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Stopping the generational “brain drain”

Stopping the generational “brain drain”

Knowledge transfer

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—As security companies look toward the future, it is vital that knowledge and skills are transferred between generations.

It is not a trivial task - large gaps in knowledge can occur as members of the old guard move on and take their expertise with them, leaving those new to the industry struggling to fill the void. A targeted effort is necessary to bridge these gaps, proactively transferring generational knowledge between experts of varying experience levels in order to keep pace with an ever-evolving threat landscape.

Connie MoorheadCultivating this knowledge transfer not only helps ensure that proven tactics remain relevant but also encourages the emergence of cutting-edge approaches. To put it simply, developing a culture of generational knowledge transfer is essential if our security industry is to be effective in defending against modern threats.

Nearly 70 percent of the five million people who left the labor force during the pandemic are older than 55. A Brookings report from December 2021 states that “even though the unemployment rate has fallen back to historically low levels, the labor force participation rate (LFPR), which measures the share of the population that is unemployed and looking for work, remains depressed.”

There are particular risks for the security labor market going forward. One is the fact that the exit rate out of the labor market is generally more elevated among those without a four-year postsecondary degree. These are just the people who would otherwise be looking for a career pivot, possibly into the security, fire, or life safety market.

So how do we create this transfer of knowledge? Knowledge transfer is essential in any industry, especially in security where experience can be extremely important.

To avoid a skills gap, it is crucial to ensure both knowledge and skills such as operational awareness are passed on from the “old guard” to the “next generation.” The best way to do this is not verbal instruction or one-off training, but rather by incorporating long-term strategies into the organization. Continuous professional development and experiential learning are examples of methods which require experienced older members to take part in cycles of development with younger members. This will enable everyone involved to become more secure experts.

We must encourage knowledge transfer from one generation to the next. It is especially important as it perpetuates experience that can't be found elsewhere. This transfer provides invaluable guidance that can quickly bring a new trade professional up to speed while avoiding costly and sometimes dangerous trial and error. Further, mentorship between generations offers an opportunity for younger professionals to foster relationships with industry veterans who can impart their expertise to the new wave of workers, leading to improved work performance.

Knowledge transfer significantly advances understanding in any career field; however, this concept is particularly advantageous in the area of skilled trade roles such as a security technician or systems installer.

Connie Moorhead is the president and CEO of The CMOOR Group, a provider of experience-based technology solutions that help organizations in the security market reach their fullest potential.

CMOOR is made up of a team of experienced professionals who provide comprehensive learning and development, licensing, and continuing education services to security, fire, and life safety businesses of all sizes. Since 2000, CMOOR has developed top-quality customized training programs and provided best-in-class CEU courses for companies like Johnson Controls/Tyco, Simplex Grinnell, Allied Universal, Comcast, Siemens, ADI Global Distribution, Hikvision, DMP, Brivo and more.

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