As baby boomers retire, companies are failing – in a big way – to transfer knowledge to the next generation of workers.
According to a recent study conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), only 29% of responding organizations report that they incorporate retirement forecasts into their knowledge transfer practices, and only a third add “skills gap analysis” into those forecasts.
The crux of the problem?
“For all the public gnashing of teeth about the impending retirement of all those knowledgeable, hard-working Baby Boomers, relatively few organizations are doing much about it,” says Jay Jamrog, SVP of research at i4cp. “They’re going to wind up in a mad bar-the-doors scramble in the near future if they don’t start trying to tap the knowledge of their most knowledgeable Boomers.”
Training remains the most conventional way to transfer knowledge in organizations, with 82% reporting that training is an ongoing knowledge transfer practice. This is especially true in larger companies (those with 5,000 or more employees), where more than 90% employ ongoing training. Another top practice cited was coaching, utilized by 55% of all reporting companies, and mentoring programs are used on an ongoing basis by 44% of organizations.
BOTTOMLINE: For small and midsized businesses to remain competitive, a formalized process of knowledge transfer (of trends, policies, procedures, information gathering, competitive intelligence, and so on…) must be deployed. This process must be open, transparent, collaborative and immediately available (think Twitter, Skype, SharePoint, Slideshare, Posterous, etc.) to share, capture, retain, and disseminate the knowledge.