Corporate Training & e-Learning Blog


Lost Knowledge as Our Workforce Ages

The "Brain Drain" Dilemma

There is increasing concern among corporate executives about the imminent loss of employee knowledge and experience due to the aging and retirement of older Americans. Knowledge and experience that are vital to companies will be moving on. Many organizations are failing to capture critical workforce knowledge and experience and transfer that knowledge to newer employees. Companies should begin to focus on implementing formal workforce planning processes and tools and workforce training initiatives to capture this valuable institutional knowledge before their most experienced employees walk out their doors for good.

More than 25% of the current working U.S. population will reach retirement by 2010, resulting in a potential worker shortage of close to 10 million people. For any company, the introduction of a massive workforce development plan will present a large burden. Supporting these initiatives with technology will help to ease that burden by capturing critical information and more rapidly and accurately distributing it directly to employees' desktops via e-learning. An additional strategy is to hire retired employees as contractors so those former employees can transfer their knowledge and skills to their replacements.


  • I would think process mapping and information mapping would be a good starting place for capturing proven processes. Using knowledge management via an Intranet or Extranet as a central source for storing critical corporate process/information maps would be recommended.

    Regarding aging employees, I agree that we are losing their knowledge and experience, but we often fail to recognize that we are replacing these older employees with technology-savvy young people ... older employees lack in the technology area, and their creativity is stifled because they do not know how technology can benefit the company.

    If we are looking for additional ways to pass on the knowledge, perhaps the creation of mentoring program would be helpful ... your idea of hiring the exceptional retirees as consultants is not a bad idea.

    By Blogger Zorro, at 10:05 AM EDT  

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