What’s the Solution for Filling the Great Resignation Gap?


The tidal wave of the Great Resignation continues as more and more employees suffer burnout, a reluctance to give up their work from home status, and discover a need to work less and live with less to achieve a better work/life balance. According to Fortune.com, the number as of January is over 4.5 million people resigning. Some are leaving the workforce all together, taking early retirement, others are opting for lower paying jobs or entrepreneurism to feed their soul and wallets. As per the chart below – some industries are surviving better than others.

It’s not only the gaps in the employee census that has HR teams and CEO’s reeling, it’s also the disruption in teams, customer experience dips, and trying to get new employees trained quickly while also easing them into new roles and cultures. The pain is significantly felt in leadership and management roles.

Many HR teams overlook a great resource – The Baby Boomer generation. Semi-retired, retired or looking to retire experts who have vast resources of knowledge and time and are looking for “what’s next.” Some may want remote-only work; some are willing to come on site and integrate face to face with your team. Regardless of the arrangement, these individuals are a wonderful solution to the Great Resignation.

The benefits are many:

  • Most are looking for short term commitments – 3-5 years. They want to come in, fix your problem, train teams on systems, fix org charts, and get your company to a point where they aren’t needed as they will be hiring their replacement.
  • They come to the table with tons of experience, knowledge and insight – and only need training on specific software or systems. In fact – they often bring ideas and systems that an employer never thought of!
  • They want to help, have purpose, and leave a lasting mark of excellence

W-2 or 1099?

Whether to hire these knowledge gurus as a W-2 employee or a 1099 subcontractor is often driven by the employee versus the employer. Some want or need the benefits – especially health insurance, and may want to work 5-7 years to maximize retirement plans if your company offers a match. Others may want to have a few consulting gigs and not be tied down to one firm – every situation is unique and warrants a conversation to find out what both parties are looking for and need.

If they aren’t searching, how do you find them?

Most of the top talent I secure for my clients are passive – they aren’t openly looking to move but the senior population is no different. I always encourage my clients to do some work on their own and exhaust all avenues before retaining my services. Here’s the short list:

  1. Talk to your network – these people know you, like you, and understand your business. Tell them what you are considering and ask for insight and referrals.
  2. Look at your competitors – did they have any recent retirees in fields you need support? Or is your ideal candidate still in their employ?
  3. Chambers, networking groups, industry associations.
  4. LinkedIn – there are millions of individuals on LinkedIn – the world is your oyster, use search options to filter through industries, skill sets, etc.
  5. Internally – perhaps a current employee knows someone – and yes, offering referral bonuses to employees is just good Karma.

Baby Boomers bring a lot to the table – insight, experience, and a willingness to help. If you are feeling the pains of the Great Resignation, specifically in leadership and management roles, consider aging up for your search – you may be pleasantly surprised.