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The importance of knowledge preservation during the great reshuffling

Did your best knowledge resource just leave?

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Employee retention strategies during the times of the Great Resignation

After nearly two years of unprecedented upheaval, businesses large and small are struggling to hire and train new talent, as well as to retain, re-skill, and up-skill their existing personnel. In fact, according to the Labor Department, as of March of 2022, around 4.5 million people have quit their jobs.1 In addition, the looming recession has many organizations contemplating or executing staffing cuts.

This “great resignation” or “great reshuffle” has caused much strain for employers, particularly with respect to the institutional knowledge these departing employees possess. This kind of business insight can be vital to daily operations and serves as a guide to making critical business decisions.

As companies grapple with staffing churn, they must also develop strategies for the preservation, protection, and sharing of knowledge that would otherwise be walking out the door.

Mitigate turnover with a collaborative culture

In today’s competitive work environments, there’s often a tendency for workers to “hold on” to their knowledge and skills, usually to the detriment of their teams. Comparatively, more collaborative work environments not only foster stronger relationships among teams but also motivate employees to share their knowledge with one another. This approach encourages employees to take an active role in training and career development activities.

This also establishes a company culture that’s more resilient in the face of turnover. Instead of guarding the information that could be helpful to others, companies can encourage open dialogue and communication that facilitates the sharing of business insight and technical understanding.

In today’s heavily outsourced environment, it is critical that this culture of collaboration extends not only to your corporate employees but also to the partners and vendors you use to deliver products and services.

Technology supports knowledge retention and access

In the past, when an employee resigned, there would typically be an offboarding period before their departure. This allowed them to pass on active projects to others on their team and bring people up to speed on relevant details. Now, with the prevalence of remote work and scenarios that might include multiple employees leaving at the same time, those detailed, one-on-one handovers might not be possible or practical. Reduced notice periods exacerbate this problem, as well.

Many employees are still working from home or remote locations. If they encounter an issue that limits their ability to do their job, like needing permission granted to use a program or access a document, the resolution should be swift. Imagine an organization that does not have clearly defined processes and troubleshooting guidance readily available and easy to access. If clunky, inefficient internal workflows are preventing remote workers from doing their job, that’s a scenario that could lead to staffing churn.

Technology can create a smoother process by giving employees easier access to company information and historical knowledge, including information previously archived and owned by their predecessors. Utilizing digital resources like enterprise data management tools and knowledge portals can streamline the process of documenting and storing important business information. Implementing more efficient enterprise service management (ESM) could be the difference between employees who have what they need to do their jobs, and dissatisfied employees creating more turnover.

ESM is a game changer

ESM will be the difference between companies that are embracing transformation and those left asking, “what the heck happened to our employees and knowledge?” The right unified ESM platform can improve communication and collaboration among teams, help with knowledge retention, and increase visibility across the organization. Innovation in the ESM space will push organizations to change their mindset. This will prompt them to streamline tools and adopt new service management methodologies to enhance the employee experience and retain intellectual property.


Endnotes

  1. "Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary." US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm

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