KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER, WHEN NO ONE
Even without retirements, acquisitions, maternity leaves and all
the other obvious reasons for knowledge transfer, sharing key
pieces of information and understanding among specific employ-ees
can offer strategic business advantages.
If there are bottlenecks holding up the delivery of products and
services, for example, consider how transferring knowledge from
one person to another might help.
“This might include people who are too busy to make all their
meetings or deliver their own work,” said Trautman. “Ask what
that person could stop doing that is low value. They almost always
have a combination of high and low value tasks on their plates.
You can use knowledge transfer to move work from them to some-one
else, thus making career path opportunities for more junior
That, in turn, can boost innovation.
“Look for how many hours top talent are spending maintain-ing
legacy systems when they should be freed up to work on
future state,” said Trautman. “This affects their ability to expedite
the execution of the strategy and it also can lead to burnout and
Consider what knowledge needs to be shared to meet future
goals and targets.
“What does the business strategy, business plan, charter or
statements of work tell you about the actual work – not just the
number of heads needed – on the horizon?” said Trautman. “HR
should not be satisfied with filling requisitions. Look for gaps in
the organization’s ability to do unique tasks required to deliver
your products and services.” Knowledge transfer can help solve
“Ways of transferring knowledge need to be built into the DNA
of the organization so that they happen fairly organically, includ-ing
through processes that already exist,” said Leonard. “Those
could include succession planning and retirement planning, but
also recruitment, promotion and development of people.”
The first step is always to identify where the deep smarts are. Then,
identify the successors.
“To do that, look at who else has foundational knowledge
and a willingness to learn,” said Leonard. “When you’re selecting
a ‘nextpert’ to work with an expert, you have to be sure that the
knowledge gap between them is neither too small nor too large.
You don’t want to put an expert with a total novice because that
would be frustrating for both people. If the gap is too small, the
nextpert may feel insulted since he or she already has so much
Sometimes, an experienced employee will have decades worth of
accrued experience that’s most logically split among several people.
“You’re not going to clone that person and often dividing up the
knowledge makes the most sense, going forward,” said Leonard.
Opportunity comes from change.
We can help you with that.
HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ JUNE 2018 ❚ 17