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Hiring and Retiring: Focusing on the Future


By 2030, one in five Americans will be 65 or older. A study by The Manufacturing Institute showed 78% of respondents were very or somewhat concerned about the exodus of the aging workforce. How do you feel about it?


A Panopto Workplace Knowledge and Productivity Report points out retirees not transferring their work knowledge will cost large businesses $47 million per year in wasted time, delayed projects, missed opportunities and career frustration.


To decrease the worry and create a plan, The Manufacturing Institute released a report about aging in the manufacturing workforce. Following is an expert from the institute with insight that will cross over for contractors to plan ahead. The report predates the pandemic, so the importance of focusing on quality workers, company culture, communication and other factors has only heightened.


Four Factors

The institute has developed four key areas of focus: awareness, knowledge transfer, retaining and maximizing, and recruitment.


Awareness is about open communication because strong teams talk about the future to eliminate surprises. The institutes says, “Communication should create a culture where all workers, including older workers, feel supported, valued and engaged.” Awareness also includes looking at other potential changes in the workforce, training and mentoring opportunities, and team preparedness.


According to a survey by Express Employment Professionals, few employers are asking for baby boomers’ knowledge before they leave. That is such a waste! The most effective way to gather retirees’ know-how is with a mentoring program so younger employees can receive hands-on training. Programs that are structured with leadership involvement work best.


Retaining and maximizing is a creative endeavor where older employees could be encouraged to put off retirement for a period of time. The institute says, “Organizations can review their benefits, policies and practices to encourage older workers to stay longer, or stay in part-time or in consultant roles. Review policies to see if they encourage or discourage employees from staying longer, and consider job sharing or phased retirement plans. When assessing future workforce needs, though, make sure to consider options such as upskilling, cross training or using adaptive equipment.”


Employee recruitment has become an artform after years of a construction industry labor shortage. “It is not just making sure social media posts take place, recruitment also involves community engagement and brand awareness, meaningful relationships with education at both the community college and high school levels, relationships beyond just sponsorships for skill-based non-profits, and building the type of organizational culture and employee engagement that act as employee magnets locally,” the institute says. If you feel like you need help, you can seek a consultant to create a tailored recruitment plan.


Rethink Your Plan

Adam Grant, a Wharton organizational psychologist, says, ““We live in a rapidly changing world where we need to spend as much time rethinking as we do thinking." Examine your company’s employee-related plans and what you have established to hire and retain workers. Check in with people, study your company culture, listen to employee feedback and eliminate workforce surprises. Taking a little time to rethink could lead to a stronger future.



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