The Boomer Brain Drain: 77% of Companies Lack Strategies

While hardly a day goes by without recruiters bemoaning the worker shortage due to baby boomer retirements, a new study points to an alarming lack of focus on the associated threat of losing those workers’ organizational knowledge.

If your company is one of the 77% that lacks a formal strategy to manage and retain worker knowledge, read on.

In a new report, entitled “Building and Securing an Organizational Brain Trust in an Age of Brain Drain,” it appears to be a classic case of what you can’t measure, you can’t manage. Only 23% of firms report having a formal method to actually identify the knowledge that needs to be protected and retained.

It’s also revealed that 12% of human resource managers report knowledge retention as a high priority within their organizations, despite the fact that one-third estimate 20% or more of their current workforce will be eligible for retirement over the next several years.

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The report also shows that 43% of respondents cite the ability to measure the ROI and effectiveness of a knowledge retention program as a chief stumbling block to implementing a formal strategy.

While no single tool has emerged that readily enables companies to tackle knowledge-retention challenges, the study suggests a handful of steps that organizations can try.

These include appointing a Chief Knowledge Officer to be responsible for organizational knowledge; implementing a formal program to actively identify key knowledge assets and its sources; providing knowledge-sharing incentives for employees and incorporating standards in performance reviews; and creating a blogging forum and mentoring program.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.


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