Knowledge capture and knowledge transfer are well defined in the early stages of life. We learn what our parents teach us, then we move into a formal knowledge transfer arrangement called school. Upon adulthood, many of us learn from books, attend lectures, ask questions of peers and sit through seminars. Once we are well established, the best and brightest continue to read trade journals about their profession. Some write about the topic, sharing lessons learned or talking about their latest innovations.
• Document your work processes. What is the process for adding a new user? What ten forms does a new hire need to fill out? What are the access control limits associated with each job role? You may discover that this information resides in a single person’s mind, despite its criticality to the business. Documenting how work is done will eventually accelerating the training of others while discovering the tips and tricks used by the subject matter experts today to do these tasks.
• Ask those who are innovating to write about their experiences. What led to the development of these great ideas? What lessons have they learned from both their successes and their failures? Don't rely on the few whose egos drive them to write articles and share knowledge to teach everyone else.
• Encourage employees to read trade journals. You may achieve this by letting it be done on company time.
• Have employees give seminars to other employees to formally teach what they are regularly asked.
• Let employees one to two years into the job review training materials. These are the individuals most familiar with the gaps in existing knowledge transfer methods, and they can point out what else needs to be added.
• Wikis are a way to capture knowledge and crystallize it. However, trying to scroll through a long wiki to put together the results of proposed solutions is time consuming. When a new solution is found, document it formally. And be careful about letting too many wikis get created, since this makes it hard to find information within wikis.
• Document time saving tips, process improvement ideas and other suggestions to improve the workplace. Even if they are not implemented at the time they were suggested, the information could save others time and money later.
• Pay your retirees to spend a few hours a week for the first year after they've left to visit the company's internal collaboration websites. Have them review questions and answer them, or talk about what they did to solve similar problems.
• Utilize the online solution databases and knowledge bases of your software vendors. Ensure that your IT department has access to the troubleshooting and problem solving solution databases of the software vendors who supply your software.
• Search for free, reliable online training for software your team uses.
• Always ask for training – either on-site or online – when you negotiate a software license or install new software packages.
• Ask employees to set up a book swap or group library with books they own and would recommend that others read.
• Give employees one paid magazine subscription a year as a low cost company perk. Request that the read magazines get circulated to other employees when the recipient is done.
• If an employee has a professional organizational membership paid for by the company, ask them if they can share knowledge learned through that organization’s training or publications with the rest of the team.