Executive Development Blog

Brain Drain, or Brain Trust? You Decide.

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jun 2, 2016 11:34:47 AM


The statistics of an aging workforce tell the story. A baby boomer turns 65 every eight seconds -- over 7,000 per day. While many may delay retirement for financial and personal reasons, employers are worried—and rightfully so—that they will face a shortage of experienced workers over the next five years. The brain drain resulting from retirements in key business functions can be devastating. Organizations that ignore the looming crisis will suffer the consequences later. The good news is that many senior leaders want to give back and create a legacy in their organization. You can seize the opportunity and engage your most senior leaders before they retire and harvest their collective experience to shape the next generation of leaders in your organization. If you want to take action, here are five steps to avoid the brain drain and turn your baby boomers into a brain trust.knowledge-transfer-two_1.jpg

Step 1: Conduct a Strategic Workforce Analysis
The ability to accurately forecast when you will lose top talent across the organization is critical to succession planning and business continuity. A strategic workforce analysis should be conducted internally to anticipate the effect of retirement over the next five and 10 years and beyond.

Step 2: Refine Your Retention Strategy
Although retirement is inevitable, keeping senior workers in the labor force a little longer will provide more time to transfer knowledge. Baby boomers, however, aren’t looking for business as usual. They want flexibility.

Step 3: Identify, Prioritize and Engage Potential Retirees
There was a time when predicting the retirement of your senior leaders may have seemed relatively straightforward. Once you’ve identified the employees who represent the greatest retirement risk, talk to them about their future plans and aspirations within the organization.

Step 4: Prepare Senior and Emerging Leaders
Your efforts to engage senior leaders before they retire will be more successful if you provide the skills and tools they need to be effective.

Step 5: Create Knowledge Transfer Opportunities
There are a number of ways to facilitate the transfer of critical knowledge in your organization. There is no “one size fits all” approach—it will depend on your organization’s capabilities and culture.

To explore in-depth the steps above, download UNC’s white paper on the topic titled Passing the Torch: 5 Steps for Turning the Baby Boomer Brain Drain into a Brain Trust.

Click to Download Full White Paper

UNC Executive Development offers a broad portfolio of leadership development programs to support your emerging leaders. Take a look at our upcoming calendar here.