How Managers Can Prepare for the Silver Tsunami

2 min read
Jan 4, 2017

baby boomers at work

Baby boomers — or those who were born between 1946 and 1964 — are retiring at a clip of 10,000 per day, according to Investopedia.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 1 out of every 10 workers at the average organization is eligible to hang it up for good this year or next. If your company is aligned with national trends, you could have to replace 10% of your workers by the end of next year — which is not an insignificant undertaking. In addition to the costs associated with hiring new employees, you’ll also have to figure out how to handle the loss of a lot of brainpower, skills, and experience.

It’s a tall order.

It remains to be seen whether your organization will be faced with its own “silver tsunami” as baby boomers move on to greener pastures. Preliminary data and anecdotes actually suggest that many boomers aren’t retiring and are instead opting to continue showing up to work.

Still, you need to confront the reality that many of your older employees will decide to jump ship sooner rather than later. How do you prepare for such an exodus?


01. Develop a mentorship program

Just because your older employees might be getting ready to retire doesn’t mean you have to adjust to losing the entirety of their skills and wisdom. By developing a comprehensive mentorship program that pairs older workers with new blood, not only can you help strengthen employee relationships, but you can also ensure that knowledge gets transferred to the rookies and younger employees. This is particularly important because, as our Engagement Report points out, only 25% of employees believe their organizations offer ample opportunities for professional development — despite the fact that many workers are interested.


02. Grant older employees flexibility

Let’s say one of your most talented older employees who’s still sharp, enthusiastic, and energetic wants to spend more time with their grandchildren. This person doesn’t want to stop working altogether, but they simply can no longer commit to working 40-hour weeks in the office every day.

Instead of essentially forcing that person to retire, get a little creative and see whether there’s a flexible arrangement you both can work out. For example, maybe the person will be OK with working on a part-time basis. Or maybe they’ll be comfortable sticking around if you give them the ability to work remotely and make a flexible schedule. Chances are you’ll be able to reach some sort of agreement with at least a few workers.


03. Build a robust talent acquisition program

No matter their work ethic, there will come a time when your baby boomer employees retire — even if it’s not this year or next. That being the case, it is critical that you figure out a way to replace these intelligent and productive workers in such a way that doesn’t harm your business. To that end, focus your efforts on building a robust recruitment pipeline.

Invest in the development of a talent acquisition program that attracts the best of the best. That way, when someone announces they’re calling it a career and diving headfirst into retirement, you’ll be able to fill their position with a talented newcomer who can start contributing right away.



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