Welcome to the new normal. Millennials now represent the majority of the US workforce and Gen Xers are a close second (pewresearch.org). If you or your key staff are Baby Boomers and are planning to retire within the next few years, there is a good chance that your organization will be negatively impacted by the vast amount of information walking out of the door. Three questions to mitigate this risk should be asked of those planning an exit:
- What do you work on / know that really matters and no one else has a clue about?
- When you leave, which ball that you’ve been juggling is most likely to fall?
- And, what are the rare pieces of information that you’re privy to that shouldn’t be lost?
Capturing critical information should be done long before retirement announcements, and can be best captured using Head, Hands and Heart.
First, use your “Head” and utilize today’s technology. Make it part of your short term plan to capture important data and information in an electronic repository. If there are a few “go to” people who are tapped regularly for obscure contracts or data, work with them on scanning important records and assigning common sense key-words.
Second, there’s no better learning environment than doing, so facilitate getting some “Hands” dirty. Connect your high potential associates with those who have extensive in-house experience. Tie performance measures to successful transfer of knowledge on how and why things work the way that they do. Innovation is today’s buzz, but keeping the machine of your business running smoothly requires an organization’s brain trust.
Finally, if you are the one leaving, have a “Heart” and share your wealth of knowledge by mentoring someone who could use a hand up.