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  • David Foot, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Toronto, author of the best-selling books, Boom Bust & Echo: How to Profit from the Comping Demographic Shift and the updated paperback, Boom Bust & Echo: Profiting from the Demographic Shift in the 21st Century.
  • Eric Kinsgon, Professor of Social Work at Syracuse University’s School of Social Work, also a Co-Director at Social Security Works.
  • Rose Macfarlane, General Manager of Human Resources, DairyNZ.
  • Mark Steurer, Human Resources Director, Home Sales Company, Inc.
  • Key roles hold an organization's most valued skills and knowledge. In a worst case scenario, a key employee's departure results in the loss of valuable knowledge, core business relationships, and profits.
  • The Baby Boomer demographic is a massive creator of workforce risk given their pending retirement, the sheer size of the demographic segment, and the fact that they populate the largest percentage of key roles in many organizations.
  • Planning and executing on key role transition can take years. Organizations should prepare now to mitigate the risk of loss later.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Over 58% of organizations are unprepared for Baby Boomer retirement. Approximately the same percentage of organizations that are unprepared for Boomer retirement also haven’t tackled workforce planning or succession planning.
  • This means that three out of five organizations don’t know what skills they need for the future, or what their key roles truly are. They also haven’t identified at-risk key roles or successors for those roles.
  • In addition, 74% of organizations have no formal process for facilitating knowledge transfer between individuals, so knowledge will be lost.

Impact and Result

  • McLean & Company’s Key Roles Succession Planning Tool will help you assess key role incumbent risk factors as well as identify potential successors and their readiness. Pay particular attention to those employees in key roles that are nearing retirement, and flag them as high risk.
  • Plan for the transfer of critical knowledge held by key role incumbents. Managers and HR leaders see significant tacit knowledge gaps in younger workers; prioritize tacit knowledge in your transfer plan and leverage multiple transfer methods.
  • Explore alternative work arrangements to ensure sufficient time to prepare successors. A key role incumbent must be available to complete knowledge transfer.
  • Define formal transition plans for all employees in at-risk key roles and their successors by leveraging your workforce and succession planning outputs, knowledge transfer strategy, and selected alternative work arrangements.

Research & Tools

1. Make the case for key role succession planning

Protect the organization from losses associated with departure of people from key roles.

2. Conduct workforce planning and succession planning

Identify key roles in the organization and ensure appropriate successors are in place in advance.

3. Implement knowledge transfer and alternative work arrangements

Mitigate the impact of at-risk key roles.

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