Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Boomers' Wealth of Knowledge: Developing countries' techies are meeting more of America's IT needs, but older workers offer a key element in short supply -- experience
[18 October 2005 - BusinessWeek - Paul Horn] ... HUMAN FACTOR. While developing countries are churning out more IT skills, there's still no substitute for experience. Until very recently, developing countries' economic environments have not provided opportunities for applying advanced IT skills to real-world business processes and issues. So our current pool of knowledge and experience will need to be preserved and shared as much as possible. This will require new techniques to keep older, experienced workers engaged. Technologically, it might mean the development of still-new tools for broader collaboration outside the physical organization as a growing number of baby boomers prefer to work part-time or remotely as a transition to retirement. Since many of them might be older workers, assistive technologies may also play an increasing role to accommodate their unique needs. ACT NOW. But technology alone is not the answer. We're learning how a more loosely organized "extended family" of contributors can work together effectively. We'll also need to create programs and opportunities beneficial for both the experienced worker and the organization, so that people will want to stay engaged in some capacity beyond their formal working years. While it may sound simple, this represents a profound shift in how corporations view retirement and the relationship between older skilled workers and the company. But as with other precious resources, if we don't recognize their value and find ways to nurture and preserve it, we'll quickly lose it. ...


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