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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Keeping experience in the organisation

As highlighted on Friday's post

I was reading an article in the FT on how oil groups are scrambling around to retain experience within their organisation. Usually I put a link in to the article but as the FT is still subscription based tere doesn't seem much point.

It highlights work being undertaken at Chevron where it highlights that currently there aren't enough engineers to meet the needs of current work and a shortfall of 10- 15% by 2010.

It highlights that in the Energy industry - but I have from other conversations no doubt that it may affect other industries - that 50% of engineers there average age is 51 will be retiring around 2015. There will be some shortening of the knowledge gap by the influx of 5% of new entrants by 2010.

Firms are going to have to have a look at ways that they can retain these retiring engineers and more pertinently their experience - some firms are hiring them as consultants but other managers are looking at ways to retain these staff though phased retirement or offering flexible working hours or days.

We may be talking today about the credit crunch but as I have highlighted in other posts we ignore the retirement crunch at our peril.

Interestingly Herzbergs motivation theory has proved its efficacy in one quote in the article.

'Pay is not enough.. that alone is not going to get people to stay - employees want challenging jobs and a company that's culture is a large company with a small company feel.

My view is that companies need to be more innovative to distinguish itself from it's other competitors through rapid mentoring or by asking people to undertake work that will stretch them - not to breaking point but will rapidly develop their skills.

If you are an organisation with alumni are they utilised to help mentor people with some of the tricks of the trade. Or even more pertinently are you targeting other firms alumni who might be willing to sell their experience to you on a part time basis. However, the article does not highlight the probable need to ensure that they keep up to date and increase their experience levels with relevant knowledge.

Will your organisation have to look at other disciplines to fill in the jobs that need to be done.

It maybe that you will have to look to disaggregate your work using the new communications technolgy to let certain aspects of your work handled outside your organisation and then reviewed by yourselves as part of quality control. This is being done as most Lawyers know through Lovells innovation of using the 'Mexican Wave' to handle Prudential's property portfolio and this is probably spreading through other industries.

I have had a beleif for a long time that the manager of the future whilst being a strategist also needs to act as a coach of growth and learning - what Hansen calls a T shaped manager.

I conclude with a quote from Ross Dawson who says

' Almost all economic growth will come from talent. As the economy shifts to the intangible, everything that has value – knowledge, ideas, innovation, content, expertise, effective strategic positioning – comes from talented people.'

The Japanese have senseis but also for their top masters they are designated as living national treasures - so who are your people in your organisation who match that moniker.

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