Having a Knowledge Retention & Management Plan

August 23rd, 2017

In a recent blog post, Zoe Meinecke of Openview Partners wrote about the symptoms that are present in organizations that lack a knowledge retention program. As she points out in the following quote, knowledge management is often more theoretical than it is practical, leaving leadership teams with a significant (and costly) void of actionable information.

“In theory, knowledge management should be integrated into the daily operations of every organization, proactively protecting what employees know long before they leave.”

– Zoe Meinecke, Openview Partners, July 24, 2017

Although there is always too much to do and not enough time to do it in, companies that don’t prioritize the capture of employee knowledge will feel its absence. In order to drive knowledge retention from theory to reality, it is critical to take an approach that makes knowledge capture easy and efficient and ensures that it can be accessed by others in the organization today and in the future.

Supplier information management is one of the key organizational processes that is negatively affected by the absence of a knowledge retention plan. This leads to a struggle scaling procurement’s impact, a lack of vision for applying knowledge, and breaks in operational continuity when it is needed most.

Scale: For vibrant organizations, effectively scaling can be a challenge along geographical lines or as a result of sheer numbers. Rather than relying on informal ‘many to many’ information sharing between teams and individuals, companies need to centralize and structure knowledge in a digital format where it can be searched from all locations and at all times of the day. If possible, one ‘master source’ should incorporate both internal and external or third-party knowledge to increase efficiency and trust.

Roadmap: Knowledge retention will not happen on its own. Instead, leadership teams need to put a plan in place to collect and apply intelligence. This requires both long-term investments in training and hiring and a near-term emphasis on the application of captured knowledge. In particular, anyone with management responsibility must consistently ask teams if they have consulted available knowledge resources before making new decisions and recommendations.

Legacy: If addressing scale makes knowledge actionable today and designing a roadmap lays out a path to the knowledge use of tomorrow, building a knowledge legacy ensures that procurement will prioritize intelligence into the future. Turnover and organizational changes are a given; the question is, how well will your team weather the shifts?

Institutionalizing the capture of knowledge is the best way to make its use a pervasive part of corporate culture. Rather than requiring another step, knowledge should be captured as it is created, immediately converted into an actionable resource for others in the organization.

Enterprises with a robust knowledge retention program solidify and strengthen their competitive position because they are able to make improved decisions faster in response to market shifts, emerging innovation, and supply chain disruption. The time to leverage knowledge is just around the corner – and the time to collect it is now.

Zoe Meinecke’s full blog post: “How to Capture, Manage and Use Institutional Knowledge to Boost Your Productivity.”

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