Did your experts retire yet?

Just read the article: “Help, de vraagbaak vertrekt. Wat nu?” in NRC Handelsblad (in Dutch). The article is about the ageing workforce and the effect on organisations if knowledgeable employees leave, specifically because of retirement.

In this blogpost I will share three elements of the article and add a fourth one myself.

The first element is that experience is a very important part of knowledge. Real hands-on experience leads to a very fine but mostly implicit understanding of the situtation and spurs the ability to solve problems in the future.

The second is that knowledge sharing (in complex situations) is done face-to-face. This benefits the expert, because it is easier to talk about what they know than to write it down. It helps the student or problem-owner as well, because there is the opportunity to ask questions. This leads to synthesis, i.e. using or positioning the new knowledge in the already known environment.

The third element is that a staggering percentage of companies (90-95% according to the article) is not taking any action to deal with this issue. It seems a percentage based on gut-feeling rather than scientific research, therefore I suggest this calls for some serious investigation. Through personal experience I suspect this figure to be correct though.

The last one I want to add is that the network of older (and more experienced employees) is also very important. This network of personal relations spans both inside and outside of the organisation. The internal network often functions as lubricant that keeps the organisational machine running smoothly.

Did you experience any of the effects above?

How do you or your organisation cope with them?

Want to take a specific look at the expert network in your business? Let´s have a chat.

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