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Retention Management And Metrics

Employee Turnover And Retention Briefings Abstract: 42

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Retain Your Company Knowledge: Retain Your Retirees [computerworld] Tuesday 09/07/04 2:06 PM

Retiring employees are highly skilled and have detailed company knowledge from their years of experience on the job. Companies can let that skill and company knowledge walk out the door or they can make plans to retain that key information.

Most companies let that knowledge walk. What some smart companies are doing is encouraging retirees to return to the job on a part time or temporary project basis. One company lets retirees take a leave of absence before they retire to see if they really want to retire or would rather work part time.

Another benefit of keeping the older workforce working or bringing them back is that the retirees do not need any training to get up and running. Companies are finding that it is not easy to replace their highly skilled elder workforce with 20-year-old graduates.

According to the AARP, 80% of baby boomers plan to work part time through their retirement. Deborah Russell from the AARP suggests "The top three things on companies' to-do lists should be to assess their own worker demographics and map out their retirement trends, then figure out what incentives they'll offer people to get them to stay and how they plan to transfer knowledge from these experienced workers to new workers."

Beverly Kaye, author of “Love 'Em or Lose 'Em; Getting Good People To Stay” suggests companies need to work on retaining their employees immediately. She advocates using what she calls stay interviews to discover what it would take to get leaving employees to stay.

Kaye recommends employees let their company know early about their retirement plans, and whether they are interested in flexible work or part time work instead of waiting to the last month. She sums up with, "When we lose talent in the aging IT person, we lose wisdom. We lose tacit knowledge, not just explicit knowledge, and we're letting that go all too easily. We need to be asking workers what it would take to have them stay and then offering them intriguing ways to do that."

Some of the features attractive to retirees are: short-term, project-based work vs. scheduled hours per week, flexible working arrangements, individual contributor assignments, phased retirement programs, less management or administrative responsibility.
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