Operations Payoff

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The Silver Tsunami

TsunamiAccording to economists, the number of people over 65 will double in the next several years and by 2020, people over age 65 will outnumber people under 20. This is the first time in recorded history that this has happened. This has important implications for companies because as the Baby Boomers age, many of them may decide not to retire. This creates a gap in the ability for Generation X and the Millennials to move up and earn higher wages.

According to Steve Scranton of Washington Trust Bank at a recent presentation on Demographics: Impacts to the Economy and your Portfolio, the late-retirement phenomenon could have some interesting results. For example, on a recent tour of a local screw machine shop, the CEO lamented that many of his operators and machine mechanics were planning to retire soon and that qualified younger workers are few and far between. He’s not sure how he’ll respond when his long-time workers retire.

However, due to the so-called Silver Tsunami, perhaps more of the “old guard” will continue to be available, if only on a part time basis. Have you thought about how your company will respond to the brain drain as the Boomers retire?

Here are three things you can do:

  1. Develop succession plans now for all levels in your organization. Start to bring new people in and train them over time to fill potential needs.
  2. Restructure your labor environment to allow job sharing and part time work. While many of the Boomers may not want to work full time, there are many who don’t want to quit working entirely. Take a look around during your next visit to Home Depot to see what I mean. Many get bored or want supplemental income, and what better way than to continue doing what they know in familiar environment, but on a more limited basis.
  3. Look for opportunities for public/private partnerships with local colleges, trade schools and other organizations to begin training programs for younger generations.

Be ready for the Silver Tsunami in your business. You don’t want to be swept away by the current.

© 2016 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

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