Providing resources for communities and entrepreneurs to create and retain jobs in Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan & Emmet Counties.

The Times They Are A-Changin’

By Janet Koch, Community Development


In the next few years, many organizations will be facing the retirement of a significant number of key employees. The red in the adjacent chart highlights the two highest population age groups of 2010 and 2016, clearly showing that the shift in age is already in progress. So how will we deal with losing the valuable knowledge and experience these employees have gained throughout their careers? One way is the development of current employees.

“We cut back on the training budget during the recession and nobody said a word,” managers might say. True enough. However, let’s compare employee training to water mains. Most of these pipes were put in the ground decades ago and they’ve worked fine ever since, except for the occasional dramatic incident during a cold spell. But if mains aren’t replaced on a regular basis, at some point a municipality’s entire water system could be at risk. Infrastructure investment is critical and employees are your organization’s infrastructure.

An article published in the Harvard Business Review by Conger and Fulmer notes that “Leadership talent directly affects organizational performance.” And since the performance of leaders can only be as high as the performance of their employees, it follows that developing the skills of all employees will ultimately benefit your organization.

Another bonus of employee development? It can have a positive impact on attraction and retention. Take another look at the chart. Our region has lost a tremendous number of employees in the 40-54 age brackets. Competition for experienced employees seems destined to grow in the coming years; having a solid and stable program for training and development could be the edge your organization needs to attract—and retain—the employees you need.

For more information about employee retention, contact the NLEA.

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