In the January issue of T&D magazine, senior associate editor Michael Laff reports that over 900 companies surveyed by Boston-based Novations Group have no method for transferring the knowledge of retiring baby boomers to other workers. The survey was completed by 2,046 human resources and training executives and revealed that the majority of companies seem to have little concern for gathering the intellectual capital of retiring employees before they take a hike out the door to retirement, or more often, to another career.
Is this a problem? Will a lack of attention to "knowledge transfer" become an issue when an operations executive wakes up and realizes that critical client or process information just left for a ski trip in Colorado or started a three week cruise in Russia? While it is easy to find and hire bright minds and new talent, can a person's brilliance compensate for the fact he or she has not traversed the often treacherous waters of client relationships and corporate culture idiosyncrasies?
Long-term success is enhanced by the ability to anticipate and plan for problems. Perhaps the loss of critical information and not knowing the history of a client relationship is a bigger problem than many organizations realize--or it's a problem they'll discover in ways they could easily avoid.
Critical thinking involves using information to assess a situation and plan a course of action. According to Novations Group, a majority of companies need to give critical thought to how they manage one of their greatest assets--the knowledge of the people making their organizations successful.