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We’ll come to you.

Despite living in a bi-polar economy—some are having the best of times, others the worst—one thing is clear, we are facing a shortage of new talent that will not be ready and able to replace the "crew change" caused by the retiring baby boomers.

As an example, many of my larger clients are clearly concerned— With more than 50% of their workforces having 20 years or more with the company, it is clear that the next few years will see an exodus of talent.  To fill the experience and leadership gap, the companies must hire, onboard, and retain an unprecedented number of employees (as well as leverage contractors, outsourcing, etc.).  They must accelerate their development and must transfer the knowledge of the retirees before they exit. 

A complementary strategy to retain the soon-to-retire boomers as long as possible, to harvest their knowledge, and to leverage their experience as much as possible is being implemented.  Also, finding creative ways to keep the boomers engaged after they leave (e.g., mentors, coaches, special projects) is intended to delay the full impact of the exodus.

Clearly, the talent shortage will not be confined to just the large companies.  Their appetite will consume a large portion of a smaller pie of talent, leaving medium and small companies to fight for their shrinking piece of the pie.  Understanding the new generation of employees, appealing to their needs, and providing authentic people leadership will be critical.  As the war heats up, the battles will become "bloody."  The perks offered during the dot com will once again emerge.  The difference in this cycle will be its global nature; searching for top talent wherever it exists.

Is your company prepared for the war?  What is it doing to retain the baby boomers, to harvest their knowledge?  And, what is your company doing to attract and develop new talent?  Are you "locked and loaded?"   What are your thoughts?  Will this talent war be different?