What will it take to get ahead of the silver tsunami in government and achieve knowledge retention within your team? Read this blog to start making your game plan for the future.
It’s becoming clear that the rate of retirement is growing in local government, and that means a few things.
According to a Center for State & Local Government Excellence survey, 54 percent said that retirements have grown since 2014. Also, more than 80 percent of respondents said “recruiting and retaining qualified personnel with needed skills to public service” is their most important workforce as they look to the future.
The retirement of the Baby Boomer generation has been deemed the “silver tsunami,” and it’s expected to last for several years.
According to Governing Magazine, “Baby boomers at or near retirement age make up a large share of senior-level managers in many agencies. Compared to the private sector, public-sector workers tend to be older and possess higher levels of education.”
With aging workers and retirements comes a switch of hands and a need to pass on what may be decades of historical data and knowledge about day-to-day work, planning and the organization as a whole.
But, how do you successfully do this with a higher rate of retirement within your workforce?
Surviving the Silver Tsunami
Eight in 10 employers (both public and private sector) said their organizations lose experience, institutional knowledge and leadership when an older worker leaves, according to a study by the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute.
So, what type of information do you need to put a plan in place to protect:
- Location data- where equipment and assets are located throughout your facilities and city or county
- Historical trends- work order history, asset age and performance history, year-over-year data
- Performance data- information on your team’s strengths and weaknesses as well as details on workflow
Record, Report, Repeat
Now that you know what you could be missing, it’s important to start taking steps to preserve those data points, trends and irreplaceable information so they don’t leave the building after an employee’s retirement party.
1. Have a plan
No matter how fast the silver tsunami is hitting your organization, you need a plan. Outline a plan for who is going to retire when and who you will hire to replace them, then record what information you need to get from retirees before they leave and what type of information you need to have handy for the new hires. Not only will this take worry out of the equation, you’ll be prepared when people leave and make the training process so much easier with new members to your team.
2. Start documenting
No one can remember everything, nor can they keep up with hundreds of pieces of paper or countless Excel spreadsheets. That’s why you need a more reliable way to document your day-to-day work, so that you and your managers/administrators stay in the loop and can base decision-making on data instead of a guess or whim.
This may mean you invest in a CMMS (computerized maintenance management system) to track your work orders, assets, inventory, GIS information and more. As you move all of your workflow information into one system, you’ll have the ability to pull up any location, asset or work order at the click of a button to see what was done, when and by whom. Not to mention that it will ease the burden of your administrative staff and make that transition for new employees much simpler.
3. Use your data
Another great feature of software like a CMMS is that you can pull an impressive amount of data out of it in a short amount of time. Need to know how many work orders you did in 2016 as opposed to 2017? How many man-hours does your team or individual team members average? What asset is costing you the most? Should you repair or replace that 10-year-old boiler? How many stormwater drains are currently in need of repair?
You can answer all of those questions within a few minutes (as opposed to hours or days) with a CMMS. You can even have weekly or monthly recurring reports sent straight to you or your administrators to shed more light on your work.
“Documentation is so important and to have it all in a system makes a huge difference: a few clicks versus fishing through a file cabinet.” -Theresa Garcia, Personnel/Loss Control Director for Sandusky County, OH
Whether you’re training a new employee on the historical work done on an HVAC or keeping track of what a retired employee was managing, it will all be simplified with a data-rich software system.
Time to Prepare
Now is the time to prepare (whether proactively or reactively) for the silver tsunami to ensure that you and your team aren’t left clueless as more workers retire.
Check out our Bridging the Gap infographic and whitepaper for additional tips.