Originally published December 1, 2014

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Why worry about knowledge retention?

  1. Retirement
  2. Promotions, relocations, and role changes
  3. Temporary workers, contractors, and consultants
  4. Mergers, acquisitions, consolidations, and reorganizations
  5. Changes in strategy, focus, or specialty
  6. Workforce reductions
  7. Short-term job mentality
  8. Disillusionment
  9. Death, illness, or care giving
  10. Leaving for other jobs

Approaches

  1. Share: Ask those who may be departing to share documents, insights, nuggets, tips, tricks, and techniques
  2. Innovate: ask veteran workers to create better ways of doing things based on their experience
  3. Reuse: Institutionalize processes to reuse lessons learned, proven practices, and deliverables
  4. Collaborate: Enable collaboration between those departing and those remaining
  5. Learn: assign apprentices to experienced mentors

Methods

  1. Proven practices — document, replicate, and repeat
  2. Lessons learned — record, review, and reuse
  3. Communities of Practice — for all of those with a common specialty, ranging from newbies to long-time practitioners
  4. Social Network Analysis — identify the key connectors and go-to-resources
  5. Enterprise Social Networks — enable online conversations which can be tagged and preserved
  6. Videos — record tutorials, nuggets, and stories — and then get others to watch them
  7. Document collection — contribute, tag, make searchable
  8. Storytelling — ask people to tell stories on community calls, in apprenticeships, and on recorded videos
  9. Incentives — offer incentives to share, reuse, and stay connected after departing
  10. Knowledge maps — map essential knowledge: what is needed. who has it, how it is used, and how it flows

Suggestions

  1. Make sure you have a knowledge management program in place — don’t wait until people are about to retire or depart
  2. Preserve community contributions and community discussion threads in an archive
  3. Ask thought leaders to develop training courses on their specialties
  4. Provide incentives for creating personal guides to processes, contacts, and content
  5. Conduct interviews using videos and community spotlights to collect stories, instructions, and tips
  6. Ask people to submit their top ten most used documents
  7. Produce a knowledge map to define knowledge sources, flows, and constraints
  8. Establish mentor/apprentice pairs as far in advance of departures as possible
  9. Hold transition workshops to allow departing people to tell stories and answer questions
  10. Form a community for former members of the organization, and allow retirees to continue to participate in communities as long as they can contribute

Resources

  1. LinkedIn Topic
  2. SlideShare
  3. Knowledge Retention by Alan Frost
  4. Knowledge Retention: Beyond Guidelines and Rhetoric by Edgar Tan
  5. Sharing hidden know-how by Kate Pugh
  6. Losing your minds: capturing, retaining, and leveraging organizational knowledge by Bill Kaplan
  7. Managing the risk of loss due to workforce attrition by Bill Kaplan
  8. When expertise departs by Knoco
  9. Knowledge Retention and Transfer Strategy by Knoco
  10. Knowledge Retention: Preventing Knowledge From Walking Out the Door by Jerry Landon and John Walker of the Tennessee Valley Authority
  11. Strategies for Preventing a Knowledge-Loss Crisis by Salvatore Parise, Rob Cross, and Thomas H. Davenport
  12. When Knowledge Walks Out: Connecting, Sharing and Capturing Alumni Knowledge for Development by Lesley Shneier
  13. Knowledge Transfer Across Generations by Susan McCabe
  14. Make the Most of Your Current Experts While Developing New Ones by Lauren Trees
  15. APQC Best practices report: Transferring and Applying Critical Knowledge
  16. Future of Knowledge Work: Developing Your Next Generation Experts by Jeff Stemke
  17. Where does your knowledge go when you leave? by Ian Thorpe
  18. Getting Ahead of the Silver Tsunami by Jean Martin and Joe Ungemah
  19. Knowledge retention: What practitioners need to know by Jay Liebowitz
  20. Knowledge Management (KM) — How to Beat the Baby Boomer Retirement Blues by Susannah Patton
  21. 6 Steps to Take Before Key Employees Retire by Roy Strauss
  22. The Right Way to Off-Board a Departing Employee by Rebecca Knight
  23. Halting the Corporate Brain Drain by Gerald C. Kane
  24. 5 Ways To Keep Your Company’s Knowledge From Walking Out The Door by Eishay Smith
  25. Multigenerational Workforce
  26. Knowledge Transfer
  27. Bridging the Gaps: How to Transfer Knowledge in Today’s Multigenerational Workplace
  28. Changes and Choices The Rapidly Evolving Business Cases for Employing Mature Workers
  29. What is knowledge transfer?
  30. How can tacit knowledge be transferred or shared?
  31. What’s the best way to transfer knowledge from an SME to the rest of the organization?
  32. SIKM Leaders Community thread: Knowledge Retention from Select ‘At Risk’ Employees
  33. SIKM Leaders Community: other threads
  34. SIKM presentation: Dorothy Leonard on Sharing Deep Smarts — Experience-based Knowledge

Books

  1. Knowledge Retention: Strategies and Solutions by Jay Liebowitz
  2. Lost Knowledge: Confronting the Threat of an Aging Workforce by David W. DeLong
  3. Deep Smarts: How to Cultivate and Transfer Enduring Business Wisdom by Dorothy Leonard and Walter C. Swap
  4. Critical Knowledge Transfer: Tools for Managing Your Company’s Deep Smarts by Dorothy Leonard, Walter C. Swap, and Gavin Barton
  5. Surviving the Baby Boomer Exodus: Capturing Knowledge for Gen X and Y Employees by Ken Ball and Gina Gotsill

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