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Dr. Curtis L. Odom Headshot

Millennials: Want More Work Skills? Learn From Boomers

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There's a lot of talk about how to engage Millenials and Gen X out there, but little is being said about how to engage an aging workforce and the Boomers. They may be at the sunset of their careers, which actually makes their level of engagement even more important. It's interesting to me that we don't talk about this often, perhaps it's because we think they're set in their way and ready to ride out their glory years.

In fact, it's not true. Boomers are at the stage in their career where they're starting to think about the legacy they leave behind, the challenges they overcame and the success that they built. It may not be easy, but its the right time to tap into this and use it to your company's advantage. You can take some fairly simple steps to make this happen.

1. Set up a coaching community

2. Create rotational assignments

3. Build a knowledge sharing platform

4. Establish mentoring programs

You can appeal to one's ego and let them know that they will indeed leave behind a legacy, that the torch needs to be passed and you're asking them to rise up to one more challenge before they go.

The coaching community would provide Boomers with the opportunity to coach high potential future leaders. You can structure it so that they are able to provide on the ground advice and consultation. If done right, it can even be an avenue for them to stay on with the organization after retirement. For the rotational program, you should find younger employees who have the ability and aspiration for broader roles and move them under Boomers for short periods of time.

The knowledge-sharing platform is a way to capture the knowledge that your Boomers have and it enables them to continue to support and grow the company's legacy and culture. Lastly, you can create a formal mentoring program open to all employees that enable the Boomers to share their wisdom while simultaneously learning from others.

Even in the sunset years, the engaging your Boomers is a critical people strategy that can lead to longer term success.

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Millennials Vs. Boomers By The Numbers
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The Canadian Millennial: Survey Says
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-- Abacus Data has focused research on the Canadian Millennial. Read more here.

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