Bye bye, boomers

Good news! IBM has a solution for your baby-boomer problem. You know, that one you’ve been losing sleep over: the fact that corporate employees born during the post-World War II baby boom will start hitting 60 next year, and once they begin to retire, you’ll lose all their knowledge and experience.

Uh, you haven’t lost sleep over losing those boomers? And you don’t think you need IBM’s newly formed army of consultants, cultural anthropologists, researchers and social scientists? You figure your company will just do what it has always done — let those aging yuppies go and hire kids to replace them?

Maybe you’ve got the right idea. But hold that thought.

Actually, IBM’s new consulting angle isn’t completely useless. There likely will be plenty of boomer attrition — eventually. But there are lots of boomers (everyone born in North America between 1946 and 1964). The worst of the exodus won’t kick in until about 2015, when the peak of the boom passes age 65. There’s time.

Then again, IBM knows that lots of CIOs and human resources VPs are baby boomers themselves, already looking forward to retirement. And if IBM actually can, as advertised, run employee data through its special software and come up with a who-to-hire workforce plan for around $100,000, it’s a pretty cheap service. So the timing makes sense, and the price isn’t bad.

But Big Blue’s new service won’t buy your company what it truly needs.

See, IBM may be able to figure out which business skills your company will lose when each boomer retires. That is, the generic skills.

There’s no subtlety in an HR database. Maybe it contains employee r

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