Delta airlines had a worse case of knowledge loss in the mid-1990s. The story was shared in the Strategies for Preventing a Knowledge Crisis by Salvatore, Rob, and Thoman.
Many of its experienced mechanics were leaving. The airline managed to compensate in the short term, but the resulting knowledge loss had serious consequences. Less experienced mechanics took longer to diagnose and perform repairs. Consequently, there were more incidences of flight delays and cancellations.
The threat of team knowledge loss is enough to keep any manager up at night. When an employee leaves, the organisation not only loses their experience in the role, but also the employee's contacts, ideas, and past company knowledge.
Careful planning and forward thinking can help stop team knowledge loss. Let's examine the five easy steps you can use:
The risk assessment should focus on determining where a loss of knowledge may occur. Watch out for vulnerabilities that may not seem so obvious. For instance, some employees may have a likelihood of departing because they are attending interviews elsewhere or are not currently satisfied with their contracts.
You may have some staff members up for retirement soon. The processes used to document information or a lack of knowledge sharing may similarly expose your organisation to knowledge loss.
Labeled as central connectors or brokers, it's essential to isolate team members with a lot of connections through contacts and extensive company knowledge. The employees often serve as the go-to people in crisis and offer helpful guidance due to their breadth of experience. You can apply several techniques in relation to connectors and brokers to avoid knowledge loss. They can train and mentor new hires. You can assign them to address areas of knowledge gaps or shift information access to ensure that no one point is vulnerable.
You can use a wide range of techniques to capture and store team information. Some of the techniques may include:
With WorkPilot, you can promote knowledge sharing in teams by having team members create short tutorials and courses.
Most efforts to gather data from a team may solely focus on procedures or lessons learned from past projects. It leaves out crucial information about relationships and networks employees have established to get things done efficiently. So, aim to capture business contacts through various ways such as digitising contacts in the CRM.
Capturing the information is the first part of preventing team knowledge loss. However, the information may end up in a database where it becomes outdated. There is a risk that employees may not deem the information credible or up-to-date after the employee leaves. How can you prevent this mistake? Think of making the information shareable and easy to update by documenting it in a company Wiki.
WorkPilot allows you to launch a knowledge hub complete with a searchable Wiki. You can create checklists or build short courses explaining roles and specific tasks.