaders are paired with high-potential junior managers for the purpose of helping them prepare for increasingly responsible roles.

Job shadowing is a related strategy win which junior managers spend time observing the day-to-day activities of senior leaders.  Intergenerational work teams should be a fixture in the workplace.

Don’t overlook technology as a means of knowledge transfer.  Document information that previously existed only in people’s heads. Create formal training modules, perhaps completed online.  Have senior people conduct teaching seminars.

Fine-tune your recruiting efforts

Recruiting is, of course, one piece of the solution.  But it needs to be tailored to the challenges that you identify in your threat assessment.  Select candidates on the basis of ability and character, more than knowledge and experience.  The latter can be taught.  The former cannot.

A proactive approach to the exodus of Baby Boomers from the workforce, such as that described here, could avert a crisis of leadership in the years ahead.

Davis & Hodgdon Associates has been assisting businesses in the Burlington Vermont Metro area for more than 20 years. The firm provides tax planning and compliance as well as a complete menu of business services including succession planning to businesses of all sizes. For more information visit: or call 802.878.1963 or email [email protected].

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