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Boosting knowledge worker engagement through mentoring

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Crafting a knowledge transfer mentoring program

Employee engagement surveys are becoming mainstream. Does your organization have one? If so, make sure your organization clearly demonstrates that the feedback from the survey is actually used, and that the survey questions are framed in ways that can deliver the best insights into how engagement levels can be raised through a knowledge transfer mentoring program.

You could ask simple, straightforward questions. What’s holding you back? What are your biggest sources of frustration? Are people reluctant to share, and if so, why? Is there a lack of communication? Do you feel isolated or left out? Do you feel you never really know what’s going on? Do you have difficulty seeing where you fit into the big picture?

As a KMer, you should be able to craft a knowledge transfer mentoring program which directly addresses major pain points identified in the survey. If you drill down deep enough, almost every root cause of disengagement can be traced to one or more impediments to the free flow of knowledge. Remove these barriers and watch the knowledge start to flow and engagement levels rise.

Relentlessly cultivate a safe environment where everyone can speak freely without fear of retribution. Even one small “leak” or violation of trust, and the entire organization will slide ever more deeply into disengagement as word spreads that people in that organization can’t be trusted.

Finally, encourage the formation of mentoring relationships with people of different racial, ethnic, cultural, and economic backgrounds. You’ll quickly discover there’s real strength in diversity.

Be the change

Help your organization rise to the top 15% or higher by having a fully engaged workforce in which everyone gains satisfaction and fulfillment by passing on what they’ve learned, growing knowledge both individually and organizationally. Of course, not everyone in your organization will embrace the idea. They’ll complain loudly about how they’re overworked and give you endless excuses as to why systematic knowledge transfer “will never happen here.”

Be just as determined to make it happen as they are determined not to. Take the lead and set an example by being both a model mentor and mentee. Celebrate small wins. Collect success stories, especially ones that showcase the freedom that comes with “escape from day jail.”

Then show what happens when you don’t change, when that 25% turnover keeps repeating every 2 years. There are plenty of recent bankruptcies you can use as examples.

And if you’re one of the few organizations that already has a highly engaged workforce, why not take it to the next level? Either way, you’ll be helping to build a greater sense of fulfillment and satisfaction among your fellow knowledge workers. Not to mention the increased capacity for coming up with an abundance of new ideas and breakthroughs!

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