What’s often called the Greatest Generation is preparing to retire. Baby Boomers make up nearly 27% of the entire manufacturing workforce, and 10,000 are retiring each day. While this may bode well for creating more job openings, younger generations lack the skills and experience to pick up the slack in certain industries.
Thankfully, there are steps employers can take to create a record of tribal knowledge before it’s completely lost.
Appreciate the Importance of Tribal Knowledge
Experience must be appreciated, and tribal knowledge needs to be recorded and passed down to both current and future employees. Equally important to understand is that information and knowledge are two very different terms. Information can be learned through books, online, and other types of teaching aides, like videos. Knowledge is more rooted in experience, and is sometimes never written down, making it harder to replicate.
Employees may not be forthcoming with their knowledge of their field initially, so be sure to ask plenty of questions to try and get them to open up. Start with your most senior workers, and take time to formulate effective questions based on the answers that they provide you.
Write down, document, and digitize the information you compile. Make sure you properly store it so it’s easily accessible for future training purposes.
Consider Professional Assistance
Several companies offer services and software to help employers create a digital inventory of tribal knowledge. This increases productivity while simultaneously cutting costs.
Continue to Invest in Older Workers
Investing heavily in younger workers can create isolation within a workforce and result in age-based separation amongst employees. If older workers feel stigmatized, ignored, or underappreciated, they will be less likely to share the knowledge they’ve acquired during their careers.
If your business is facing a potential workforce shift due to Baby Boomers reaching retirement age, it’s time to start implementing strategies to ensure their knowledge is passed down to your company, and subsequently, your future workers. Contact The Reserves Network for assistance in developing a plan that will help preserve tribal knowledge within your organization today while ensuring your workforce is properly trained and ready for tomorrow.