While it takes years to build a solid reputation, it takes less than a week to destroy one. Don’t believe me? Ask Volkswagen, Martha Stewart, or Abercrombie & Fitch. Something—almost a throwaway—took these companies to the brink of disaster.

Why? In our race to the newest and shiniest, we forget to transfer important information to the next generation. Newest is best, right? The average age in the United States is 36. Who hasn’t said, “This generation? Where is their (fill in the blank with work ethic, basic skill base, punctuality)?” Our work force is young. Even when they have the technical skills to do something, they don’t always have the overall picture in mind. That’s where the seasoned generations need to speak up. How do old dogs learn to transmit advice through the new trick of social media technology? The average age is still 30 years away from retirement. There’s a lot of knowledge that needs to be gained and then shared during that time.

With skill shortages, especially among STEM workers, human resource departments need to take a long look on who is hired, how they are trained, and how to pass on the remarkable wisdom of retiring employees.

For further thought on finding the right employees, training them, and retaining them, this great article in Forbes discusses the challenges HR executives face. Don’t be caught off guard with the changing landscape of HR. Start preparing now.

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Daniel Giddings

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