Archives for November 2015

Managing Knowledge Transfer When Older Workers Leave

As older, highly skilled workers leave the workforce, how can talent managers ensure that the years of valuable experience don’t leave, too? With the shifting demographics in the U.S. workforce, this problem is happening daily in many companies and industries.

To a large extent, organizations run on the knowledge and skills of their people, especially the “tribal knowledge” of how things work and are done “here,” whether it’s in information technology, sales, manufacturing, human resources or the C-suite.

Without a consistent, effective way to transfer and share this knowledge, critical people leave and take this critical knowledge with them, resulting in business disruption and potential customer dissatisfaction.

Unfortunately, most organizations have no consistent method of dealing with such a crisis when it occurs. Instead, managers and co-workers are left to “deal with it,” often perpetuating problems, while the business suffers.

But what knowledge is critical to transfer?

Knowledge is often categorized into explicit — overt — knowledge or tacit — hidden — knowledge.

  • Explicit knowledgeInformation normally found in documents, databases and procedure manuals, or learned in school or formal training. This is often the knowledge that people “know they know” and is already documented.
  • Tacit knowledgeUndocumented, intuitive knowledge and know-how, gained by experience, which usually resides in the minds of experts. Experts may not even know that they know this information, often being the knowledge of an organization and its informal procedures, personnel responsibilities and history.

In most organizations, the high risk is in losing the tacit knowledge that comes with many years’ experience in an organization and that makes people effective in their job.

What is needed is a flexible and consistent process for eliciting, capturing and transferring tacit knowledge.

Having worked with numerous companies to do this, the following process has proven highly effective:

  1. Identification of subject areas and knowledge items.
  2. Prioritization of those items.
  3. Creating a plan for transferring items.
  4. Training on various knowledge transfer tools.
  5. Use of appropriate tools to capture specifics of each knowledge item.
  6. Storage of completed tools in accessible location — Knowledge Management system, SharePoint, shared drives, etc.

In the process, an expert or mentor works together with a protégé or mentee in a “knowledge team.” Protégés use the tools to interview the expert and probe for more information and transcribe the information for later reference.

With participants working together through the process, several benefits are achieved:

  • It ensures the needs of both individuals are met.
  • It gives protégés the opportunity to clarify items.
  • It encourages an ongoing mentoring relationship between the individuals.

This process has proven to be highly flexible and adaptable to a variety of industries, subject areas and organizational situations.

Also, organizations can react quickly to impending departures. Or better yet, use the process proactively in a mentoring program to prepare for such contingencies and continually improve the skills and performance of high potentials and other individuals in the talent pipeline.

While this process can easily use new electronic technology, it is not dependent upon it. Participants have completed the process very successfully with pen and paper, laptop computers and even Web meetings.

Talent management means not only finding the right people and giving them the resources they need, but also providing the skills and processes to ensure their personal success and the ongoing success of the organization.

Reprinted from Talent Management

5 Reasons Avoiding Social Media Training is Dangerous

Social media training is becoming mandatory for a large number of businesses and companies, all in an effort to stay updated in this technological world. It’s so important that it ranks up there with conventional media and PC training.

Allowing your team to undergo social media training in an effort to collaborate over social media outlets is the easiest way to boost your business’ online reputation.

1. Save money on training

What’s a better reason to do something when it comes to your business other than to save you money? On-site social media training is cost-efficient, as it can save you literally thousands of dollars in employee training and development.

2. Stay on the same page

Everyone is on the same page once you’ve gone through social media training together and understand the importance of supplementing learning with social media. Instead of having each member of your team assigned to one social media task, they can all be caught up to speed at the same time and all be capable of doing the marketing for social media.

3. Don’t be a statistic

A whopping 42 percent of social media networkers indicated that they would or currently do post negative information about their employer, boss, or co-worker. Social media training works to avoid a negative online reputation, boost ethics and morals in the workplace, and reduce the number of incidents where this occurs. This makes it one step easier to getting ranked first by search engines, earning passive income through the website, and whatever other ventures you may be pursuing online in order to make an income.

4. Policy isn’t enough

Providing a social media policy is great for employees that actually read and understand it. The others are left to do what they wish, unless everyone receives engaging, in-depth social media training. Providing the training necessary to educate your employees on the policy is the best way to enforce the policy and make sure it’s actually understood.

5. Reduce employee turnover

Social media misuse is very common in the workplace. In fact, over 50 percent of employers have to deal with misuse of social media by employees or former employees. Allowing or actively promoting social media and social media marketing in the workplace actually may hinder your business and its online reputation without providing your employees with the proper social media training. Instead of having to fire your employees for misuse of social media, implementing a training program can prevent that.

There are many reasons as to why avoiding social media training in your organization is dangerous. A lack of proper training can actually impact your business or organization negatively. Remember, however, that social media training, or any type of training for that matter, is not a cure all. Sometimes training will be the answer to solving any number of corporate ills, but sometimes you’ll need to look for the answer elsewhere.

Helping your team to be one body over social media and to censor or monitor what they say over social media outlets can reduce any negative impact it could’ve had on your organization’s online reputation.

Instead, allowing your employees to undergo training and providing them with a happy, stress-free work environment is the easiest way to have them promoting the company and sharing the content you post on your website. Employees who receive social media training are more inclined to react and respond positively online.

Reprinted from

A Training Transfer Dream: What if a Course Never Ended?

What do you think is the biggest problem in corporate training? Of course, there’s no one answer and the biggest problem in one organization might not be a problem in another.

But overall I think that given a commitment to training and competent people in the training department, the biggest problem is implementation.

In other words, trainees don’t implement the training they’ve received.

“The American Society for Training and Development says that by the time you go back to your job, you’ve lost 90% of what you’ve learned in training.” I found this in the  Wall Street Journal article, “So Much Training, So Little to Show for It.”

The job of the training department is to effect change in the trainees and this doesn’t happen nearly often enough. When trainees don’t implement the training the desired ROI isn’t achieved.

But what if the course never ended?

Suppose a training course had a life after the course? Suppose aspects of it continued — forever?

Here are some possibilities for a never-ending course flow:

It starts with a live training course.

When it ends, the content is put in the Learning Management System (LMS) or somewhere on the company’s Intranet. This could include a video recording (webcam and/or slides) as well as a PDF version for quick scanning through the text.

The LMS includes an online discussion group where attendees can ask — and answer — questions and discuss the content and how they are implementing it, after the live class is over.

The trainer, the Subject Matter Expert (SME), continues to participate by answering questions and providing helpful suggestions.

If the course is a one-time event, after questions peter out, everything can be put in a permanent Knowledge Base. Otherwise, it can just stay forever in the LMS.

The trainer gives the trainees’ managers access to this online version of the course so managers can point their attendees to the content, and so managers know what was taught and can support it.

The SME incorporates the trainees’ comments & questions the next time he or she teaches the course.

I know that some pieces of this concept happen, but I think that it is rarely fully implemented.

About the Author:

Ellen Finkelstein is a PowerPoint MVP who can train you or the presenters in your organization to create high-impact, engaging, professional presentations for training, sales, business, or education. For more information visit

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