Aug 10, 2007
By: Alvaro Fernandez
Alice SnellÃ‚Â kindly brings to our attention her nice post, Baby Boomers: The Beat Goes On, commenting on several reports and articles on the aging workforce challenge.Ã‚Â
This is a very important topic, and directly related to what we are doing. Let me provide an overview with these 10 points. First, some context:
1) The Conference Board published a good report in 2005 titled America’s Aging Workforce Posing New Opportunities and Challenges. Quotes:
- “Some 64 million baby boomers (over 40 percent of the U.S. labor force) are poised to retire in large numbers by the end of this decade. In industries already facing labor and skills shortages, forward-thinking companies are recruiting, retaining, and developing flexible work-time arrangements and/or phased retirement plans for these workers (55 years of age or older), many of whom have skills that are difficult to replace. Such actions are putting these companies ahead of competitors who view the aging workforce largely as a burden putting strains on pension plans and healthcare costs.”
- “More older workers want to remain in their jobs for both personal fulfillment and financial reasons. In a related forthcoming study from The Conference Board, more than half (55 percent) of older employees surveyed said they were not planning to retire because they find their jobs interesting. Significantly, 74 percent also cited not having sufficient financial resources as a reason they were continuing to work, and 60 percent cited the need for medical benefits.”
Not only in the US: the largest single group within the UK workforce in 2006 was comprised ofÃ‚Â people between 45 and 59.
2) Some consulting companies like Accenture seem to be betting that the solution will be to improve technology for knowledge transfer and train younger employees as soon as possibleÃ‚Â (interview notes of the conversation betweenÃ‚Â Accenture’s CEO Bill Green and William J. Holstein, editor in chief of Chief Executive magazine.)
3) And the market for Talent Management and Succession Planning solutions has been growing steadily, and has more room to grow:Ã‚Â The Bottleneck – A Lack of Succession Planning in HR.Ã‚Â
Now,Ã‚Â Alice mentions a few interesting reports and articles
4) Preparing for an Aging Workforce: A Focus on New York Businesses, a survey of 400 HR managers sponsored by AARP. One interesting tidbit I found in the report: when asked about “Strategies to help employees work past traditional retirement age”,Ã‚Â the top answer was “Training to Upgrade SkillsÃ‚Â (out of 8 such as “easing into the retirement” or “working part-time”).
5) The Talent-Shortage Myth, byÃ‚Â Workforce Management editor John Hollon, where he tries to debunk the myth of a massive, simultaneous worker shortage, highlighting that many baby boomers will want to remain in the workforce for many more years.
6) She ends up asking “Does your organization have—or need—a baby boomer exit strategy?”
My 2 cents
7)Ã‚Â Companies need a comprehensive strategy, more than a baby boomer “exit” strategy:Ã‚Â hiring and training younger employees, ensure knowledge transfer,Ã‚Â manage talent and sucession planning, AND training baby boomers who want to stay. I tend to agree with John Hollon that there won’t be a massive shortage. Many baby boomers will want to, and need to, keep working.Ã‚Â But it will be important for sectors like government, communications, energy, utilities, to manage their worforce of people over 50 and ensure flexible and appropriate workplace arrangements, and start planning now for those arrangements.
8)Ã‚Â An important componentÃ‚Â of that strategy,Ã‚Â that seems to be overlooked so far, is how to help those Employees to ensure maximum Productivity and Health. We have been discussing theÃ‚Â growing researchÃ‚Â behind brain fitness and cognitive training and the increasing number of tools and potential accomodations. Won’t companiesÃ‚Â think aboutÃ‚Â them as part of their Corporate Training, Wellness and TalentÃ‚Â ManagementÃ‚Â initiatives? doesn’t it make sense to try to find the best match between talent and job profile, and won’t an older employee with better attention span, processing speed, memory and executive functionsÃ‚Â be in a better position to keep adding value, to be more healthy and productive?
9) Which is why we have started to help educate companies and professionals with articles such as Ten Important Truths About Aging: How we age is at least partially under our control, By Elkhonon Goldberg and Alvaro Fernandez, published in The Complete Lawyer.
10)Ã‚Â At a glance, those Ten Truths are:Ã‚Â
So, let me ask, does your organization have—or need—a comprehensive baby boomer strategy? does that strategy include aÃ‚Â tailored Training, Wellness and Talent ManagementÃ‚Â component? and does the Talent Management part include employees over 50?