3 Knowledge Retention Strategies You Must Try

There are all kinds of knowledge retention strategies, but they each have one common goal, and that is to prevent, if not eliminate, knowledge attrition. What knowledge attrition basically means is the loss of certain technical skills and expertise within a particular workforce. This problem takes on many different forms, from the retirement of highly trained employees to simple degradation of learned or acquired skills among personnel. 

Whatever their causes, however, knowledge attrition remains a serious problem, especially among companies which rely heavily upon highly trained personnel to maintain their day to day operations. Therefore, an increase in knowledge attrition in whatever form will always cause problems within an organization. So if your own company is presently dealing with these problems, then here are three knowledge retention strategies that can help you rectify them. 

3 Knowledge Retention Strategies You Must Try


Open Access to Knowledge 

One of the goals of knowledge retention is to maintain the efficient circulation of existing information within the organization. The intended goal here is to reduce the impact of knowledge attrition within the company by providing personnel with open access to all the information that they’ve learned in the past as well as some of new information that has been discovered or developed recently. In other words, the importance of open access information is that it allows personnel to actively participate in the organization’s knowledge retention policies. 

Open access information can take on many forms, including an online database, training and education reviews as well as access to outside specialists (both in-house and contractors). Basically, anything that provides personnel with the information that they need falls into the category of open access information, which is why if a particular organization is having problems with knowledge attrition, then one of the best ways of solving it would be to simply give its personnel access to the information that they require. 

Aside from providing personnel with access to information, an organization that is concerned with knowledge retention should also offer incentives to motivate its personnel to actively review information that they’ve learned throughout their training. These incentives can be in the form of monetary bonuses, extra day-offs or access to higher levels of training/re-training. By giving its personnel both access and incentives to information that they require, an organization will be able to guarantee the active participation of its employees whenever it needs to deal with knowledge attrition. 

Appoint Personnel In Charge of Knowledge Retention 

Another long term knowledge retention strategy that a company can use is to appoint personnel who are in charge of implementing knowledge retention strategies. They can be managerial personnel, people from the HR department or anyone who can get the job done. The majority of their work will focus on organizing personnel within their group to actively participate in knowledge retention activities, such as: 

– Mentoring Programs
– After Action Reviews
– Knowledge Mapping 
– Knowledge Transfer Activities 

Without personnel to actively coordinate and organize these kinds of activities, knowledge retention strategies will be much harder to implement, especially since the organization’s personnel will have no one to speak to whenever they encounter problems with these activities. 

Furthermore, personnel who are in charge of knowledge retention activities can become the core personnel for knowledge retention groups or committees. They can serve as experts, advisers and support staff whenever your organization needs to implement new policies or activities that involve knowledge retention. They can even actively help or identify those personnel who are often most vulnerable to knowledge attrition, and provide them with additional help and support. 

Information Prioritization

One of the biggest challenges of knowledge retention is that it requires personnel to retain large amounts of information. In other words, knowledge attrition often results from information overload, and most of the information that people often forget are the ones which they don’t often use in their daily activities. Because of this problem, it’s important for organizations refrain from giving its personnel too much information, especially if such information will rarely be used in the organization’s day to day activities. 

One way to address this problem is through information prioritization, which basically involves identifying those types of information which are most important to the organization and their personnel. For example, in a graphic design company, knowledge and expertise on how to use the latest photo manipulation software can be considered critical to the organization’s success, and must therefore be given priority over other forms of information or skills within the company. 

This is not to say, however, that all other types of information are not important. Knowledge retention should be applied to all forms of personnel information and expertise. However, the main point here is that the goals of knowledge retention will be better serve if the organization knows precisely which types of expertise, skills and information are most critical to their operations. By assigning priorities to the most critical information, an organization will be able to minimize the problems caused by attrition and, at the same time, improve the effectiveness of its knowledge retention strategies. 

Conclusion

Knowledge retention plays an important role in keeping employees and personnel effective at what they do. They also help to maintain the efficiency and output of critical operations within the organization, which is why they will always play an important role in how organizations train and manage their employees. 

The loss of any expertise within an organization can lead to serious repercussions in their operations, which in turn can lead to operational inefficiencies as well as long term problems in terms of output and personnel performance. This is why knowledge retention policies must always be geared towards long term results, because knowledge attrition is an ever-present problem, especially among organizations that employ large numbers of personnel. 

The average personnel will always gradually forget his or her training. This is inevitable, which is why organizations must actively deal with this problem by using the right strategies. So in order to truly appreciate the importance of knowledge retention strategies, it’s important to remember that information is critical to the success of any organization.

Jason Silberman
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog
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