Facilitating Knowledge Management and Transfer
As highly experienced, skilled and knowledgeable practitioners exit the workforce in the next three to five years, the importance of effective knowledge management and transfer will be paramount within the electricity sector to ensure that current practitioners have the skills, knowledge and abilities that are required to perform their roles safely, effectively and properly. There are numerous approaches to organizational knowledge management and transfer that can be implemented to suit the specific needs of one’s organization. Potential strategies for knowledge management and transfer are presented below.
- Develop organizational networks to promote knowledge sharing among employees
Employees with various levels of experience and expertise are highly valuable assets in the sharing of knowledge among the workforce. Developing a network of existing employees representative of a range of experience and expertise that continues to grow and evolve over time helps to ensure that employees always have resources for knowledge transfer in the form of their peers. Employees become subject matter experts, who can share their expertise with others informally on an ‘as-needed’ basis, and can also be trained to serve as internal trainers, in addition to their permanent positions within the organization.
Recognizing the potential of peer-learning and support for knowledge management and transfer within an organization through the development of a knowledge sharing network can be an effective practice for organizations of all sizes and business lines.
- Document critical processes
All too often, organizations recognize the extensive knowledge held by employees after they have left the organization. In this scenario, organizations are left scrambling to piece together the information required to bring new workers into vacant positions. A proactive method to prevent knowledge loss is the formal documentation of critical processes while the experienced workers are still in their positions. Documentation of knowledge, including technical skills required, processes to follow, nuances of the job, and even tips for success or troubleshooting, is invaluable for a workforce in transition.
- Implement formal or informal mentoring processes
Learning that occurs on the job and from peers is incredibly effective and valuable. Mentoring, the process of an experienced worker providing guidance and support to a less experienced worker can be very effective formal or informal practice for knowledge transfer. Mentors and mentees can work side-by-side and develop a trusting relationship from which both can benefit. While the mentee clearly benefits from being instilled with the knowledge and experience of their mentors, the mentor can also see their job from a different perspective, through the eyes of a new employee. Mentoring that occurs ad hoc, or that is regularly scheduled, is a highly effective and inexpensive method for knowledge transfer; however, commitment is required on the part of the mentor and the mentee for effective knowledge transfer and learning to occur.
- Create an organizational KMAT plan
In recognition of the importance of knowledge management and transfer within the electrical industry, the ESC recently embarked upon the Knowledge Management and Transfer Project with the goal of conducting extensive research to identify knowledge management and transfer best practices within the Canadian electricity industry. The results of this project provide industry with strategic recommendations to aid in the development and adoption of effective organizational knowledge transfer planning processes. Results of this project can be obtained from the Knowledge Management and Transfer web portal: www.brightfutures.ca/kmat.
For additional examples of knowledge management and transfer techniques in use by Canadian utilities, please see the ESC Training Profile: Knowledge Building, Capture and Transfer.
- Strategies for Enhancing Internal Training Capacity
- Developing Partnerships
- Utilizing Competency-Based Training and Assessment Approaches
- Facilitating Knowledge Management and Transfer
- Developing Systems to Manage the Training Function
- Utilizing Various Training Methodologies
- Evaluating the Effectiveness and Impact of Training