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Tips to Guide Informal Knowledge Transfer

More is needed in talent management than simply attracting, developing, and keeping gifted people. You, as a manager, are also responsible for ensuring that experienced workers transfer the knowledge they have gained to their successors.

Think about what you do to encourage the transfer of specialized knowledge in your organization. In his book The Manager’s Guide to Maximizing Employee Potential, William J. Rothwell lists these questions to identify critical actions you should be taking.

  • How much documentation exists in your department, division, or work unit about work methods and procedures?
  • How much documentation exists in your department, division, or work unit about tools and techniques used by employees who possess specialized skills and responsibilities?
  • How often does your department, division, or work unit plan for retiring employees to mentor replacements before they leave the organization?
  • How often are successors permitted to “shadow” a departing worker with specialized knowledge?
  • How often does your organization hire or place on contract workers who possess hard-to-replace knowledge?
  • How often does your organization encourage videotaping or tape recording of special meetings or other events of importance so that they may be viewed by future workers?
  • What special communication approaches, if any, does your organization use to encourage transfer of knowledge?