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Now what? When retiring isn’t an option

Posted by Amy Wilson on October 31, 2008


The economic situation, the volatility of the markets – might just create a brand new talent demographic. The baby boomers who might have retired, who now can’t. They have seen their retirement savings drop. They’ve run their budgets and know they need to work another 5 years at least. This sounds like a blessing. We’ve been worried about this group retiring for years. Isn’t this what we’ve been asking for?

It’s also dangerous. This is an employee population that doesn’t want to be there. They might stop working without actually leaving. We have talked a lot about engagement, but much of it has been focused on attracting, engaging and keeping the new generation workforce. Many of those tactics are not going to work with the institutional-knowledge-rich, so-much-to-give-back, but demoralized and tired workforce. What are we going to do for them?

There’s another potential problem. It might be a succession issue or just a headcount issue. But regardless, these people will be taking up space. Space that the Gen X population assumed they were getting after hearing for years that they’d have to step up and take on more responsibility, faster in a talent shortage. This is a group of motivated individuals that may become frustrated with the lack of career opportunities. What are we going to do for them?

This turns the talent crisis on its head. It also creates opportunities. It is a great time to get a pulse on the specifics of engagement in your organization and take quick, but meaningful action.

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