Tools & Resources » Phase 2: Introduction

Phase II: Taking the Next Step: Developing and Implementing the KM/KT Strategy

Once senior management commitment and resources are secured to support KM/KT, it is important to ensure the right strategy and implementation plans are developed to move ahead in the most efficient, effective and economical direction for your organization. The following steps will help you begin laying the strategic components of the KM/KT strategy and get you started in collecting, organizing, and managing information for transferring purposes:

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Knowledge and information can leak in all sorts of ways and at all sorts of times. To make sure that essential knowledge is retained by an organization requires, a range of techniques, from traditional information management tools such as shared drives, as well as more modern techniques such as blogs and knowledge based exit interviews can be employed to ensure that knowledge is not only stored but transferred.

What follows is a comprehensive compendium or inventory of various KM and KT methods gathered through an extensive literature review which provide a starting point to help establish clear entry points for using this toolkit. Some of the most popular methods outlined in this compendium are further supported by leading approaches/tools or “how to guides” (where appropriate) which provide a brief introduction and orientation to the subject followed by comprehensive accounts of how to apply these tools and suggestions followed by further resources that might prove useful as well as best practices of their application within the sector (where available/applicable).

Many of these tools are simple and trying them out requires nothing more than the desire to try something new. Undertaking them effectively requires effective – sometimes advanced – facilitation and communication skills. Other tools covered here are more complex, and call for significant planning and resources if they are to be delivered effectively.

Some of the critical thinking and analysis that is needed to design and implement knowledge transfer activities relates to an assessment of the longer-term needs of the organization. In effect, the human and competency resources that should be retained and/or recruited to sustain a level of capacity to meet the organization’s mandate need to be identified.

When a corporate KM and KT initiative is being led, it is also essential to ensure that there is a widespread acceptance and understanding of the nature of the issues to be addressed and shared vision on the strategies to be employed. Evaluation and feedback mechanisms are essential as well (see Phase III: Monitoring and Evaluation – Examining our Return on Investment for more details). It is also true that no organization can benefit from knowledge transfer if it does not have a robust system of human resource planning fully integrated with its business planning. In other words, knowledge transfer is an integral part of good business practices and not an isolated activity.

Strategies and actions to ensure knowledge transfer and retention efforts need to be a more integral aspect of workforce planning and management activities include:

  • Engaging strong commitment to oversee knowledge transfer and retention activities and in developing incentive structures that promote knowledge sharing within and across work teams.
  • Opening up hierarchical frameworks and bureaucratic divisions and boundaries to promote horizontal knowledge and information sharing.
  • Introducing programs where older workers are expected to regularly work with younger employers in a mentoring role or job shadowing capacity to facilitate the transfer of important tacit knowledge.
  • Valuing and rewarding knowledge transfer in planned work outcomes and performance appraisals.
  • Using job redesign to create “special skill and knowledge transfer” roles that call on particularly skilled employees to undertake special organizational knowledge, history and skill development projects or training, mentoring or coaching based activities.
  • Creating specific opportunities for younger workers to enter into coaching, shadowing or on the job mentoring programs with experienced older employees and/or take on projects that are designed to stretch capabilities and transfer critical organizational knowledge.
  • Using team based approaches to managing long term projects and good record keeping practices to ensure effective transfer of knowledge between existing and exiting employees.

O’Dell, C.S, Essaides, N. & C. Jackson Grayson, Jr. (1998) If Only We Knew What We Know : The Transfer of Internal Knowledge and Best Practice; Wyoming Government .Knowledge Transfer Concepts - Department of Administration & Information - Human Resources; Rothwell, W.J. (2004). Capturing the Lessons of Experience: Knowledge Transfer: 12 Strategies for Succession Management. IPMA-HR NEWS; Z:\J Drive\Projects\Electricity Sector Council\Lit Review\Docs from Deane\Best Practices\General Practices for Knowledge Transfer\Strategies tools and tips\Knowledge Cafe - Wikipedia.mht; Kiyonaga, N.B. & Berg. D. (2004) Passing the Torch: Knowledge Management and Transfer Techniques. NYS Department of Civil Service; Knowledge Transfer Concepts (2008) Division of Personnel State of Alaska; Greenes, K. & Piktialis, D. (2008a) Bridging the Gaps: How to Transfer Knowledge in Today's Multigenerational Workplace