As the baby-boom generation veers closer and closer to retirement age, many of them are postponing retirement dates due to relatively good health and financial needs. On one front, this is a boon for companies, allowing them to retain experienced workers for longer stretches of time. However, this has created a quandary at the human resources level, as HR managers are being forced to devise creative strategies to keep younger workers satisfied, despite the fact that their advancement up the corporate ladder might be blocked by more senior executives. According to HR experts, the keys to maintaining corporate harmony and worker retention include things such as providing education opportunities for workers, providing special perks and incentives for younger workers and making sure that they provide constant recognition for their efforts. At San Fernando-based wristband identification manufacturer, Precision Dynamic Corp., the average length of service is eight and a half years. Fabian Grijalva, the company’s director of human resources, takes pride in the company’s ability to keep employees satisfied at their jobs and believes that educating one’s employees is the single-most important thing that a company can do to ensure worker retention and happiness. “At Precision, we provide our workers with opportunities within a work day, on work time, to give our employees the tools and resources necessary to take the next step,” Grijalva said. “We provide tuition re-imbursement and specific job training. Those are the kinds of things that motivate employees. Recognition is also crucial. People are starting to realize that recognizing people is proving to be far more important than throwing money at a person.” On a more basic level, catering to employees’ basic human needs such as providing good benefit and retirement plans are also essential to keeping younger employees happy and patient. “Providing a comprehensive benefit plan is also key, especially with benefits being through the roof, it can give a company a real edge,” Grijalva said. “Providing a good retirement plan that has a good company match is also crucial. We also do a good job regarding the general work environment and proving recognition. It you do all these things, people will stick with you.” Claudia Galati, the office administrator of Encino-based law firm Greenberg & Bass LLP, believes that fostering an inclusive environment is key to employee retention. While only one of the company’s lawyers is past retirement age, Galati says that in all likelihood many of the firm’s partners will work past the age of 65. “I can foresee some of our employees working at more advanced ages in the future, even if it’s more on a part-time basis. I think the baby-boomers might hang around a little longer,” Galati said. But according to Galati, it is both the small and big gestures that will inevitably keep the associates patient in their quest to become a full-fledged partner in the firm, Currently, the firm has five partners and seven associates among its 35 employees. The associates’ tenure at the firm ranges generally from five to 10 years. “Even the newest associates are included in our firm’s marketing training. At a lot of other firms, until you’ve been around a while you just do research. You aren’t taught to bring in clients,” Galati said. “Here we include all of the attorneys and we encourage them to bring in their own clients. We do pay them a percentage commission for everything collected and it makes them feel like they’re part of the team and gives them an opportunity to grow. They won’t have to wait until they’re 40 to take on a big case.” For a firm to retain younger workers frustrated by their lack of advancement, the gestures need not be as big as allowing them to try to the “big case.” Nicole Burton, a human resources generalist at Precept Human Resources Consulting, says little things count just as much. “As this trend continues, companies will have to adjust by doing things as small as giving an award at the monthly meetings, or best organization awards. Or even giving awards to someone who does a great job on a difficult call. People need recognition and it helps when it’s in front of their peers,” Burton said. Lastly, companies need to be up front with their employees and inform them of how realistic their chances of advancement are, giving younger employees targets to shoot for that won’t be impeded by a still-working baby boomer. “You need to be up front with employees right off the bat. If you don’t, people get disgruntled and leave,” Joe Torres, the president of the San Fernando Valley Chapter of Employee Assistance Professionals, said.