The role of human resources involves many different facets in an organization. It includes everything from finding qualified staff, on-boarding them, maximizing employee performance, and sometimes having to let them go. But what’s often forgotten in this cycle is the transfer of knowledge to ensure the long-term success of the organization.
In business, knowledge transfer is the term used to describe the issue of transferring knowledge within the organization. Specifically when there is a change in staffing, leadership or otherwise. Similar to knowledge management, knowledge transfer should aim to capture knowledge so it’s accessible and available for future users.
The most important key to sharing knowledge in the workplace, is open communication. A culture of open communication benefits the transfer of knowledge among employees. Facilitating a safe environment where all employees know their contributions are respected will allow for easy knowledge transfer. A simple explanation of open communication is a workplace where asking questions and sharing information is second nature and encouraged. Creating a culture of open communication is easier said, than done. The benefits are undeniable.
Mentoring is something that every organization should incorporate into their employee engagement strategy. The benefits of having a mentor in the workplace is invaluable to new staff. It helps them to easily learn the culture of the organization. It also allows seasoned employees to share information and provide newer employees with a go-to person when situations arise. This type of relationship assists with the transfer of knowledge in the workplace. Cultivating learning opportunities like cross training between related areas and hosting lunch and learn type sessions spreads the knowledge and doesn’t keep it locked with one individual or team. Mentors also help establish networking connections to further facilitate the transfer of knowledge.
Collaboration is key to the success of every organization. Promoting collaboration also plays a large role in the transfer of knowledge. This can take many forms but most common are cross functional teams and group communication such as via email or meetings. Whether it’s a new employee or longtime leader, learning what your colleagues are working on will aid in knowledge transfer. Overall, collaborating on problems can help all participants find innovative solutions.
Casual or formal meetings with staff, or at least key staff, on a regular basis to discuss issues and success stories can help to maintain a culture of open communication. Meetings also keep lines of communication open and help with the flow of knowledge.
For any of these suggestions to work, people leaders must create a strategy to facilitate knowledge transfer. Incorporating collaboration, communication and mentoring are the first steps, but the journey to ultimately shift a culture will take time, effort and great leadership.