With Baby Boomers already aging out of the workforce, what steps are you taking to preserve the knowledge base of your company for future generations of employees?
If this line of thought is not already an integral part of the working philosophy of your company, it could be at risk for what is known as a “brain drain.” For more than ten years, analysts have been forecasting the contraction of the American workforce as Baby Boomers age out or retire early. Now that Baby Boomers are steadily streaming out of the workforce, every company should be concerned about preserving critical knowledge about company operations for future generations of workers.
Here are four questions to ask to evaluate your company’s risk for critical knowledge loss:
1 – What are the ages of all company employees, and what percentage of those employees are over 45, 50, and 55-years of age?
2 – If the employee age data is then analyzed by department or job function, are there any areas of operations facing a 25% or greater aging-out of the company workforce in the next 5-years?
3 – Is there a defined company metric used to identify critical knowledge employees?
4 – What strategic plan is in place to capture knowledge from senior employees, particularly those flagged as being critical to company operations?
If you are like most company officers, your answers to these questions may reveal that it is time for you to make the investment of time and money into building a robust corporate mentoring program that builds your company’s knowledge base as a result.
A company mentoring program is the most effective and the easiest way to build your company’s knowledge base. Through a company mentoring program, the knowledge base is transferred from one generation of workers to the next. Connecting critical employees to newer employees allows 2-way learning. The mentor can self-identify important information to teach, and the mentee can self-generate a custom tutorial by asking the questions most pressing to current job functions.
And those companies which are most strategic take mentoring a step further by trying to capture that mentor-mentee communication in written form. The spontaneous communication between a mentor and mentee often touches upon the heart of company operations and contains valuable information that could be missed if the mentor was asked to “just write it down.”
Using a mentor communications platform, like the specialty product offered by Mutual Force, allows companies to capture mentor-mentee communication into .pdf format to build a knowledge base that is a literal database. Other employees can search this mentoring database to look into the history of similar problem-solving, identification of outside resources, and not-to-be-repeated mistakes along side how success was achieved.
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