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Must have vs. nice to have

Recently I was talking with a manager from a local Singaporean company about the way Simple + Smart could help them with their Transfer of Knowledge plan. During our conversation the manager asked me a very interesting question: ‘Is a Transfer of Knowledge plan something that a company absolutely must have? Or is it really one of those ‘nice to have’ things?’

Some companies hold the opinion that there is no point in investing in a Transfer of Knowledge plan when, thus far, they have functioned pretty well without one. The old ‘if it ain’t broke’ theory. This seems to be a particularly common thought process at this particular point in economic history. Of course smart companies are realising that this is exactly the time when you most need to look at investing in change, and developing robust fundamentals in your organisational structure. Not only to be a survivor at the end of all this turmoil, but also to differentiate in today’s competitive global market.

To decide whether a Transfer of Knowledge plan is just a ‘nice to have’, or something that is imperative to the success of your business, I suggest that you do an internal review to discover how comfortable the staff is with current handover processes, with existing documentation, and how they access company specific information. Then look at staff turnover and exit interview information, if such exists, to determine why people are leaving. This information should provide you with some insight to how your current processes are affecting the on-going performance and job satisfaction of key individuals within your organisation.

Recently there seem to be a lot of articles relating to the reasons behind today’s high attrition, especially with Generation Y staff. In one such article (see below link) they mention studies that had found that today’s younger workers have absolutely no intention of sticking around if they don’t feel like they’re learning, growing, and being valued in their job. A consultant who researched years worth of exit interviews found that a loss of training opportunities, and a lack of mentors in the workplace, were two of the biggest reasons why young workers left. Basically this can translate to: a lack of a strong Transfer of Knowledge plan could be leading directly to talented staff leaving your organisation. Suddenly the ‘nice to have’ is taking on a more significant role, you could even say that it is a ‘must have’ to ensure continuity, and overall success.

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