With retirement, rapid growth, turnover, mergers and acquisitions and internal redeployment, an organization can risk losing its collective knowledge. A strategically aligned knowledge capture and transfer system can counterbalance both inevitable and unforeseen challenges. Here are nine tips from Capturing Critical Knowledge from a Shifting Work Force, a guidebook published by the American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC).
- Build the awareness of knowledge loss as a strategic issue and tie efforts to corporate goals. Champions may want to identify a burning platform issue related to knowledge loss or an external best-practices example in knowledge management.
- Create a business case that details the first iteration of the knowledge retention strategy and describe how knowledge management and knowledge retention efforts complement organizational goals. Strategies may focus on different objectives such as orienting new hires quickly or preventing the loss of technical knowledge.
- Kick off your efforts with a pilot project to demonstrate that knowledge management will positively impact organizational performance.
- Create a structure and dedicate resources to expand and sustain the initial knowledge management efforts. The organization must make a conscious decision to invest in these efforts.
- Identify critical and inconsequential information. Focus on capturing knowledge related to significant functional areas, such as selling expertise or plant operations.
- Identify who possesses critical knowledge by interviewing employees in changing roles and senior management. Mapping the flow of knowledge reveals who creates the knowledge, what knowledge these creators have, and who needs it.
- Document explicit knowledge such as contracts and manuals through shared drivers, communities of practice, content management systems and decision support systems.
- Cultivate tacit knowledge through activities such as training, project milestone reviews, and mentoring.
- Embed knowledge management into daily activities. Build knowledge capture, sharing and reuse into work processes with tools such as portals that deliver just-in-time information.
For more details, please visit http://www.apqc.org/capture.
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