Your knowledge transfer strategy should include a clear cost-benefit analysis for the change you want to make from your organization’s knowledge transfer status quo to a program that meets your defined expectations. The first step is to consider the costs of a change. Be sure to include the time your experts will spend transferring knowledge to their peers. This can be as little as a few hours per week but we’ve found that ignoring this reality causes problems when it is time to execute the strategy. There is also going to be some overhead for setting up the system, potentially using internal or external help. Then think about benefits. The cleanest way I have found to get at the benefits is to assess opportunities and threats to your business and then derive potential returns from there. The main goal of knowledge transfer is to manage talent and knowledge risks, including risks of failing in your current business or failing to take full advantage of growth opportunities. Your cost/benefit analysis should be informed by a thorough understanding of the impacts those risks could have on your business.
Topics: Outsourcing, Workforce Risk Management, Knowledge Transfer Strategy, Innovation in a Workforce, Change Management, Generational Gaps/Differences, Skilled Worker Shortage, Onboarding, Aging Workers
Lots of people use the word strategy very loosely. The word gets thrown around in business like people put salt on food. For some, a strategic plan is a one-page bulleted list; for others, it’s a 40-page treatise about who an organization is going to be in the future, how that’s going to look and feel, even including the tactics to get them there. I bring this up in this knowledge transfer strategy blog series because before you create any knowledge transfer strategy, you need to think about defining what you mean by strategy.
In my way of thinking, a knowledge transfer strategy does these things:
Topics: Peer Mentoring, Outsourcing, Workforce Risk Management, Knowledge Transfer Definition, Terms & Roles, Knowledge Transfer Planning, Reorganizations & Mergers, Knowledge Transfer Strategy, Innovation in a Workforce, Change Management, Best Practices, Consistency in a Workforce, Generational Gaps/Differences, Skilled Worker Shortage, Common KT Misconceptions, Free Resources & Tools, Onboarding, Aging Workers
As you know, I’ve spent two decades working in the field of knowledge transfer and run a consulting company that focuses on solving talent management problems through knowledge transfer. It is only in the last few years, however, that I’ve developed a point of view at the knowledge transfer strategy level. It started with my last book and has continued with a spate of global projects where we’ve tested and honed this thinking. We have learned that to roll out our work to an enterprise, the client organizations have to consider the broader implications of the effort, including ensuring alignment at the exec level and assessing and overcoming roadblocks. It doesn’t matter how simple and useful our framework is—if the organization isn’t prepared for success, we’re going to have an uphill battle.
Topics: Peer Mentoring, Outsourcing, Workforce Risk Management, Knowledge Transfer Planning, Reorganizations & Mergers, Knowledge Transfer Strategy, Innovation in a Workforce, Change Management, Best Practices, Consistency in a Workforce, Generational Gaps/Differences, Skilled Worker Shortage, Common KT Misconceptions, Free Resources & Tools, Onboarding, Aging Workers
Steve's webinar last week was highly attended. We've heard from quite a few folks, though, who missed the webinar and would like to watch it on their own timeframe.
Topics: Peer Mentoring, Speaking & Events, Outsourcing, Workforce Risk Management, Knowledge Transfer Definition, Terms & Roles, Knowledge Transfer Planning, Reorganizations & Mergers, Innovation in a Workforce, Change Management, Best Practices, Consistency in a Workforce, Generational Gaps/Differences, Skilled Worker Shortage, Free Resources & Tools, Onboarding, Aging Workers
Today’s aging workforce puts businesses at risk when employees retire (or leave for any reason) and their unique knowledge is lost from a company. How is a business to go about retaining that aging worker's knowledge before it’s too late? Here is a recent case from a Fortune 500 client that illustrates the problem and solution in brief:
This last week my team started a project with a major food products company. They have two scientists in their R & D team who’ve spent the bulk of their career synthesizing lipids. In layman’s terms, that means they are working on inventing and/or improving the next fat that can be used in the preparation of crackers, chips, biscuits, cookies, etc. Trans fats are out. There has been some success with synthetic fats but the Holy Grail is still out there: a low calorie, stable shelf life, nutritionally-sound fat with a high smoke point. These men are the team with the most experience on the topic—and they are just about ready to retire. Three successors have been identified. These replacements are smart, experienced in the company, and capable—and yet, to be blunt, they don’t even know what they don’t know about synthesizing lipids. The head of their research team invited us in to help develop a plan for transferring years of knowledge and work products into the heads and hands of the next generation.
Picture two design engineers sitting at a table. One is a 25-year-old woman who has been on the job for about a year. The other is a man with 30+ years of experience in the same company. They are smiling and clearly comfortable with each other after a year on the same team, working next to each other. I ask them both the same question: “What would make the knowledge transfer/mentoring relationship between you two work better?”
She: “I would like to be given real work. What are we waiting for?”
He: “I want her to realize that it takes time to learn this job.”
She: “I would like him to stop breathing down my neck.”
He: “I want her to realize that she doesn’t already know everything.”