When building your organization or business, it’s essential to keep everyone on the same page. To do so, you must take the time to share relevant information with both current and new hires. However, to make sure everyone is on the right page and your company is working efficiently, you need to make sure you are taking the time to invest in a proper knowledge transfer process.
Knowledge transfer is becoming even more important due to the influx of remote work (and remote onboarding.) We wanted to cover this topic thoroughly to help you create a knowledge-sharing process you can easily navigate at work.
What is Knowledge Transfer?
When establishing a working relationship, imparting knowledge to new employees is crucial to ensure that they understand the company’s inner workings. You may also hear this referred to as knowledge sharing.
Knowledge transfer and knowledge sharing are often used interchangeably. Essentially, they refer to the sharing of company information to help keep everyone on the same page and moving in the right direction. While they may seem similar, it’s important to note that they have two completely different definitions:
- Knowledge transfer: Actions/processes in place for sharing/exchanging knowledge between individuals.
- Knowledge sharing: The exchange of knowledge between individuals.
Before you can effectively share company information, you need to establish an effective method for sharing it. Knowledge transfer to new and existing employees is an absolute must if you are looking to grow your company or organization continually.
Why Is Having A Proper Knowledge Transfer Procedure Important For Your Company?
Having a knowledge transfer process ensures that everyone is receiving the same information in the same manner.
Without a proper knowledge transfer procedure, you run the risk of either the wrong information being shared with the wrong people or the incorrect information being passed between employees.
We all want our employees to have the information they need to do their jobs effectively. Creating a process around this ensures that your employees and their learning needs don’t fall through the cracks.
5 Knowledge Transfer Tips for Building Your Knowledge Transfer Process
Your knowledge transfer process ensures that your entire team has access to company information and best practices. These processes keep everyone on the same page about:
- Interactions with customers/clients
- What’s expected as an employee.
- Where to turn to when questions arise, etc.
Not quite sure how to begin building a knowledge transfer process for your organization? Begin with these five tips:
1. Create A Knowledge Transfer Team
Before you can start sharing information with your employees, you need to take the time to create a dedicated knowledge transfer team. This team will be in charge of gathering relevant information and deciding what information needs to be shared. They can also help determine how best to initiate your knowledge transfer process.
This team should include leaders across various departments. Try to invite senior employees who aren’t engaged in leadership positions. These individuals are the ones who already have an understanding of the workings of each department. They should be tasked to be on the outlook for upcoming trends, what needs to be changed in each department, and how to use knowledge effectively.
Senior doesn’t always mean older employees. Don’t be afraid to look for younger employees who have been with your company for a while. Did you know that today’s workforce is composed of five different generations, including:
- Veterans – workers born between 1922-1943
- Baby Boomers – workers born between 1943-1960
- Generation X – workers born between 1960-1980
- Generation Y – workers born between 1980-2000
- Generation Z – workers born between 2000-2015
Many veterans are starting to enter retirement, and the oldest members of Gen. Z are just entering the workforce. It’s essential to understand that communication methods between these groups can and will vary quite a bit. That’s why it’s vital to consider adding skilled members of each generation to your knowledge transfer team to ensure that everyone’s communication needs are met.
2. Decide What Information You Need To Be Sharing And With Who
Once you’ve established who your knowledge transfer team will be, it’s time to start defining what type of information will need to be shared.
For example, your sales team will likely require a manual covering topics such as the sales process and possible scripts to be following. Your finance team will require information regarding the latest financial trends within the industry, your current financial practices, etc. You want your knowledge transfer team to be privy to all the knowledge needs in your organization.
While each department will need specific sets of information, some overlap information will need to be shared amongst everyone in your organization. These policies, such as workplace etiquette, customer relations information, holidays, overtime pay, etc., will probably be in your employee handbook.
3. Hold Regular Scheduled Knowledge Transfer Meetings
One of the best ways to get all this information collected and organized is through holding regularly scheduled knowledge transfer meetings.
During these meetings, you’ll want to make sure you are discussing several different topics, including:
- Current processes
- Recent trends in your industry
- How those trends will impact your organization
- How to address these trends
- How to include these changes into your current knowledge transfer process
You must take the time to record each of these meetings, whether it be via video, audio, or a written transcript. Without proper documentation, you will have no way of tracking your current process, how effective it is, and/or how you can alter it for greater success.
4. Decide How Best To Share Your Knowledge With Staff
Once you’ve established your team and started collecting all the relevant information, it’s time to decide your knowledge transfer delivery process. This is the process in which you’re sharing the information with your staff.
The good news? There are dozens of simple ways to share relevant information with everyone on your staff.
For instance, when it comes to standard company information that is fair game to everyone within the organization, you could create and regularly update a company wiki using a site such as Tettra. In fact, tools like this can even help deliver the right information to certain individuals.
These tools allow you to collect all your digital resources and share them with relevant channels via your chosen management software, such as Google, Microsoft Teams, and Slack. That way, you can collect and update your documents, but you can limit access to them so that only the relevant individuals can read them.
At WorkBright, we have a very active Tettra that all of our employees can contribute to freely. We organize the information by department and partners we work with often at the company. It’s taken time to build up our Tettra process, but it has made everyone at the company much more educated.
Other knowledge transfer delivery methods:
- Write and update a handbook about a knowledge process.
- Create a podcast where you impart knowledge to your team.
- Film videos that take your employees step-by-step through a process your explaining.
- Create a PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation about the topic.
- One-on-one work with colleagues (you can’t automate every bit of learning!)
5. Utilize Your Process During New Hire Onboarding
It’s crucial that you not only utilize your knowledge transfer process to keep your senior staff in the loop. In fact, that they shouldn’t be your primary focus. They should already understand what’s going on in the company and the procedures in place to keep it growing. If you’re making changes to that process, they should know about them.
Your knowledge transfer process will become crucial during your new hire onboarding process. These individuals will need the most information (depending on what you’ll share with new hires). With a properly formatted knowledge transfer process, it will be easy to get your new hires up to speed on any relevant information they may need to get their job accomplished quickly.
Cultivate A Culture Of Knowledge Sharing By Creating A Knowledge Transfer Process
As you build your knowledge transfer process t’s important to remember that these practices do more than bring employees together and help them understand your organization’s inner workings.
Once these processes are established, knowledge transfer can significantly affect your company’s bottom line. These changes help to increase employee productivity/speed and communication efforts between teammates. With everyone working and communicating more efficiently, you’ll start to see an increase in your profits and growth as well.
By cultivating a culture of knowledge sharing through the use of knowledge transfer, you’ll not only see an increase in workplace productivity but in happy customers as well.