Preventing Organizational Brain Drain

One of the most pressing concerns facing the contemporary American workplace is organizational brain drain. A complex issue, the concept exemplifies social factors that threaten knowledge transfer and knowledge retention within a company or organization.

Brain drain has numerous causes. Modern downsizing, outsourcing and cost-cutting trends have produced a new breed of younger, more career-mobile employees who are not as attached to organizations as workers of prior generations. On the opposite end of the spectrum, baby boomers over 55, approximately 20 percent of the workforce, are approaching retirement age. A recent Harris Interactive/ survey found that 25 percent of workers across age ranges planned to leave their jobs in two years’ time. Low salaries, poor advancement opportunities and minimal emphasis on job-related training topped their lists of reasons.

However, according to The Future of Business, by Lawrence J. Gitman and Carl McDaniel, the loss of baby boomers will be an especially significant blow to American businesses. By 2045 this demographic is expected to contribute 9 percent (more than $3 trillion) to the economy. In addition, say Gitman and McDaniel, “the number of new entrants to the labor market is not sufficient to replace the retirees.”

“These converging dynamics create several major challenges for companies today,” continue the authors. “Today’s workforce spans four generations,” with recent college graduates, people in the middle age bracket, baby boomers, and older workers thrown together in most modern business environments. “Replacing employees is only part of the problem. A bigger issue is how the company continues to tap the vast store of knowledge that retiring employees possess,” they conclude.

In response, business experts are now investing in a number of brain-drain prevention strategies, including “top-to-bottom” succession plans, increased documentation of position qualifications and job descriptions for appropriate hiring and promotion decisions.

The knowledge and training a Business Administration online degree provides can help combat organizational brain drain in at least two important ways. First, degreed employees bring a valuable and reputable knowledge base to the workplace. Second, degreed business managers are significantly skilled in leading cross-functional teams and managing programs and policies to specifically address brain drain.

The business degree online programs at American Sentinel University are designed to form an increasingly vital response to multiple challenges of contemporary business knowledge transfer and retention issues.