Many chemical makers must defuse a demographic time bomb as veteran engineers and operators approach retirement. Companies are pursuing a variety of strategies to bring replacements up to speed and ensure that a vast wealth of knowledge and experience isn’t lost.
At Dow AgroSciences, Indianapolis, the focus is very much on creating and sustaining communities of practice in its wider business activities. Mentoring and coaching of new staff by experienced employees also is important. Another strategy the company finds very useful is to let new employees work on case studies of actual process or production challenges. This not only gives less experienced workers the opportunity to develop their own strategies for different scenarios but also allows them to see how their actions compare with the real responses of experienced workers faced with the same situations.