The most critical resources are often intangible: know-how, specialized knowledge, intellectual capital, vision, experience and cohesive corporate culture. Succession planning and the establishment of knowledge transfer/capture initiatives are critical for organizations that will soon be facing this new form of brain drain.
Chicago, IL (PRWEB) August 14, 2007
With aging Baby Boomers getting set to retire over the next decade, the potential loss of business knowledge and expertise is a crucial problem for many organizations. However, employers are largely unprepared for the impact of how this loss of senior executives and highly skilled workers will affect the corporate memory when a big chunk of knowledge, context and process know-how walks out the door with newly retired staff.
According to Open Text™ Corporation (NASDAQ: OTEX, TSX: OTC), the largest independent provider of enterprise content management (ECM) software and solutions, organizations that understand the changing world of the knowledge worker and are preparing now to collect and share information more efficiently and effectively will be in the best position to transition knowledge from retirees to younger workers and mitigate the effects of Baby Boomer retirement.
For many industry sectors, organizations will be losing major skill sets and their competitive advantage when key workers retire. Most vulnerable are high-value positions that cannot be easily automated using new technology. Engineers, scientists, and technical project managers, who have often spent their entire careers at the same organization, are potentially leaving and taking with them decades of best practices and corporate memory.
As employers race to fill these vacated positions, they need to consider the next generation of workers, whose education experience has been driven by the internet, collaborative work habits, instant messaging and rapid search expectations. In preparing for this demographic shift, organizations must be agile and adaptable to changing conditions and the transformation in communication tools, and find ways to establish a culture of knowledge sharing that will meet the different learning needs of both older and younger workers.
"Businesses that rely on innovation, technology development, patents and stringently regulated products must protect their knowledge assets just as they would protect their equipment and property," said Cheryl McKinnon, Director, Collaborative Content Management for Open Text. "The most critical resources are often intangible: know-how, specialized knowledge, intellectual capital, vision, experience and cohesive corporate culture. Succession planning and the establishment of knowledge transfer/capture initiatives are critical for organizations that will soon be facing this new form of brain drain."
Prepare Now for Different Work Models
In the face of such massive retirements, employers can take several steps now to help preserve departing expertise and enterprise memory:
- Establish Mentorship Programs and Collaborative Work Environments to capture key competencies and critical work knowledge before the peak staff turnover wave hits. Companies must move quickly in order to minimize the risk to their operations. Employers should consider technology tools and training to facilitate collaborative work across virtual offices or remote geographies. A firm wide collaboration strategy will enable corporate memory retention.
- Bring Together Key Departments. Records professionals are recognizing that the retirement wave is the next major corporate risk that they need to mitigate. Experienced records and knowledge professionals should work hand-in-hand with Human Resources, IT and, increasingly, corporate legal, to develop a content collection and protection initiative.
- Embrace the "Online" Generation. The next generation worker is more wired, mobile and demanding of technology for personal productivity and networking. These new demands for content access, search and collaborative work offer companies a great opportunity to take control of their electronic knowledge assets by adapting to the needs of the younger generation who are less tolerant of paper processes.
- Establish an Enterprise-Wide Content Management Strategy. Content is not useful if it cannot be located and retrieved. ECM solutions are designed to address specific business problems pertaining to email and electronic records management, collaboration, search, reporting and analytics, and ad-hoc or structured workflow. An ECM strategy to support an overall program of information governance helps companies identify risks of lost content and knowledge leaks before the business is affected.
"Managing, maintaining, protecting and sharing key corporate content across generations and geographies is critical to minimizing disruptions and maximizing productivity during periods of turnover," added McKinnon. "An enterprise level content management strategy is an essential component of meeting this challenge."
About Open Text
Open Text™ is the world's largest independent provider of Enterprise Content Management software. The Company's solutions manage information for all types of business, compliance and industry requirements in the world's largest companies, government agencies and professional service firms. Open Text supports approximately 46,000 customers and millions of users in 114 countries and 12 languages. For more information about Open Text, visit Open Text.
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