IT Management Slideshow: How To Retain Knowledge When Top Tech Talent Departs

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 01-18-2011
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Take inventory of the following:

Take inventory of the following:

1. The institutional memory of those who are, or soon will be, retiring.2. Special knowledge of products, services and/or customers from those who are leaving.3. Insight about work processes/workflow from these departing individuals.

Apple's Steve Jobs may be the highest-profile executive to take a medical leave of absence in recent memory, but he's certainly not the only one to do so. (Editor's update: Steve Jobs died Oct. 5, 2011, at age 56). The first members of the Baby Boomer generation hit age 65 in 2011. Since Baby Boomers (b. 1946-1964) make up 26 percent of the IT workforce, according to a 2010 report from staffing firm TekSystems, this means that potentially one quarter of your workforce could be nearing retirement age very soon. Are you making sure that valuable technical know-how and general institutional knowledge doesn't walk out the door with them? You'll be wise to launch a formal "technical talent management" program now in order to avoid the common, transitional mistakes that happen whenever your top tech talent departs, according to the book Invaluable Knowledge: Securing Your Company's Technical Expertise (Amacom/Available Now). Author William Rothwell explains that high-performing engineers, developers and other IT pros not only know all the details of the architecture, applications and processes that drive your company&#151oftentimes they invented these. A technical talent management program will enable you to capture as much institutional and operational information as possible from departing workers.

Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.


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