What are organizations doing to handle the knowledge transfer as Baby Boomers retire?
I recently posted this question to the ASTD National group on Linked In:
I was doing some research on the changing U.S. workforce demographics. The basic conclusion is that the U.S. workforce is getting bigger, older and more diverse. A major issue that is coming up is the retirement of Baby Boomers and the knowledge transfer that needs to occur. Post with a few sources is at
What strategies are organizations using to handle the knowledge transfer as folks walk out the door?
It started an interesting discussion. With permission I have reproduced some of the answers below. Please feel free to continue the discussion using comments.
Amy Davis - Senior Instructional Designer, Corporate Banking at National City Bank
We have implemented "Best in Class" or "Best Practices" training workshops. We have a blended structure where we utilize experienced associates for subject matter expertise and then in an instructor-led format we pair experienced with less-experienced associates to develop best practices in scenario-based experiential learning. These workshops allow these associates to transfer knowledge in a casual, less intimidating environment. As Subject Matter Experts (SME's) they transfer knowledge through content development sessions as we develop our learning materials. The transfer happens here but it is less transparent.
Luis Cuadros - Manager, Learning Consultant Kaiser Permanente
I have researched this thoroughly and recently proposed the implementation of a Wiki in my company to capture the collective intellectual capital of retiring baby boomers. Having social networking tools within your enterprise is also an expectation of the Millennial Generation (between MySpace and Facebook, there are approximately 100 million users). Companies need to create a knowledgebase to retain organizational "memory". Implement a wiki to create a knowledgebase. You can also implement an application that lets people create profiles of themselves; use this to search for experts in your company.
Ken Kufahl - Organization Effectiveness Manager at GE Capital Solutions
We have found that many legacy processes within the business are being completed by only one person. Many of these employees are the "close to retiring Baby Boomers". Our plan is very similar to Amy's. We are pairing the experienced employee (SME) with a less experienced emerging talent (ET). Our training department leads an orientation and training class on process mapping and documentation. The SME and ET then take the process "back to their desks" and update or complete the documentation as well as build a recommendation on how the knowledge and process can be maintained more effectively going forward. Leadership also receives an opportunity to see key talent in action and identify people ready for bigger challenges.
My employer recently installed a wiki. This allows open collaboration between the generation gaps, regardless of location. Information is shared, reviewed, and updated.
Our call center associates (these are financial consultants) are the main audience. Instead of calling a senior person to a given topic, they would search the wiki for answers. If they dispute an answer or any information, they simple submit a request. When new critical information is added to the wiki, they will receive an email.