Jeremiah writes a great blog post about the way in which organisations (employers) will need to deal with the entry of socially-connected Gen Yers into the workforce, and the problem employers face with the loss of corporate knowledge with the exiting of the baby boomers.
There is little doubt in my mind that employers should make use of the networked Gen Yers as much as possible. Networking can provide a pool of intelligence beyond the internal reach of an organisation. At the same time, Gen Yers are adept at using their peer networks for both social and workplace connectivity. Being connected is the norm for Gen Yers, and part of their identity and skill set they bring to a job.
As to the potential loss of corporate knowledge as baby boomers retire, this is a more fundamental problem. It is true that alumnis provide a way of establishing a connection between a former employee and the organisation. The question is: are alumnis effective and do they really make a difference?
I suspect that alumnis have a range of outcomes, from practically zero to the occasional peaks, depending on how the alumni is set up and how members choose to make themselves available.
The key to keeping your exiting baby boomers connected, to my mind, is not just the business connection, but the social connection. The social connection is more likely to keep ex-employees interested, especially in the retirement years when additional time is available. Social relations occur at work all the time, perhaps under-appreciated by employers, but nevertheless important to employees. Tap into these social networks with your alumni or some other social-business model. The chances of keeping the exiting baby boomers connected with the organisation and its people will be all the more likely.
As you can see, the common element that organisations need to embrace is social: both the Gen Yers and the exiting baby boomers can be of most use when they stay socially connected as well as business-connected.