Learning how to transfer knowledge in the age of COVID-19 at KMWorld Connect 2020

COVID-19 is placing intellectual capital (IC) at risk at companies across industries and geographies as they face unanticipated workforce reductions.

This rapid workforce shift is leaving little or no time for knowledge transfer, especially critical knowledge that gives a company its competitive edge.

Adriaan Jooste, chief knowledge officer, Deloitte Advisory, discussed how to mitigate loss by implementing rapid knowledge transfer processes, during his KMWorld Connect 2020 presentation “Critical Knowledge Transfer in the Wake of COVID-19: Mitigating IC Loss.”

KMWorld Connect, November 16-19, and its co-located events, covers future-focused strategies, technologies, and tools to help organizations transform for positive outcomes

COVID-19 is impacting knowledge and intellectual capital in so many ways. Knowledge is being pushed out the door, he explained. Organizations are losing the boundary spanners and connectors they need right now.

“Our virtual world is really messing with knowledge sharing,” Jooste said.

Because organizations had to step up and collaborate there is a virtual collaboration and real-world overload. There is a learning curve and distractions that arise from working remotely.

The societal impacts are staggering with education systems struggling, he said, along with nutrition, mental health, physical health, and economic challenges.

The challenge to “reopening” business safely includes changing the future of work with hybrid models or permanent telecommuting.

Jooste introduced the concept of the Employee Knowledge Capture and Transfer Lifecycle program. The program is designed to capitalize on the capture and transfer of critical knowledge within essential roles and improve opportunities for learning and collaboration that can result in the creation of thought leadership and new or refined innovations, while mitigating the loss of valuable IC.

“There is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Jooste said.

Before the knowledge leaves the organization through retirement or resignation to another company, employees can mentor each other to share knowledge. Identifying the knowledge that needs to be transferred and make sure to have these conversations, he explained.

After the knowledge has left, organizations can refine tasks and subsequently rotate those tasks to employees to ensure people have taken in that knowledge.

“We believe that you do have requirements and expectations but you also have to add these things to employee training in the future,” Jooste said.

The knowledge capture/transfer lifecycle can take place at the project, role, or organization/career level, he explained.

This lifecycle includes:

  • Rapid on-boarding
  • Community engagement
  • Speed to performance
  • Knowledge harvesting, curation, and sharing
  • Off-boarding

“Knowledge management is really about people,” Jooste said. “Knowledge management helps people to be successful in an efficient way through methods, tools, and technologies.”

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