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It IS rocket science: Learn from NASA how to prevent ‘Brain drain’ at your company

by on
in Hiring,Human Resources

Issue: With the departure of key NASA scientists, nobody on staff knew how to put a man on the moon.

Risk: The United States is aiming for a return to the moon, but that brain drain could increase costs, delays and safety threats.

Action: Use NASA's seven-question approach to help stem the loss of critical knowledge in your organization.

"We're not looking to hire a rocket scientist," you may have muttered when struggling to find the right recruits. But what if you were hiring (and trying to retain) rocket scientists?

Late in the 1990s, NASA made a sobering discovery: Due to the departure of many of its experienced scientists, nobody on staff knew how to put a man on the moon. That's why the space agency developed seven critical questions to help prevent critical knowledge from walking out the door.

If your organization is facing a similar brain-drain problem, ask yourself the same questions. Here they are:

1. "What percentage of employees are eligible for retirement in the next two to five years?"

2. "What skills will they take with them when they go?"

3. "Do we have training and development programs in place to make sure those critical skills remain in the organization?"

4. "Are our current recruitment practices effective enough to compete with other organizations for talent?"

5. "Are our reward, recognition and compensation programs competitive?"

6. "Do we provide flexible work options , such as flextime, job sharing, telecommuting and part-time work, to meet the needs of a wider population of employees?"

7. "Does our workplace environment show employees that they are valued and respected, so older employees want to stay and younger candidates want to work here?"

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