The expensive reality of replacing owners and leaders

Did you know that 25% of employees within the Building Products Industry are within 10 years of retirement?

One of the biggest hurdles plaguing the Building Products Industry is the aging workforce. In fact, 1: 4 employees are within 10 years of retirement. Things like the Great Resignation and Covid have only expedited the rate of retirement and an inability to effectively engage younger generations have exposed gaping holes in the organization charts of Building Products organizations across the board. The reality and difficulty of key employees nearing an exit is challenging – it’s worse when it’s an owner or leader. The crisis is near. 

I’m the daughter of a fourth generation farmer, the sister of a fifth generation farmer and my brother has been taking over the business from my father for the last 15 years. I understand how complicated it can feel. It can be challenging  to replace some of the key leaders that have been in their roles for 10,20, 30 + years. That's why  it’s critical to be identifying and planning for these sensitive and critical  transitions years in advance. If you didn't start years ago – don't delay any further.

Understand the shoes you need to fill

Company leaders have spent decades pouring into the business. It requires a great deal of trust and assurance for them to prepare to leave the business in capable hands. Start by honoring the level of experience and expertise they’ve brought to the company. Key veteran members need to know how truly valued they are. You’re not looking to replace them because you’re looking for them to leave, but rather because you understand the massive shoes that will be left to fill. 

Remember the roots

The Boomers were a part of a culture that associated the concept that the more you work, the more value you bring to the table. There’s been a big shift in the world in the past few years. People aren’t aspiring to work 60+ hours a week anymore. They’re generally looking to be more effective and efficient so they can  serve with balance between work life and family life. 

Have conversations early

Remember that the leaders of the company have invested a great deal of their lives into the success of the business. I encourage you to set the tone for early and candid conversations around the future transition. We all want the same thing – the continued success and forward movement of the business. There’s a wealth of information in the heads of these veteran leaders. If we don’t think about their transition  years in advance we won’t successfully be able to position the business in a way to effectively replace them. We want to create a collaborative plan so that they enter retirement feeling confident in the way the transition is being handled and knowing that they’ve left it in extremely capable hands. Afterall, it’s important to plan in advance  – sometimes retirement  happens earlier than originally planned and you want to make sure the business was prepared well in advance. 

Are you in need of more support to develop and execute an executive leader transition plan? Connect with my team to learn more about how we can provide tailored support at: 



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Rikka’s the go-to girl for growth-minded Building Products Owners and Executives who want to hire the right people to take their manufacturing, distribution, or retail business to the next level.

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