by Keith Dalton, Vice President, Xerox Federal Solutions

KSD Headshot1In the coming years, there will be a mass exodus of Federal retirees. Indeed, with projections that 31 percent of the Federal workforce will be eligible to retire in 2017, a “Silver Tsunami” is looming, and we will cross a threshold where their departure will significantly impact staffing. These people have served in government roles for years, some even decades and possess knowledge that can’t be replaced overnight. Furthermore, with approximately 96 percent of Senior Executive Service positons held by people over the age of 40, the Federal government will be hard-pressed to identify its next generation of leaders.

What can agencies do to prepare? That is a big question without a simple solution, but agencies can take concrete steps to prevent a Federal workforce crisis before it happens. Xerox is committed to helping. Throughout 2016, we will share our insights in TrainingMagazine.com, a monthly column dedicated to this topic, as well as in a new bi-monthly column in ATD Links, ATD’s (Association for Talent Development) e-Newsletter for association members. Our first article of the new Trainingmagazine.com column was published this week.

One facet to the solutions we will explore includes recruiting and retaining top talent. It’s a big problem to address since individuals younger than 30 years of age make up 23 percent of the U.S. workforce, but only account for 7 percent of permanent, full-time Federal employees. Being proactive and acknowledging the need for improved recruitment and retention tactics will bridge the gap between the public and private sector.

We will also explore ways to structure ongoing continual education program to help properly prepare the next generation of government leaders. We will look at the growing trend of “learning systems” in relation to traditional classroom training used in the past. These learning systems not only avoid the expense that comes with traveling to conferences, it is also more dynamic and uses technology and multimedia to teach the desired material. We will explore ways that these learning systems integrate with the learner’s daily workflow and focus on user experience and outcome.

We are excited to share more details about challenges and solutions for Federal retirement and succession planning in our upcoming columns. To help us gain additional insight, we’re also conducting a research survey to identify transformational learning delivery formats that have shown significant performance results, as well as those that have been a bit less successful. We expect the information gathered to be valuable as organizations look to transform learning initiatives. Will you help? There is a quick survey you can take at: Xerox Learning Industry Research Study. Our Learning Services team will use the results of the survey in an upcoming eBook, and individuals participating in the survey will receive the results as well as a sneak peek at the eBook.

There is a big transition on the horizon as more and more baby boomers retire and hand the reins over to the next generation. But take a deep breath: we’re here to help. Through our years of working with government agencies and our continued research, we’re taking action and are committed to helping you through these changes to ensure a future of well-qualified leaders with the knowledge and skills needed to make the decisions that shape our country.