A new report from The Conference Board says that most companies do not have a plan to manage and transfer knowledge, and even fewer factor cross-generational challenges into business strategy. Distributors, as we have said before in this blog, are also seeing this trend and must strategically plan for the day when the younger generation takes over either ownership or management of the company. As the report says, the sky is not falling because the Boomers are leaving the workforce, but there is a significant opportunity in “strategic and targeted knowledge transfer.”
A release from the research organization says: “As the Baby Boom generation of corporate leaders and experts approaches retirement, businesses in the U.S., Canada, and many European nations face the loss of experience and knowledge on an unprecedented scale. Younger workers can’t be counted on to fill the void, as they lack the experience that builds deep expertise. They also tend to change jobs frequently, taking their technological savvy and any knowledge they’ve gained with them.”
The point is that knowledge is not always filtered well throughout an organization in workplaces with up to four generations working side-by-side. Ways to do this, according to the report: formal education and training, interviews, mentoring, apprenticeships, simulations and games, instant messaging, job transfer, Wikis, blogs, research papers, and so on.
One of the important (and obvious) points the report made was the technology has created a larger gap between outgoing and incoming workforces than ever before. One example given: Newer workers may prefer getting instant messages from their mentors in real time rather than meeting and talking in a set schedule. Generation Y employees may set up blogs to capture knowledge on a particular topic across an organization.
For more information on ownership succession planning, order the CD recording of a recent MDM Webcast: Succession Planning for Distributors: Leaving Your Business Better
What is your experience in passing down knowledge and experience in your organization? Comment below.