6 Steps to Preventing Brain Drain

By the Numbers

Many people underestimate the potentially catastrophic impact of “Brain Drain”. The Pentagon is now dealing with the problem on a very serious scale. They need to refurbish America’s arsenal of Trident nuclear warheads, but Washington has a problem.

In the 25 years since the warheads were first armed it seems the original personnel, which did not take the time to document the process, has retired or died. Now the National Nuclear Security Administration is spending millions of dollars trying to recreate the procedure.

According to U Express, others are experiencing similar problems. In Germany over three hundred top secret files have been lost. The files are so secret the German company does not even know what is in them!

Brain Drain occurs when experienced employees retire. Surveys show Baby Boomers have temporarily deferred their retirements until the economy recovers. Once they see recovery has ended, a record exodus of experience will leave the workplace -- creating a significant brain drain. There are six essential steps for organizations to stop brain drain by ramping up the experience of Gens X and Y while retaining Boomers longer.

They are: 1. Adopt Age-Neutral Policies.

Allow Baby Boomers to feel welcome by developing age-neutral policies. This is more extensive than simply eliminating mandatory retirement. Try to develop career paths allowing employees to reduce their responsibilities (and stress) as they reach their golden years. One way is to allow employees to work part time or during peak periods.

2. Training.

Train young managers how to connect Baby Boomers to technology and new management styles. Peer training is also helpful so all employees understand the assets of the various generations.

3. Measure Job Fit.

Make sure all employees are in the right job for their interest and personality.

4. Mentoring.

Develop mentoring programs to connect Boomers with Gen X and Y employees. This is a great way to transfer your “brain” instead of draining it.

5. Succession Planning.

Have a solid succession plan in place to protect yourself against employee loses. This is more than just plotting out who moves where. Use automated online assessments to determine if the people within your plan have the people skills, interests, and training they need to take the position you feel they should have. Remember they are not ready for the position today or you probably would have already made the change. Get them prepared while you have time and you will reduce the impact of brain drain later.

6. Flexible Schedules.

Allow employees to take part in one or all of the exciting, proven programs designed to reduce stress on employees and managers. Possibilities include job sharing, work from home, self-scheduling by a team, and many more novel ideas. Act quickly as a tidal wave of retiring Boomers is now appearing on the radar.