Wednesday, January 28, 2009

WorkForce Development


The best, richest organizational knowledge often resides with our most mature employees, individuals whose deep expertise and experience through several business cycles can be invaluable in challenging times like these. There’s a real risk, however, that some of these long-tenure people will start to retire on the job. One bank chairman I know once mused about some of his longer-tenure Tellers, “I think they’ve become Tolders!”

Fortunately, there are many things that an organization can do to prevent its most tenured employees from becoming past tense. Reminding them of their value is just Management 101. What about inviting them to use their expertise and experience in new or creative ways? Or launching periodic “lessons learned” forums that share their unique successes with others in the organization?

Often these long-tenure employees are overlooked when it comes to training and development initiatives. What about engaging them in career transition activities that focus on the unique value they can bring to the organization and encourage them to redesign their own roles to reflect the value they can add? And contrary to the stereotype that older employees are the most resistant to change, many of the most mature people in our workforce have become bored with their work and would welcome a chance to learn new technologies or expand their functional expertise so that they once again feel energized about what they do on the job.

What is your organization doing to prevent its Tellers from becoming Tolders?

by Leslie H. Krieger, Ph.D., SPHR

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