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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Knowledge Transfer - A Generational Challenge

As large numbers of baby boomers retire, knowledge transfer becomes critical to an organization's sustainability and competitive edge. In a knowledge economy, firm-specific knowledge is critical to the sustainability, performance and innovation of organizations facing the imminent retirement of large numbers of baby boomers.

According to a new report from The Conference Board, the global research and business membership organization, most companies do not have a plan to manage and transfer knowledge and even fewer factor cross-generational challenges into business strategy.

The key challenge?

  • As the Baby Boom generation of corporate leaders and experts approaches retirement, businesses face the loss of experience and knowledge on an unprecedented scale.
  • Younger workers can't be counted on to fill the void, as they lack the experience that builds deep expertise.

The result?

  • A significant drain of business wisdom that decreases innovation, lowers growth capacity, and reduces efficiency in the organization

The solution?

  • Knowledge transfer methods include formal education and training, interviews, mentoring, apprenticeships, simulations and games, instant messaging, peer assists, communities of practice, job transfer, knowledge elicitation interviews, storytelling, Wikis, Blogs, research papers, and conferences.

BOTTOMLINE: To enable knowledge transfer, your strategy execution system must have a built-in method for recording and storing processes and procedures, document management, innovation exercises, historical activity archiving, and measure management. Without a repeatable process, knowledge transfer is unpredictable at best, and non-existent at worst.

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