Talent Management: Another Visit to the Aging Workforce Challenge


This post is inspired by a July 2006 Conference Board Executive Action Article titled ” Too few People, too little time”. This article, even though dated still “churns” some heartwarming chestnuts in those of us doing talent management (TM).

The article reviews the insights from a survey regarding expectations that the aging workforce will affect your organization:

  • 23% said it did already
  • 12% expect it do so within 2 years
  • 44% within 5 years

The article goes on to outline three generic strategies to dealing with this present/expected issue:

  1. keeping the employees one already has
  2. increasing the supply of workers
  3. boosting the productivity of the current workforce

I have a significant concern with what is being proposed here. Is it with the value of doing any or all of the three strategies above? No. They are all sensible, and if done well will help.

My issue is the unasked underlying root cause of why our organizations are exposed to shifts in our society’s demographics – namely it is how we are choosing to do business.

Our respective business models result in determining our respective resource requirements including talent. Change the business model and you will alter your TM uncertainties and risk profiles. Readers of this BLOG have come across several of my thoughts on this.

My general strategic advice is to do the following:

If you are dealing with your current/expected TM concerns (ie, you are in the market place)

  1. Assess to what degree doing each of the above mentioned Conference Board article strategies will either resolve the specific TM uncertainty and risks. If they will likely result in robust outcomes, then implement them well
  2. If not (or not for long), then look at your business model and explore how you can change how you use critical talent in the business with the two goals of: making talent more productive and shifting to less problematic future sources of talent.

If you are thinking of entering a market place:

Consider how you can set up your operations such that your competitors’ TM issues become a strategic advantage to you.


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About 123stilllearning456

As a management consultant I am passionately interested in talent management and risk/uncertainty issues. In the area of talent management I propose that we seek strategies that look beyond the staffing/employee centric frames of reference. I have been frustrated at the "closing down on possibilities" by these more conventional staffing/employee centric approaches. I have been impressed where people have found systematic solutions to their talent management issues by going beyond the conventional approaches. In the area of risk and uncertainty, I am interested in making this topic relevant to more normal decision making situations. My conceptual foundation is to use the micro-economist's fixed/variable cost theme. I also think it is important to look at these issues for people through their emotional and psychological lens. As a premise I think risk and uncertainty only exist where there is a person who cares about possible events and its consequences. Hence, risk and uncertainty are social based concepts (no sentience, no risk and uncertainty). A major influence on my thinking in this area is Nassim Taleb of "Black Swan" fame. This BLOG provides me with an opportunity to express my thoughts on topics that interest me. As this is an online diary, content is more important to me than polish. I apologize if this distracts from readers' enjoyment and learning. Still I find this a useful way to live up to my namesake, learn more from others and hopefully provoke creative thoughts and ideas in others.
This entry was posted in Decison Making, Risk & Uncertainty, Talent Manangement. Bookmark the permalink.

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