Is Your Business Ready for the Apocalypse?
In part 2 of this series, I will focus on the preparations that businesses must make, or at least understand behind the loss of their baby-boom workforce. If companies don’t properly prepare, the Business Apocalypse could be very disruptive. It is clear business change is becoming more rapid as time passes. The Internet of Things (IoT), automation and the press to increase profits/revenue are placing many businesses on tilt. Change is good. Unless it is unplanned or disruptive change. Forgiveness from shareholders last as long as the next day’s opening market. With these pressures, owners are looking towards doing things different. The difference can take many shapes from automation, diversifying or specializing the workforce, building new distribution through e-commerce, or spinning off unprofitable segments through divestiture.
As these options are being evaluated, the looming element of change we know is the exodus of baby-boomers from the workplace. Sometimes their departure is done by choice, as early retirement obligations (liabilities) are stimulated by the company. The companies know this stops the increased liabilities of healthcare and pensions, along with the higher salary structures of tenured employees. Some of the departure also comes along because the baby-boomer has simply hit the age to leave and begin the next chapters of their life. Additional departures come from pure layoffs, while others are from baby-boomers who have properly recovered from the last bust of 2008-9, with adequate 401Ks, savings, paid-off mortgages, kids out of college.
Some companies realize that with these departures, a great deal of experience is leaving their ranks. Some have yet to find out what this will mean to day to day operations. Some believe that automation and efficiency obtained through new business models will lighten the pain associated with the missing knowledge, and it will only be a short term concern. In 2011, David Spark in his article, and Sanjog Aul, host of CIO Talk Radio states,
The business knowledge will disappear as the baby boomers retire. If ‘CIOs’ don’t hire enough people by 2015, retired baby boomers will have to be brought back as consultants to fill the information void.”
Well, its 2015, have we? I don’t think so. Also please note, it does not use the word “technical knowledge.” It says, “business knowledge.” Earlier this year, Bill Toland from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, called it the ‘Silver Tsunami’.
In 2012, the Society for Human Resource Management conducted a survey asking about what they were doing to prepare for workforce retirements and skills gaps. Below is a graph that represents the summary of that survey.
Globulus is concentrating in each of the areas in orange, and in some regards can help in the development of preparing of identified successors through job shadowing. As discussed in part one of this series, baby-boomers do not want to leave the work force abruptly. They want to transition into retirement by continuing to stay active in business, often times helping smaller businesses grow, change, and adapt to the changing business markets. Within the Globulus model, the D level or above semi-retired professional can bring their success/failure experience to fulfill this skill gap. According to recruitingtrends.com,
Boomers can offer guidance, bring new hires on board and up to speed quickly, and help the organization maintain an authentic culture particularly during periods of growth.”
They further predict that 62% of future job between now and 2020 will be due to baby-boomers leaving the workforce.
The primary question that a business must ask itself is; Are we exclusively looking at headcount, position replacement, and overhead cost?
Traditionally, businesses place the heaviest of weight on these views of human resource capital. As companies are preparing for their businesses future, they must begin a deep assessment of the value of knowledge that will be leaving the business. If it’s overlooked, the oncoming Business Apocalypse can become an event in which the business must scramble to recover, potentially making some bad decisions along the way. History also teaches us that there will be future boom and bust cycles in the market. Without a baby-boomer experience managing thru these periods, are we equipped to deal with them properly?
As Gen X and Millennials mature into key leadership positions, we believe they will enable great changes in the way businesses manage themselves through technology. Globulus believes that the installation of the semi-retired baby boomer as a coach, mentor, or as external eyes can assist Small and Medium sized Businesses grow and prosper thru the oncoming Baby-Boomer Business Apocalypse. It will take visionary and prepared C-Level leaders to identify the knowledge and skill gap risk proactively and seek external skills that are available within the semi-retired baby-boom pool of resources to smooth the transition.
Globulus is building a pool of resources that a C-Level can call upon. It is important to look for a partner that can easily identify the landmines, and has experienced most of them too. We believe it is crucial to identify the areas that will be most impacted by the looming skills gap. Is it, Marketing/Sales, Operations, Customer Care, IT, Finance, HR, Legal? Do you know?
If not, let Globulus assess risk and opportunities. Sometimes, there may be opportunities that you can ignite change for your customers, or differentiate from your competition. From Assessment, to the Development of Solutions, to Implementing End to End Solutions and Transformation; we will bring the right experience and skills to the table.
If you do know, Globulus can bring the skills to the table to develop concrete plans for transition and transformation of your business. If you simply want to talk about it, we’re here to arrange some time to visit about the possibilities. In part 3 of the Baby Boomer Apocalypse, we will discuss how Globulus is prepared to engage, partner, and bring a difference to your business.