Managing Knowledge Across the Employee Lifecycle: Training in the New Millennium

 group training at computer

In a recent study Raytheon Professional Services conducted with Training Industry, it was determined that only 38 percent of organizations are effective at capturing the key knowledge of employees and 48 percent are effective at transferring that knowledge. This is particularly important to address as boomers retire, potentially taking their expertise with them, and millennials are hired. This continually transitioning workforce makes managing knowledge even more critical.

So how can organizations navigate today’s changing labor market while ensuring that a knowledge vacuum isn’t created in the process? The answer is found through the alignment of all phases of the employee lifecycle. This ensures job-related knowledge and skills are perpetuated throughout the role instead of with one particular person.

I will explain this concept in a webinar conducted with Training Industry on the topic of managing knowledge across the employee lifecycle. Here are a few key takeaways for your consideration.

The employee lifecycle consists of:

Employee LifecycleOur study showed that effectiveness in one area is highly related to effectiveness in all other areas. Additionally, beyond the pre-employment development stage, only 29 percent of organizations are effective in all three areas.

Here’s how can you ensure each step is effective at your organization.

Pre-Employment: the process of preparing future employees with information about the relevant competencies and skills required of a specific job and/or about your organization’s practices

Best practices include:

  • Offering internships and other forms of pre-employment training
  • Information at the pre-employment stage to outline roles, responsibilities, and risks
  • Focusing on setting up potential employees for quick assimilation into their roles
  • Providing candidates with realistic job previews

In our research, no single practice for pre-employment was endorsed significantly more than others —effective pre-employment involves a constellation of practices.

Onboarding: the process that new employees acquire the skills, knowledge and behaviors to become effective contributors to an organization.

Best practices include:

  • Developing a formal onboarding framework
  • Regularly evaluating effectiveness of programs
  • Ensuring consistency in implementing ongoing onboarding and training programs
  • Involving leadership before, during and after the onboarding program

Effective onboarding is incredibly important as high-risk scenarios on the job, without proper training, can result in danger to employees, co-workers, and customers.

Knowledge Capture: the process that an individual’s technical knowledge is obtained and recorded so it can be shared to mitigate organizational knowledge loss.

Best practices include:

  • Conducting exit interviews
  • Documenting job roles and processes
  • Encouraging mentoring, cross training, knowledge sharing, and social collaboration

Ineffective knowledge capture presents lost opportunities in many companies’ lifecycles.

Knowledge Transfer: the process through which experienced employees share or distribute their knowledge, skills, and behaviors to the employees who replace them.

Best practices include:

  • Facilitating informal learning like P2P/team training or mentor networks
  • Delivering information in a variety of methods to enhance ease of use and comprehension
  • Ensuring leadership support and involvement
  • Developing a formal knowledge transfer strategy
  • Constantly monitoring and updating the company knowledge repository

Case in point, 41 percent of ineffective organizations did not endorse any knowledge transfer best practices, according to our study.

So now that you are set up for success and have implemented these best practices, it’s important to measure the lifecycle effectiveness by assessing participant reactions, learning assessments, on-the-job behavior and, most importantly, business impact. Developing a strong employee lifecycle will not only ensure your workers perform better on the job, but your company will, as well.

Is your organization set up for success? How do you manage knowledge across the employee lifecycle?