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Seb Anthony

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What is the cost of experience


There are many people in businesses with 40 + years of experience and they do not replace or train or buddy new people with these experienced people before they leave or retire. As a result everything is lost. To show businesses how much they lose I was wondering if there Is there any way, measure that can be shown to businesses win what the loss of such knowledge and expertise can be to them and where it can be conveyed in £ terms.
Paul Lapins

3 Responses

  1. All or nothing?
    Hi Paul, interesting….

    If the sector is changing and the technology all but defunct – vinyl technology in an MP3 world – then it is worth very little.
    The knowledge of client retention etc is measurable, as is the cost of bringing in resources to train.

    Unfortunately many organisations do not value anything over 2 years old. Indeed even us in the training and HR worlds like to re-invent new stuff every couple of years and do not seem proud to be using ‘older’ techniques…

    Mike Morrison

  2. what is experience?
    do these folk have 40 years experience or one year repeated 40 times?

    Some people will be a GREAT loss to the organisation when they go; they take with them goodwill that hasn’t been passed to someone new, detailed knowledge that hasn’t been captured, favours owed that have not been collected on and a memory of where the skeletons are buried!

    There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that organisations oftern have to hire these folk back as consultants (at humungous cost) because no one actually considered the costof loss.

    There are others who move on to an enormous sigh of relief from the remainder of the organisation.

    I don’t think any one statistic that put a £ price would be of any real value…what you could try is doing some “scenario planning”….actually looking at the specific person and asking “What will we lose when X retires?”; ask X, X’s colleagues and staff, X’s boss, X’s customers (internal and external). Then you will have a view of the lost cost of X and you can plan your approach from there.

    I hope this helps

  3. Losing knowledge
    I’m not sure you can easily measure the lost knowledge, experience and capability in simple financial terms.
    Those working in Knowledge Management talk of harvesting this experience before it walks out the door. The explicit knowledge can, to some degree, be passed on to other people. But the implicit knowledge and deep skills are the real loss.
    Some colleagues who work in technical and military environments have special arrangements in place, like inviting people back for a few days a few months later (in return for letting them retire a few days early). Others re-employ them on a consultancy basis. These are useful tactics if the persons experience is business critical.
    In many instances people leaving and new blood arriving is like the changing seasons. It is inevitable and brings other benefits. However, the balance of nature is shifting in some organisations as there is a demographic time bomb. Over the next few years a disproportionate number of very experienced people will, potentially, be leaving the workforce. For some organisations it would be worth planning to address the implications of this change now. For example, could you run the bookend equivalent of an induction programme so that key workers experience a managed exit and the organisation mitigates, to some degree, against the inevitable loss.
    just a thought.
    Dr Richard McDermott has done some useful work on this in the States and has recently been working on a project with Henley Management College. If this is a big issue for you it might be worth considering joining the Henley Knowledge Management Forum (see )


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