About 4 million baby boomers leave the the hand of work every year. This is a major concern for business leaders, as baby boomers are putting on make-up a quarter of the country's working population and many are in management positions. As some of the most valuable members of their team begin to retire, employers are beginning to feel the pressure and develop an emergency plan.
This is not surprising, as demographers have long predicted that our current decade will see the number of baby boomers at work begin to decline rapidly. However, business leaders may not have been able to count on a shortage of new professionals in the talent pool in their sector.
In particular, industries that have experienced ups and downs in recent decades are losing a new generation of candidates because of their unstable job bad reputation. This is particularly true for large oil and gas companies, which have experienced long periods of celebration or famine since the 1940s.
Fortunately, there are tools and techniques that can mitigate the loss of workers retiring. Artificial intelligence, virtual reality and tailored technology solutions can help provide long-term solutions to the brain drain of the baby boomer generation. By applying a broad dose of technology to your business, you can mitigate the difficulties caused by the exodus of your employees.
Use technology to do more with less people
It's not enough to replace baby boomers with an equal number of new employees. After all, a lot of employee experience, education and well-honed workflow come out with them. Yet each crisis contains both a danger and a chance. The influx of baby boomers offers you the opportunity to use technology to reduce your dependence on human workers by streamlining processes and helping you continually improve the form and functioning of your company.
In the public service sector, for example, the retiring workforce is a major problem – and a major opportunity for improvement. "The shortage of qualified field technicians causes a significant delay in the work to be done ", note Lee Schwartz, CEO of EnSight +. "To overcome the lack of human capital, companies can deploy software that will allow them to do more with less." Schwartz explains how technicians able to handle five tasks in a day could, after implementing a software solution, at eight in the same amount of time. Using Technology to improve the efficiency of your remaining team members will help you in your efforts to combat the loss of productivity caused by the retirement of boomers.
Use technology to store baby boomer knowledge
Technology-enhanced processes help, but they can only go very far. Without sufficient brain drain, you may be able to search for information that has been missing for a long time. And much of this knowledge is not missed until definitive disappearance. If you have been diligent, your employees' tasks can be documented in comprehensive and well-documented operational procedures. But let's be realistic: most modern knowledge transfers can be summarized as a few poorly recorded steps and outdated threads.
Fortunately, social networking at the workplace is more than wasted time by Facebook. Collaborative tools such as Bloomfire, Zendesk and Confluence help employees share their knowledge (with the company) on platforms storing this knowledge for later use. For example, Asian Paints, a leading painting company in India, had its sales staff use the internal social network of the company to share best practices and techniques. When a veteran salesman leaves his position, his knowledge is stored in the platform so that the team can retain them, applying the beneficial practices of the past to the challenges of today. When choosing a knowledge management platform for your business, be sure to read the fine print and select a tool that will securely store your knowledge and digital files.
Use technology to improve training for new employees
Of course, you can not solve all your brain drain problem with technical efficiency and stored knowledge. You are going to need new employees and you need to brief them quickly. Fortunately, this virtual reality can give a boost to new employees. Virtual reality helps to reduce the high costs of live training and results in a much higher retention rate than traditional training materials. Walmart, for example, uses the tools of Strivr to train employees in all sorts of tasks, from racing to Black Friday to the use of unknown technologies, this has resulted in higher retention rates and test scores.
In Arizona, the Pima County Sheriff's Department Uses Multiple Interaction Learning Option when training new MPs. Large flat panels are placed around the trainees so that they have a 300-degree view of each simulated scene. After the simulation, the deputy ministers and their supervisors discuss the exercise. This mimics the continuous learning that occurs at work, as new deputy ministers work with more experienced officers, day in and day out. By managing various experiments through simulations, new assistants do not have to wait for particular situations to occur naturally at work to learn from experienced staff. Although your new employees are unlikely to face such life and death situations, you can also use virtual reality training to accelerate the transfer of knowledge between your veterans and your beginners.
As baby boomers leave the workforce, the experience gap between new and old employees can put companies at risk, and often the loss of knowledge is not apparent until it's too late. However, technology solutions can help improve data management, faster training and more skilled employees, which can help you bridge the gap between baby boomers and junior employees.