Leveraging Generational Differences to Reduce Knowledge Transfer and Retention Issues in Public Administration

  •  Reuben F. Burch V    
  •  Lesley Strawderman    


Two of the biggest issues facing large non-profits and organizations employing civil servants today are knowledge transfer from the retiring Baby Boomers to their younger replacements, the Gamers, and the retention of those younger employees. Government and non-profit organizations should consider investing time and resources into understanding the demographic shift currently in process in the global workforce. Retirees are replaced by people 35 years old or younger who think, learn, believe, respond, and work differently further increasing the cultural gap that must be traversed in order to successfully transfer knowledge. This younger demographic is raised on technology and may not remember a time when there were no computers, video games, mobile devices, and the Internet. Members of this younger generation are “digital natives” who bring different skillsets to the workplace such as stronger visual memory capabilities, greater memory retention and recall, and self-actualization. Non-profit and civil servant employers must learn to take advantage of these unique traits in order to overcome the challenges presented by this demographic shift.

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