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Workplace Action Steps for Leveraging Mature Talent: Findings from the Talent Management Study

by Jungui Lee, Tay McNamara, and Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes

when it comes to older workers, companies now reaping what they sowed

Analysis of the Talent Management Study shows lack of planning

July 2012—We’ve all heard the advice about putting something aside for a rainy day. Trouble is, many of us fail to heed that advice. And when it comes to planning ahead for their human resources needs, many U.S. companies aren’t much better. A new analysis of the Talent Management Study, conducted by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College, indicates that companies have not done a good job of gathering the information they need to ensure they have the right people in place to get the job done. This finding is being borne out in today’s coverage of the country’s labor troubles. News media regularly report on the shortage of skills that employers currently face. The 2009 Talent Management Study found that more than two-thirds of employers (68%) had done little or no analysis of the makeup of their work force. And three out of four employers had done little or nothing to collect information about employee career plans, work preferences or projected retirement rates.

The new analysis of these findings concludes that the more employers analyze their own talent management situations, the more likely they are to have policies and plans in place to recruit, engage and retain older workers. In other words, the analysis draws a direct link between employers’ lack of prior human resources planning and today’s skills shortage.

“The lesson we learn from this, or should learn,” says Tay K. McNamara, PhD, Senior Research Associate, Sloan Center, “is that companies need to plan ahead. They need to gather information about their work force in order to avoid being caught short-handed down the road.”

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