As baby boomers begin to retire, some companies are developing creative ways to keep experienced employees on staff — a practice that can be valuable for employees and employers alike in this age of shrinking 401(k) accounts and industry “brain drain.”

Of course, there are potential drawbacks to keeping older employees around. This strategy can “delay younger workers from moving up into upper-management level jobs and delay their development as leaders. It creates a bottleneck in these organizations,” explained Peter Rodriguez, an associate professor of economics at University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

But, as many employers are finding, it’s possible to achieve a balance between benefitting from veteran knowledge and promoting young leaders. Companies like Abbott Labratories in Abbott Park, Ill. and the MITRE Corporation in McLean, Va. have encouraged baby boomers to ease into retirement by working part-time hours and mentoring junior employees — a practice that may become more common as the boomer retirement wave continues.

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