P&P Policies and Procedures Consulting
P&P Policies and Procedures Consulting

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The Policies & Procedures Authority – The newsletter about the art of transforming workplace learning and performance through Policies & Procedures Communication

Exodus of “Baby Boom” Generation Increases Need for Policies & Procedures Communication

– Raymond E. Urgo

Concern: “baby boom” retirement

For many years, employee retirement was considered a normal part of attrition. Today, however, that attrition is becoming a major concern in organizations. In the United States alone, the so-called “baby boomer” generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) has already begun retiring. This concern is one for which policies and procedures (P&P) communication is being called to the rescue.

Need for P&P documentation

According to IBM Human Capital, “The next two decades will usher in the biggest wave of retirees in history.” A study by Deloitte Consulting indicates that between 2005 and 2010 employers can expect to lose one-third of their workforces, and that 40 percent of managers will be eligible to retire by that date. Based upon demographic research, some sources project the risk of a “brain drain” as retirees take critical knowledge with them. Therefore, policies and procedures documentation must be a top priority in retaining critical work knowledge before they exit.

Example: public utility

For example, four buyers of professional services for a purchasing department in a large public utility were eligible to retire within one year. The current P&P manual was 12 years’ obsolete, and the expert knowledge and purchasing practices would be lost. To prevent this from happening, the management team engaged a policies and procedures consultant to develop and document their P&P. This management team recognized the value that the updated performance-based P&P information provided for “just-in-time learning” and on-going reference. Management now plans to invest in P&P communication as a knowledge resource in other areas of the utility facing retiree exodus.

Example: electronics manufacturer

Another example is that of a privately owned electronics manufacturer. The company supplies custom-designed electronics to its highly reliant customer base—major aerospace defense manufacturers worldwide. One employee was the only person who handled the company’s accounts receivable function for 36 years. She suddenly gave three weeks’ notice that she would retire. At stake was the company’s ability to bill $5,000,000 monthly. Caught by surprise, the chief financial officer quickly called a business systems and procedures specialist to the rescue. The assignment included capturing the employee’s 36 years of knowledge by documenting all P&P that would be necessary for self-learning by the yet unknown successor.

Conclusion: importance of P&P

Thanks to the retiring baby boom generation, policies and procedures communication is even more important for knowledge transfer in the workplace.


Contact Urgo & Associates today to explore how policies and procedures communication can support the trends affecting your workplace learning and performance needs.