Harnessing the Age of Reflection


What is your organization doing to retain its knowledge?  With so many employees nearing retirement you may be missing the opportunity to harness invaluable information.

Your long-term employees have the advantage of experience that is specific to your work environment.  Many of them have developed strong relationships and are respected by younger employees. This trust extends to their expertise that will be readily accepted by newer employees.

Start by identifying  the knowledge that you need to capture.

Take this knowledge  from your experienced employees and have them learn some basic facilitation and mentoring techniques and you have developed a vehicle to share knowledge within.

As employees approach the age of reflection some choose to retire and take on new challenges.  But others would jump at the chance to give back what they have mastered over many years.  Many would love the opportunity to shift from full-time to part-time or contract employment.  More and more people are still engaged in some sort of work into their late seventies.

Unfortunately most organizations have not developed a career track for this type of “knowledge capture”.  They haven’t developed a mechanism to identify potential  trainers.  Those that have often don’t provide the necessary training and development for this new role.

Just think of what you lose when these  employees  leave  with  their expertise, and you haven’t harnessed it. This includes broader  industry knowledge along with your organizations operating procedures, systems and equipment familiarity.  And don’t forget all the shortcuts and “better ways of doing things” that they utilize on a daily basis but may never have shared.

To develop organizational knowledge, employers should formalize a plan that includes these four elements:

  1. Transform your long-term champions into Trainers and Mentors as an option to retirement
  2. Develop a  formal collaborative mentorship program and learning environment
  3. Document foundational knowledge
  4. Develop a knowledge transfer program and integrate it into your performance management plan for each employee.

Long-term employees approaching the age of reflection are often eager to share what they have mastered throughout a long and successful career.  Harnessing it is up to your organization!

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