Boomers: Marching Toward the Exit with the Company’s History

It’s not news that most companies, regardless of size, are stupid about mining and recording their own pasts. Boomers retirement will exacerbate the problem. For example, how many CEOs have a clue as to how past layoffs, poor business decisions, or management capriciousness affected worker motivation?  Boomers know.  If asked, they could fill in the blanks on what happened when and what the grapevine said about events a.k.a. what workers concluded from management follies.

Boomers retirement means companies lose their oral history.

Even with the tyranny of quarterly results, top management needs some understanding of company history if only to avoid making mistakes serially.  Younger workers just passing through have no interest in history.  They won’t be there for the next series of mistakes.  That’s why Boomers should be encouraged to write or record their experiences before they depart and CEOs, present and future,  required to read them.

If you’re a Boomer nearing retirement — or departure for your next career — consider leaving a record of your experiences at the organization as your legacy.  I have a friend who did this.  She wrote five pages on why, in her 20 years with the company, they had revisited the same losing strategy four times.  Her retirement party was unusually well attended by top management who thanked her.

Long-term employees take a bad rap because  it’s fashionable to change jobs regularly right now.  Millennials believe frequent job changes make them more competitive.  Instead of an exit interview, during which no one in his/her right mind would criticize the company or a boss, wouldn’t it make more sense to ask what the organization as a whole might have done better?  No names, please.   Anonymous is better than nothing.  Or have someone compile all comments so that no one comment can be linked to its author.

Finally, if ever organizations needed more honest employee feedback , especially from Boomers, it’s now.  However, to make that happen, the order has to come from the CEO, not Human Resources since nobody trusts the latter.

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Filed under Boomers, Career Strategies, Millennials and GenX