Recruiting, managing and retaining millennial employees (a.k.a.: Gen. Y) is all the rage nowadays, but smart companies are also putting effort into retaining their baby boomer talent. Research reveals that one boomer now hits retirement age every eight seconds in the United States. And although not all of them can retire due to their financial circumstances, enough of them can.
Plus, a lot of boomers who are burnt out on their current careers after 2-3 decades are seeking income and career options that provide them with more enjoyment.
As a result, the need for boomer retention planning is being felt by companies in a majority of industries. Organizations of all sizes are feeling, and will continue to feel, the pain of a serious boomer “brain drain” as this much-needed generation exits the workforce — taking with them their vast experience and knowledge.
So, how can a company keep its boomer talent, who (possibly) have one foot out the door, from walking away? Here are four boomer retention strategies to consider:
1. Match Them With a Younger Mentor
Some boomers feel intimidated by rapidly changing technology, and this results in their desire to leave the workforce because they feel “antiquated.” To help this situation, savvy companies are implementing “reverse mentor” programs where younger employees mentor them boomers social media, smartphone apps, and using new technology the company has implemented.
This can keep those boomers who are choosing to retire because of technological advancements from leaving because they no longer feel embarrassed about not grasping new technology quickly.
2. Provide Flexibility
Executive leadership and human resources teams tend to hyper-focus on (and debate) millennials’ desires for flexibility. What they fail to realize is that boomers on the verge of retirement want the same thing!
Many boomers who have to continue working, or who want to continue working, choose to leave their jobs because they’d rather try being self-employed or find a job that embraces flexibility. More and more companies recognize this and are launching flex-time, part-time, consulting positions, remote working options, etc.
Sure, many of those trends started due to millennials demanding them, but companies quickly see that these changes can help them retain their boomer talent longer, too.
3. Give Them a New Career Choice
A lot of boomers want to leave because they’re burnt out on what they’ve done professionally for (possibly) 30+ years. To solve this, many employers are offering job training options so boomers can learn new skill sets, oftentimes in totally different departments. This proven “career customization and training” strategy can reignite a boomer’s enthusiasm and job satisfaction, thus resulting in their desire to stick around a lot longer.
4. Eliminate Once-Size-Fits-All Rewards Programs
It has been proven time and time again that the one-size-fits-all rewards and recognition programs DO NOT work. Everyone is different, and what motivates them is different. What a 62-year-old employee wants is normally different from what a 24-year-old wants.
Encourage and empower your front-line managers to find out what each of their employees wants, and allow them to provide it accordingly (within reason, of course). Customized employee incentive programs have been proven to work — across all generations!
Starting now through the next 20 years, companies cannot afford to lose their top talent. We are entering an employee-driven job market again, after it being an EMPLOYER-driven market for quite a few years. Companies cannot afford NOT to take employee retention, across the generations, very seriously.