The goal of knowledge transfer is to capture both explicit and passive knowledge from high-value employees so you can pass this information on to others in the organization. This ensures that as employees leave, the knowledge they’ve accrued through their technical training, development and experiences stays with the organization. It also ensures that as employees move up within the organization, they have all of the knowledge they need to be successful at each new level of responsibility.
If you want to transfer this knowledge effectively within your organization, you first must devise a plan to capture it.
Talk to the Right People
When you begin mapping out a knowledge transfer plan, start by having structured conversations with the key stakeholders. This typically includes the knowledge transfer incumbent — or the person who has the knowledge — the incumbent’s boss, the incumbent’s direct reports and anyone who will be receiving the knowledge.
If you’re contemplating who else should be involved in these knowledge transfer conversations, ask around to learn which peers and colleagues would be good resources to provide more information about the types of knowledge and value the incumbent holds.
The point of these structured conversations is to identify what knowledge needs to be captured, where it currently lives and where it should live.
Ask the Right Questions
After discussing knowledge transfer with the group, get a deeper look into the knowledge and skills that need to be transferred by talking with your incumbent about her work history and how she came to be in her current position. Remember your incumbent has knowledge of her current position, but she also has from all of the positions she held before.
Consider these eight essential questions:
Where does he add value? You want to know what the incumbent believes are his key contributions to the organization as well as the areas in which he added the most value.
What types of relationships does she have? Ask about the types of relationships that are important to the success of her position as well as the organization’s success. This can include relationships with clients, customers, suppliers, vendors, peers, colleagues or other managers.
What is his training? Discuss any trainings, certifications, licenses, registrations or special skills the incumbent has and whether those are requirements for his job. You’ll also need to ask how he obtained this training.
What technical knowledge does she need? This includes knowledge of and access to software, programs and systems. Again, ask if there was a requirement to learn these skills, how she learned them and what she uses them for.
What resources does he use? Are there websites, books, manuals, journals or periodicals that he uses to get his job done? Are there agencies or organizations that he consults? Any equipment, tools or assessment test he uses?
What’s her process? Some processes she uses might be technical and some might be personal ones that she’s developed over time on the job.
What are his important soft skills? What soft skills are important to getting his job done? For example, does the position require him to be strategic? Does he need to be able to manage vision or innovation? You need to understand the soft skills requirement for that level.
What else do others need to know about her work? Include a general question about any other experience, savvy and know-how she uses to get her job done.
Start Creating a Knowledge Transfer Plan
The next step is to create a knowledge transfer plan to capture and communicate the most critical information and knowledge your high-value employees possess, so you can minimize the risk of losing it.
Contact us if you need help developing a knowledge transfer plan for your organization.
Success Labs is a full-service, strategic organizational and leadership development company located in Baton Rouge, La. For more than 25 years, our expert team of consultants has worked with hundreds of companies to explore their business potential and improve their company and cultural performance. Contact us to get proactive about your people strategy.