Not Ready for Prime Time

It’s not exactly news that too many American companies have been dragging their feet when it comes to addressing the potential brain drain when (we’d say if) there is a boomer exodus. According to a poll of HR managers conducted by Monster Worldwide, less than 12 percent said their organizations are doing enough to hold on to the institutional knowledge of their older workers, not to mention familiarity with clients and vendors, and a hands-on feel for what works and what doesn’t.

Perhaps these companies are in denial. Possibly they are focusing on the surveys that indicate that the majority of this age cohort plan to keep working, and ignoring the caveat that remaining on the job will be on a new set of terms yet to be negotiated. We’re talking about incentives that include part time, flex time, telecommuting, and other variations that facilitate boomer elder care responsibilities, to name one growing concern, or the simple desire to live a more balanced life.

If you are a boomer (and even if you’re not), this is a listen up moment.

1. If millions of you jump ship, it will hurt the economy; it will damage service organizations, the nonprofit sector and government. Yours is the last generation of workers with decades-long experience at the same company or organization. So it’s not only the valuable know how we stand to lose if you go, it’s the invaluable know why. That beats out objectives, mission statements or vision, hands down. It’s Purpose with a capital P.

2.Here’s another good reason you need to stick around. You have the best shot at transforming the workplace from within. After all, you know better than most the high cost, both personal and professional, of living to work. “Midlife overwork in America has reached pathological proportions,” says Marc Freedman, co-founder of Civic Ventures, a think tank and incubator for ideas and programs to capture the experience dividend.

Boomer Nation: It doesn’t have to be so. You’ve got the numbers and the power to demand change. Your kids will thank you.

More Reading:

The ‘Eldercare Generation’ Cares About Continuing to Work: Are Companies Interested in Keeping Them? Knowledge @Wharton