It’s a fact we can’t hide from: Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age and over the next decade, they will retire en masse.

In the celebrity world, we’re already seeing some high profile names make their exits. In May, David Letterman said his final goodbye after a 33-year Late Night career. And this fall, Jon Stewart will say farewell from the Daily Show as well. Both give up their chair to the incoming generation of comedians.

Within this decade, the workforce will mirror that of the late night host chairs as record numbers of Boomers retire and make way for the younger generation. Demographers have been warning of this bubble bursting for years, and now that it’s here, it’s only a matter of time before businesses start to feel the effects.

According to an article in the Financial Post, although the problem in the U.S. will be huge due to the size of its population, Canada’s problem is greater in proportion. “Canadian census data show Canada’s population is one of the youngest among G8 nations, but the Boomer generation in Canada was larger than in other G8 countries, and most have not reached age 65.”

Whether the retirees are a lineman, a manager or a top executive, almost every business will feel the pinch because with every retiree, decades of knowledge will walk out the door. Rather than being caught scrambling when this happens, prepare for the inevitable now.

Focus on mentoring. Introducing a workplace mentoring program allows you to tap into your company’s current talent and wisdom to develop up-and-coming employees.

Invest in training. Robust training programs greatly offset employee loss because having effective, well-trained leaders, regardless of a person’s age, is far more critical than having veteran leadership.

Concentrate on retention and engagement. You can’t prevent employees from retiring but you can work to retain younger employees so that they will develop and grow within the organization and easily fill the roles vacated by Boomers. This means engaging and inspiring employees, recognizing their accomplishments and milestones and having a competitive compensation package and incentive plan. A happy employee is less likely to look for work elsewhere.

The youngest of the Baby Boomers turn 51 this year, so there is still time to bridge that knowledge gap. But the sooner you start, the better off your business will be.

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