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How to Retain Employees With Legacy Information and Record Keeping

Recruitment and retention in a post-COVID era means relearning how to recruit on some level. It also means learning how to retain employees you’ve attracted. Worker shortages mean you might not get new hires who can just walk in and know all about your business. They’ll need some guidance and consistent training to get on board faster. That’s where your legacy employees come in, and employers must work hard to retain them, their skill set and their knowledge. 

Learn How to Retain Employees With 1 Action

When you’re hiring to fill gaps left by long-time employees, one of the situations that arises is the loss of information sharing. In workplaces where employees have retained their positions for decades, there’s sometimes no real direction on how to actually do the job. When someone has done a job “forever,” they become so relied upon as the source of training and advice that no preparation is made to deal with their absence. New hires have no access to this legacy knowledge or cannot be properly trained, and this can lead to high turnover rates. 

You want to avoid losing staff after you’ve done everything else to attract them. While hiring new people is a challenge in itself, you need to make sure your new hires aren’t overwhelmed. New staff can find it stressful to not know or understand the policies and procedures that were inherent to long-term employees. It’s a simple solution: be prepared for turnover with knowledge-transfer plans.

Here’s 3 Ways Knowledge Transfer Helps Keep Hard-to-Come-by New Hires

Understanding how an organization works and how each task is to be performed is a confidence boost for new hires. A confident employee is one who’ll stay.

  • Make standard operating procedures (SOP) for tasks. SOPs help new staff know your way of doing things. These documents are like a roadmap; they help new hires follow procedures, so there’s no decrease in service or quality. Even better, this knowledge will boost worker confidence in their new roles. Having accessible documentation that outlines tasks can make a new job less daunting. If staff are nervous about approaching their trainer, they can research for themselves what to do. They also won’t be swayed by shortcuts or the “this never happens” of anecdotal training. It’s more effective to have a black-and-white version to give new hires a reliable resource they can access as much as they need.
  1. Make sure you tap into your long-term employees’ knowledge before they leave. Interview your more experienced staff for your documentation so you always have a record you can refer to. Set up mentoring opportunities so new hires have a trusted connection to the organization from the start.  Plus, connecting experienced employees with new staff, informally, offers an opportunity for storytelling. Stories of past experiences and situation resolutions are a more entertaining way for new hires to understand the company and how it has evolved.

The baby-boom generation—which was born between 1946 and 1965, and which has dominated the labour market for many years—is now preparing to retire. According to Statistics Canada, some 7.5 million workers are due to retire in the coming years.


  1. Identify and share your company culture from the beginning. Don’t make new hires guess how things work in the office. Coming into a job with an understanding of how things run day-to-day, like staff meeting attendance and administrative workflows, saves the new employee time and stress because they’re not having to figure things out as they go along. The more seamlessly a new hire fits into the workplace, the better productivity.

Baby boomers are leaving the workforce at different paces. Some are choosing to retire early while others want to remain in the workforce longer, meaning that employers have the opportunity to be flexible with their older staff’s retirement schedules. 

Flexible retirement plans like part-time work or consulting options mean valuable employees can retire as they choose. The important thing for you is that they’re still available to share their knowledge and expertise with new hires, as necessary.

Need new hires? Become an expert in recruitment and retention in eastern Ontario: download how-to’s here

External links are provided as informational resources only and are not necessarily endorsed by Ontario East. 





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