Having a solid, tested knowledge transfer plan is the only way to reduce knowledge loss when valued employees leave, as well as boost productivity for new and existing employees.
In this article, you’ll learn what knowledge transfer is and five knowledge transfer strategies for success.
What Is Knowledge Transfer?
Knowledge transfer is the process of storing and sharing employees’ knowledge and best practices within an organization. The best knowledge transfer systems include ways to record both explicit and tacit knowledge.
Implementing a knowledge transfer plan helps prevent the loss of important knowledge when employees leave the company. It helps establish a central source of company information where all employees can access up-to-date knowledge.
5 Strategies For Effective Knowledge Transfer
When creating a knowledge transfer plan, it can be challenging to develop effective strategies so that people have access to important knowledge. Below are five strategies for effective knowledge transfer.
Identify the knowledge you need
Identifying what knowledge you need and from who is the first and most important part of the knowledge transfer process. Both simple and complex knowledge can be useful to record, but carefully consider what’s most important for other employees to know.
Identify the key people in your company with the most knowledge and how you can get it from them. Make a list of names, tasks, and activities you need to learn more about.
To start storing knowledge, create documents that clearly outline how a process works. Use checklists and templates to ensure that following this process isn’t too difficult.
If you have the main processes documented, your employees will be more confident, as they won’t be expected to already know how to do certain things or just “figure it out” when the time comes.
Use technology, like knowledge transfer software, to capture key information for new employees. You don't want your employees relearning what others discovered on their own – if you can make knowledge transfer efficient, then do so. People new to the company can take all the knowledge and use it rather than figure things out independently.
In these systems, include common problems employees may run into and how they can solve the issues. While this requires more technological sophistication, this information can help even the least experienced person perform like a pro.
Create learning opportunities
Set up informal gatherings where employees can exchange information and develop networks within the company. You should create opportunities for employees to work together to find and share knowledge.
These opportunities can include:
- Mentorship: one-on-one meetings or in-person training, either short or long-term.
- Hands-on learning: the person transferring the knowledge shows the trainee how it’s done with a hands-on approach.
- Shadowing: the person obtaining the knowledge shadows the experienced employee so that they can observe the job functions closely.
- Paired (or grouped) work: two or more people who are new to the role are put together and work closely to figure things out.
Use technology to your advantage
Implement knowledge transfer software to help with the process. Look for technology that will support the company goals and won’t be too difficult for employees to use.
A good knowledge management platform, can standardize and automate how information is stored while making it easy for employees to share their knowledge. Your system should be as accessible as possible.
When a key employee leaves an organization, important knowledge often leaves with them. With the right knowledge transfer strategies, that can be avoided. Ongoing knowledge transfer is also the best way to avoid employee burnout and reduce turnover rates within a company.