As the title implies, this webinar deals with the challenge of preventing key knowledge walking out the door as a result of retirements and/or downsizing due to market and economic changes. Most industries today suffer the same potential dilemma regarding the loss of knowledge when people retire. The so-called Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, are now well into the stage of the retirement cycle, although many are continuing to work beyond 65. This is primarily due to the stock market collapse in 2007; with many unable to recoup the loses to their retirement plans and not having sufficient funds to truly retire. However, the fact remains that this situation, coupled with the recent mass layoffs in the Oil & Gas industry over the past couple of years, has exacerbated the problem of the loss of experience.
The IEC61511 standard committee recognized the problem with competency and how competency is managed, maintained and ensured, which was one of the major updates in the 2016 edition. The committee’s intent was to strengthen the competency requirements, which means that some companies will be struggling to achieve this as they are forced to recruit graduates to replace retirees and/or laid-off personnel. Succession planning is something that many companies are now beginning to realise is an important issue. This is where graduates and/or lower entry level people are brought in to work alongside and to be mentored/coached by those more experienced personnel who will be heading into retirement in the coming few years. If planned properly then a 3 to 5-year overlap can be achieved prior to the senior experienced person retiring. This then helps a company retain its knowledge base and to develop the experience required. This is especially true when it comes to functional and process safety and/or specialized industry. This then can pose another problem, in that most end user companies have paired-back manpower to minimum levels and so it may require recruiting additional personnel to be able to shadow and/or learn the “ropes” from these senior people who are nearing retirement.