Knowledge Transfer or Succession Planning…
…Call it whatever you wish, it ultimately comes down to taking a young worker under your wing and “showing them the ropes.” No big deal. Except it is a big deal these days because job turnover is so great. There is very little expectation that the person receiving knowledge is going to stay in their job for 10 to 30 years. Knowledge must be held in a way that it can be transmitted to a young worker today, and also to the next young worker who fills this recipient’s shoes.
Knowledge management became a business about twenty years ago and some of the original systems were effective at capturing knowledge, others were not. All relied on massive data banks to hold them, and all now require a new industry, Data Analytics, to just interpret the information held in those data bases. That might work for geologists deciding where to drill for oil, but it’s much too “bulky” for a salesman to take to a customer, or for a transit worker to carry in his lunchbox.
Where do you begin? (Hint – knowledge transfer is personal.)
Think about the people.
Models exist, some theoretical and some in-place.
Choosing what models to try follows thinking about the people involved, whether you need to plan different kinds of knowledge capture for different people and different departments, or whether a company-wide program will fill the bill.
Where does it hurt…the most?
Some departments will be hit sooner than others, for a fistful of reasons. And some departments are already in trouble. If your company is already feeling the pain of brain drain, then you’d better hurry. If not…hurry anyway.