Presidents, vice-presidents, managers and executives belonging to the ‘baby boomer’ era have retired or will do so soon. Does that mean that their vast resources of knowledge and years of experience will be lost to the organization they’ve worked in? This institutional knowledge is an important resource, which, if not tapped and stored, will mean a huge loss for the organization.
Knowledge management has never been more important. It is all about transferring knowledge from people’s minds into a system where it is shared, stored, referred and used by all employees at different times depending upon the need for it. Sharing knowledge is beneficial for both the giver as well as the learner. An efficient knowledge management system in an organization translates into higher productivity, lesser loss of time and definitely larger profits.
For an organization wanting to create an effective knowledge management system, some basics need to be in place, such as:
- Creating a Knowledge Sharing Culture: Information and communication from the top management right down to the lowest level should create a culture of knowledge sharing and realize its importance. Tell people that the knowledge is owned by the organization collectively, rather than every employee individually.
- Encouraging People to Develop and Enhance their Skill Sets: Set up a system for sharing information and share vital feedback on important issues or reports.
- Evaluating and Re-evaluating: Evaluation can present an opportunity to share knowledge and information between managers and employees. Both sides could learn and benefit from evaluations and identify points to work on in the coming year.
- Succession Planning: It is vital to manage succession planning well for a new employee to pick up the ropes from where he is beginning rather than fumbling along the way. This is beneficial for both the employee and the organization.
- Studying, Analyzing and Establishing Different Learning Styles: People’s different learning styles can have a bearing on cross-generational knowledge transfer. Similar is the case with technological advancement which is important to tide over these differences to harness knowledge and transfer it into an efficient knowledge management system for future reference and use.
- Conventional Methods of Knowledge Transfer: These popular methods include formal education and training, interviews, mentoring, apprenticeships, simulations and games, peer assists, research blogs, conferences, knowledge elicitation interviews and story-telling.
Receiving tips in IM (instant messaging) may be preferred by the younger generation rather than pre-arranged meetings with their mentors. Blogging on different topics is an effective way for knowledge capture which can be used by others. Apart from IM and blogs on the Intranet, the use of Wikis, podcasts, RSS feeds and virtual realities are technologies that can be extensively used for knowledge transfer.
Do share your thoughts on the same.