Silver Avalanche

Is your company’s knowledge retiring?

A large percentage of the company’s workforce is made up of older, experienced employees who are retiring, often taking valuable institutional knowledge with them. Companies are facing a ‘silver avalanche’. The term is often used to describe situations where a company has not adequately planned for the retirement of its employees, and is left with a lack of experienced personnel.

Many companies are beginning to realize the importance of building training systems to retain the knowledge of their retiring employees. An estimated 10,000 baby boomers are retiring every day, now is the time to take steps to ensure their collective knowledge is not lost as these experienced workers leave the workforce.

“Get familiar with the term ‘Silver Avalanche’ and start adequately planning for the retirement of your aging workforce and enlist their help to pass on valuable institutional knowledge to your less experienced personnel”.

Kevin Ramdas, PhD.

One of the biggest challenges in retaining the knowledge of retiring employees is the fact that much of this knowledge is often embedded in their daily work habits and practices. It’s not always easy to identify and document the specific skills and experiences that these workers have gained over the course of their careers.

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How does a company address the challenge of an aging workforce?

To address this challenge of an aging workforce you can start by building training systems that focus on capturing the knowledge of retiring employees. This can involve a variety of approaches, including:

  • 1. Knowledge transfer programs: Programs designed to facilitate the transfer of knowledge from retiring employees to younger workers include mentorship programs, job shadowing, and other forms of hands-on training.
  • 2. Documentation systems: Documenting the knowledge of retiring employees is an important step in retaining it for future use. Examples include, creating written guides, video tutorials, or other forms of documentation.
  • 3. Training programs: Training programs can be an effective way to impart the knowledge of retiring employees to younger workers. Consider a combination of in-person training sessions and through online courses and webinars.
  • 4. Collaboration tools: Project management software tools and online collaboration platforms are great at facilitating knowledge sharing between employees.

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How to build and retain the knowledge of your aging workforce?

There are a few general training principles to retain the knowledge of a retiring workforce:

  • 1. Start early: It’s important to begin building training systems well in advance of the retirement of key employees. This will give you time to develop a plan and identify the knowledge and develop the appropriate systems and processes.
  • 2. Involve all stakeholders: Building training systems should enlist the help and expertise of the Human Resources and training departments. It’s important to involve all relevant stakeholders in the process, including management, employees, and subject matter experts.
  • 3. Make it a priority: Preserving the information of those who are leaving their positions is essential. Most importantly, allocate funds and other resources to incorporate the educational programs into the company’s plan.
  • 4. Foster a culture of continuous learning: Create a culture of continuous learning within the organization by providing access to training resources and encouraging employees to seek out new learning opportunities. Always recognize and reward employees for their interest in staying up-to-date with new developments in their field.
  • 5. Keep it relevant: Tailor the training systems to the specific needs of your organization and the knowledge that you are trying to retain. This means taking the time to understand the specific skills and experiences of retiring employees and developing training programs and resources that are relevant to the needs of your business.

Companies that build training systems that focus on capturing and retaining the knowledge of their retiring employees, maintain their competitive edge and thrive in an increasingly complex and rapidly changing business environment.

TelecomTRAIN, Inc. has been providing technical skills training to the telecom industry for almost 20 years. We can turn your workforce into telecom experts through various modes of online, on demand, virtual instructor-led, and in-person training. Visit the TelecomTRAIN website for information on technical courses, free webinars, events and other thought leadership activities.