Knowledge transfer is happening so rampantly in industries now because retired employees need to provide information to the younger generation.
Therefore, corporate leaders should ensure that the knowledge transfer happens properly before these managers’ tenure is over. Without this kind of knowledge transfer, organizations can’t work smoothly.
When an organization allows its older employees to retire without ensuring they pass their inherent knowledge, it can cause trouble because the newer employees lack competitive skills. As a result, an organization can completely lose its edge in the market.
Why is knowledge transfer crucial?
Knowledge transfer can’t be done through training because although information can be passed on to younger employees, they might not be able to apply it. Any employee can’t provide his experience to the younger generation because they need a means of communication. Apart from that, the younger generation needs to draw from the experiences of older employees to learn lessons not contained in theory.
Apart from theory, this process of knowledge transfer consists of invaluable knowledge of the older employees for which simulations can be developed. This can be done by an elearning team for whom such experienced employees can act as subject matter experts. The younger employees could have been trained in the theoretical principles, but they need to develop the ability to apply them to practice.
How can a lack of knowledge transfer affect a business?
Any business can ensure that the baby boomers’ knowledge is transferred to the newer employees by preserving it. This can be done by making it a part of standard operating procedures. It can also be done that sharing knowledge becomes a part of the organizational culture, with such employees giving lectures to junior employees every morning.
They can also do job shadowing, supervise the junior employees and help them improve their job performance. When such employees observe new employees at work, it helps in hands-on learning.
Knowledge is the most important asset of a company, and the organizational leaders have to ensure that the tacit knowledge which is just stored in the minds of an employee becomes explicit to others.
It can be made a part of the documentation or implemented in the form of procedures. Knowledge transfer is critical because it means that an organization improves its manufacturing and delivery of products and services.
When clients fail to find any USP in a company’s product and services because an employee has retired, they go to someone else. Hence, knowledge transfer must happen right before a business loses its stake in the market.
Difference between explicit and tacit knowledge levels
Knowledge transfer happens for two kinds of knowledge in a company. The first is the tacit knowledge that an individual might not know about. For example, he might not know that he has developed an understanding of doing things that differentiates him from others. It includes all the experiences and abilities of an individual he has acquired during his tenure.
The owner of such knowledge must help the elearning expert to formalize such knowledge when he has devised ways to pass it on to others.
But on the other hand, explicit knowledge is easy to be shared because the owner knows about it. That’s why it can be conveyed by him/her and written down in manuals and documentation.
Difficulty in transferring tacit knowledge
Tacit knowledge is tough to convey because it has become a core aspect of a company’s procedures. An employee acquires such knowledge when he has spent sufficient time working on the procedures of a company and hence knows the results of his action. He knows how to expedite the processes because they are a part of his memory and consequently has become efficient at his job.
Hence tacit knowledge can only be transferred through mentorship when a senior sees a junior doing a process and can guide him on how to do it more efficiently. But communication is an important part of such knowledge transfer to happen. Anytime the junior has become proficient at his job, the senior should not discontinue mentoring him.
Companies must understand that they can’t ignore the skills of the baby boomer generation. Due to any lack of knowledge transfer, there has been a considerable fall in the growth of jobs in the manufacturing sector. The talents of the baby boomer generation in the manufacturing sector have to be passed on because it has been tough to find rare skills in the millennial population.
The employees can use their knowledge to ensure that the organization delivers a regular performance without interruption. That’s why organizations employ routines, so the performance status of all the employees is the same because routines include tacit knowledge.