Today’s aging workforce puts businesses at risk when employees retire (or leave for any reason) and their unique knowledge is lost from a company. How is a business to go about retaining that aging worker's knowledge before it’s too late? Here is a recent case from a Fortune 500 client that illustrates the problem and solution in brief:
This last week my team started a project with a major food products company. They have two scientists in their R & D team who’ve spent the bulk of their career synthesizing lipids. In layman’s terms, that means they are working on inventing and/or improving the next fat that can be used in the preparation of crackers, chips, biscuits, cookies, etc. Trans fats are out. There has been some success with synthetic fats but the Holy Grail is still out there: a low calorie, stable shelf life, nutritionally-sound fat with a high smoke point. These men are the team with the most experience on the topic—and they are just about ready to retire. Three successors have been identified. These replacements are smart, experienced in the company, and capable—and yet, to be blunt, they don’t even know what they don’t know about synthesizing lipids. The head of their research team invited us in to help develop a plan for transferring years of knowledge and work products into the heads and hands of the next generation.