Diversity in the workplace is an important issue and opportunity as a workforce made up of people with different backgrounds, experience and ways of thinking or even communicating can position a company to win on multiple levels.
Over the last couple of years Ive has the opportunity to focus in inclusion and diversity, most notably by serving in a leadership role for my employer’s LGBT Employee Resource Group. While this experience has been very rewarding and has opened my eyes to many new ways a business can leverage diverse talent, there has been one great big unheard elephant in the room; Baby Boomers.
Baby Boomers make up the largest population in US history. While there is also a great deal of diversity within this population one thing they have in common is the approaching retirement age.
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In fact, a baby boomer turns 50 every 18 seconds and 60 every 7 seconds.
When speaking with a co-worker, Pat Porell, I asked her what it was like being a Baby Boomer in business today and what it felt like to be getting close to retirement? I loved her response. She asked me if I had seen the movie Monty Python and quoted this scene saying, “Im not dead yet!”
With such a large majority group approaching retirement and so much diversity work being aimed at minority groups it can be easy to miss the perspective of the Baby Boomer in the conversation, one I’d argue has a very critical role to play over the next decade in particular.
Because so many Baby Boomers are beginning to retire the workforce is shrinking. This will have a number of dramatic effects on a business and as an early career professional I am concerned about the decline in experienced mentors and teachers to learn from over the course of my career. This rapid retirement rate also equates to a loss of knowledge, experience and expertise that countless projects, business units and divisions will somehow need to make up for.
When speaking with Pat I asked her what she wanted to do before she retired. Again, I loved her answer! She said, “I want to leave a legacy.” Pat also told me that she has no intent on retiring anytime soon. This was good news to me and Im sure many other Baby Boomers plan to stay in the work environment for many years to come. The situation is not yet mission critical but rather one that simply needs the right spark to generate the right preparations.
To all Baby Boomers out there I’d like to pose to you a challenge!: Leave your legacy on line!
Company blogs, discussion boards, chat rooms, wikis, web sites, knowledge centers and other collaboration spaces on line are great places to tell stories of battles to deliver results, business challenges over-come and meaningful lessons learned from failure. They are excellent places to leave comments about decisions that you’ve made and why or to catalog skills and knowledge you have and how you’ve mastered connecting your expertise to outcomes. All of this can be done without risking the sharing of information that should be protected or kept within specific areas of the business.
Leaving your legacy on line creates a discoverable bread crumb trail for those who enter the workforce for many years to come. You can retire knowing that countless others are leveraging your stories to learn and grow in their careers. You can also know that you positioned the company you worked so many years to support for sustainable success after you left.
“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” —Isaac Newton
Baby Boomers, giants, find a way to begin leaving your legacy on line today!
How are you leaving your legacy?
What have you done or what are you doing to leave your legacy?