Knowledge Management Institute

Creating a Knowledge Continuity Plan

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Creating a Knowledge Continuity Plan

May 28, 2013  

Previously, we discussed the importance of retaining and transferring critical knowledge within an organization, particularly as the next generation of workers fills in roles left due to retirement or attrition.   As we noted, the first step in building a knowledge management program suited to the needs of your organization is to make a convincing case to management.  When this is achieved, a few more steps should take place in order to ensure success.

Choose a Leader

Once management buy-in has been established, it is important to choose a leader for the program. This leader will be in charge of developing and implementing knowledge management practices within the organization. This leader will first need to discern the true risk of losing tacit knowledge, and then will put practices in place to prevent the loss of this critical knowledge.

Assess the Risks
One effective way of assessing the risks associated with the departure of particular individuals is to do employee risk assessments. These assessments identify and categorize the level of knowledge that an individual might have. This assessment helps to quantify the amount of risk per individual, and poses several important questions, such as:

  • How critical is the information which they might have?
  • What is the timing of departure?
  • What is your current backfill strength?

Enlist Management
Once these risk assessments have been administered, and the amount of risk per individual has been identified, it is important to discuss priorities with management, identifying areas of highest risk within the organization. In order to avoid losing critical knowledge, it is important to not wait until an individual is ready to leave to begin documenting what they know.

Take Action

After speaking with management concerning their highest risks, an action plan is formed for each individual whose role and potential knowledge loss is identified as high risk. This includes how to obtain, document, and share the knowledge which they have. It is important to do so in a timely manner, setting specific, attainable goals for the retaining and transferring of their knowledge.

Once these goals have been set, it is important to monitor the progress of those in the program over time. It is also important to provide progress reports to key personnel who are supporting the knowledge management efforts within the organization.

KM Institute’s Knowledge Transfer Training

John Hovell, KM Institute adjunct instructor, specializes in the field of knowledge transfer or “knowledge continuity.”  John teaches a module on this subject at our Washington, DC-based Certified Knowledge Manager workshops several times per year.  He is currently expanding the subject matter to encompass a two-three day specialty course within the next several months.  Contact us for further details.

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