A key problem facing businesses and organisations of all sizes in the coming years is the mass departure of the baby boomer generation as they hit retirement age.

How businesses deal with and implement strategies to alleviate the consequences this workforce exodus will create will prove decisive to their future success.

The implementation of development programmes and training to better prepare current employees for leadership duties are just a couple of ways of minimising the effect the retirement of baby boomers will have.

Succession planning

Robert Half, a leading UK recruitment specialist, suggests the following strategies to retain retiring baby boomers’ skills and experience within a company.

  • Offer a phased retirement. Phased retirement options allow baby boomers to retire gradually while providing time for them to train successors. These arrangements can include consulting, part-time work, flexible working hours, telecommuting or specialised project work.
  • Don’t just pay attention at the top. Don’t just plan for senior-level vacancies. Having a capable successor for key roles at all levels is important.
  • Prepare future leaders. Work with employees with leadership potential through mentoring, additional career development or education, and ensure they can see a viable career path within your organisation.

“Employers are facing a profound shift as baby boomers look to exit the workforce, compounding the existing skills gap. With employers challenged in finding the skills they need to grow their businesses, establishing a succession plan with a robust attraction and retention strategy will be critical to succeeding in today’s economy.” added Phil Sheridan, UK MD of Robert Half.

Retaining baby boomer employees

Retaining retirement age employees as mentors is also a valid strategy and can allow younger staff to move into more senior roles in the business under the guidance and tuition of outgoing management.

Baby boomers have often spent numerous years within a business, as they have forged a career and climbed the ladder; by allowing them to nurture and pass on their in-house knowledge to younger Generation X and Y colleagues, businesses can lessen the impact their loss can have.

Should future leaders or skilled workers not already be present in the business, businesses can look to external recruitment consultants and the wider talent pool they have access to.

With easy access to candidates at different levels, recruitment consultants can provide real value in succession planning and finding the leaders and senior management of the future, who can be nurtured and developed in the ethos and values of the business.

One thing is clear, businesses must face up to this and put in place robust strategies to address the exit of their baby boomers.

If you are facing the prospect of losing key staff due to retirement and need to implement a training programme to develop your team, our expert team are on hand to chat about your needs.