The electricity sector has primarily relied on the same technology for the last 100 years, but technology (such as automation and computerized systems) is changing the business environment and is driving the need for new skills. This has led to the requirement to have employees skilled in both legacy systems as well as new technologies to support both traditional and growing sub-sectors of power generation. But Electricity Human Resources Canada’s (EHRC’s) 2008 Labour Market Information study found that 28.8% of the electricity sector’s workforce was approaching retirement. The electricity industry needs a knowledge management system to transfer knowledge to new employees.
The Knowledge Management and Transfer (KMAT) Project aims to identify best practices within the electricity industry in Canada and provide strategic recommendations for adopting knowledge transfer planning processes.
Knowledge Management & Knowledge Transfer—What is the Difference?
Knowledge Management is the creation, capture, organization, sharing, and leveraging of valuable explicit knowledge in an organization. Explicit Knowledge is articulated knowledge, expressed and recorded as words, numbers, codes, mathematical and scientific formulae, and musical notations. Explicit knowledge is easy to communicate, store, and distribute and is the knowledge found in books, on the web, and other visual and oral means. Knowledge Transfer is the ability to formally transfer tacit and explicit specialized knowledge held by individuals and/or business units within an organization. Tacit Knowledge is the unwritten, unspoken, and a hidden vast storehouse of knowledge held by practically every normal human being, based on his or her emotions, experiences, insights, intuition, observations and internalized information. What is important is that it is known where the knowledge resides so it can be transferred when necessary.
Knowledge transfer is often more complex because it attempts to codify and transfer that is held within peoples’ heads as opposed to information that is documented. It is moving from “collection” of information to “making connections” among those who retain the knowledge and those who need it.
What is the Knowledge Management and Transfer (KMAT) Project?
EHRC’s KMAT project was designed to identify and assess current knowledge transfer processes both within and outside the industry. The project provides a compendium of tools and resources to help HR Managers develop and implement effective KMAT strategies. There is no one right response or approach to KMAT but rather each organization needs to approach KMAT by understanding where its pain points are; where the organization is at greatest risk of losing information either within the organization or when employees leave the organization, and building an organizational culture that is dedicated to acquiring and sharing knowledge.
EHRC has produced a full report to help support organizations in the Canadian electricity sector in developing tailored approaches to KMAT that meets each organization’s unique need.
The development of the KM/KT Toolkit for the Canadian Electricity and Renewable Sector was made possible by the participation and support of the following:
- The Knowledge Management and Transfer Steering Committee:
- Bob Menard— Chair, Executive Managing Director, Power Workers’ Union Training Inc.
- Helen Platis— Vice Chair, Vice President – Operations Solutions, Elenchus
- Rick Dalton, Business Manager/Financial Secretary, IBEW Local 2330
- John Drish, Co-ordinator of Trades Integration – English Program Services, Nova Scotia Department of Education
- Leslie Forge, Executive Vice President, Policy, The Society of Energy Professionals
- Tom Goldie, Senior Vice President, Corporate Services, Hydro One
- Lianne Lagassé, Manager, Employee Learning & Development, Manitoba Hydro
- Roberta Reyns, Organization Development Consultant, Ontario Power Generation
- Michelle Branigan, Chief Executive Officer, Electricity Human Resources Canada
- Kevin Joseph, Project Manager, Electricity Human Resources Canada
- Nathalie Couture, Senior Analyst, Human Resources & Skills Development Canada
- Wendy Farrington, Analyst, Human Resources & Skills Development Canada
Research Consultants – Intergage Management Consulting:
- Jennifer Smith
In addition, we would like to acknowledge the generous time and support of the employers, associations, educational institutions, unions and other key stakeholders who participated in this project.