Knowledge Retention

One significant issue any company owner is facing is the growth and retention of knowledge within the organisation. Growing and retaining knowledge is not an easy task. Mainly due to the fast pace of technology development, new standards and processes, decreasing fees and increasing salary expectations from specialist knowledge roles and functions.

For a director, the combination of limited time to learn about service solutions and strategize to make the right decisions on how to grow and learn about the new technologies, standards and processes. It is very easy to make decisions by “box-ticking” so to speak, when selecting a product or service.

Chances are that the products and services are not tailored to meet the goals in the organisation’s strategy. Or worse, the organisation does not have a strategy and have not considered that there are differences in quality between different service providers. i.e. the assumption is that “a training provider is a training provider”.

The first step any organisation needs to take, to ensure that knowledge is growing and retained adequately. Is to know what type of knowledge that is required and why.

Why is this important? I illustrate by using a common scenario.

If an organisation needs a project team to learn Revit. The “box-ticking” approach is often to buy a 1 -5-day training course on Revit at a premium price. Usually with the rationale that a well-known service provider that can charge premium rates and have the training course ready to go (off-the-shelf) would be a safe option. And. . .  “Revit is Revit”, so the team should learn to use Revit over 1-5 days.

Does this sound familiar?

Commonly what the organisations fail to recognize is that the knowledge is often not retained by the team members in these type of training sessions. An overload of information about the buttons and functions in the software often imprint a negative experience as there is no insight to practical application for all the functions covered.

After 1-5 days training the managerial expectations are that the team will be familiar with, and be able to use, the software. The team struggle to deliver as the “premium” training method was in-effective for the real world.

The project team have spent 1-5 days away from the project and in the end the organisation has lost both time, money and not gained any real knowledge in the organisation. Since the team struggle to deliver the Revit project to the organisation’s standard, resentment build between the organisation and the project team members and eventually the team members add the “Revit training” to the CV and look for a new job with a higher salary expectation.

It is worth pointing out here that the training providers usually deliver exactly what they advertised, so the fault does not rest with them. It is the customer who need to ensure they buy a service that meet their needs. Back to the original issue raised with directors’ available time etc.

To ensure that the service bought meet the knowledge development needs…… let’ s go back to The first step.

If time is limited within the organisation, to learn about services and technology, in order to make an educated decision on what training is required. You should contact a service provider who offer free consultation to understand the organisation’s needs.

If the service provider truly has your best interest at heart, they will help formulate a strategy demonstrating how learning outcome will be achieved and how this training will cater to your individual challenges. Ideally, knowledge retention should be included in the strategy.

Keep in mind that your team has role-based knowledge needs and those should be highlighted in the strategy. Be thorough in what you want and remember if you don’ t ask, you don’ t get. The service provider should also highlight how BIM Level 2 and ISO19650 requirements are met in relation to the training.

When you have received a proposal that meets the organisational needs Go over the proposal and the fee to make sure you are happy. In this way there will be no additional cost later.

Second Step. Follow the plan and take the advice from the service provider. Since the service provider have listened to, created a strategy that is specific to your needs and you have agreed to. It is safe to say that the service provider does have your best interest in mind.  So, commit to the growth and knowledge retention goals the organisation and the service provider have planned for.

That’s it, two simple steps that will help your organisation to grow and retain knowledge in this fast-paced technology jungle. Know what you need and stick to the plan. Sounds simple, right?

Finally, if you want to reduce the risk of losing time and money, be aware of the following.

Employing expensive “experts” does not guarantee results. By default, they must justify and protect their own interest over those of the organisation. They do this using a method called “Knowledge retention”. Knowledge retention creates a dependability on the individual and involves not being open and sharing details about the development, how to maintain and service the systems etc. If this individual leaves the organisation, usually due to lack of pay rise and higher salary offered elsewhere. The organisation loses the knowledge they have invested heavily in. Employing a new expert will usually not resolve the issue, it will repeat the cause of the issue.

You can avoid this by spreading the required knowledge across the organisation and by committing to a steady growth (i.e. the strategy). This will allow the organisation to grow as a whole and allow you to cope with minor inconveniences when staff decide to move on. The salaries don’t have to be inflated to compete for individuals with expert knowledge. Instead money can be invested where it can help the organisation grow in other areas.

 

 

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