Managing the Risk of Knowledge Loss Due to Workforce Attrition


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Retaining and leveraging the critical and relevant knowledge of the government workforce - Presented on the 16-Jun-09 SIKM Leaders Community monthly call by Bill Kaplan, Chief Knowledge Officer, Acquisition Solutions

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Managing the Risk of Knowledge Loss Due to Workforce Attrition

  1. 1. Managing the Risk of Knowledge Loss Due to Workforce Att iti D t W kf Attrition Retaining and Leveraging the Critical and Relevant Knowledge of the Government Workforce SIKM 16 June 2009 Bill Kaplan Chief Knowledge Officer Acquisition Solutions
  2. 2. Creating a Common Understanding About Knowledge Data Information Knowledge “United flight 0010 “That flight is always leaves LaGuardia at 1345 l L G di t delayed and often d l d d ft “1345UA0010 32A” from gate 32A cancelled” Relationships and trust are required for knowledge transfer and re-use
  3. 3. One View of Knowledge in an Organization 2009© Acquisition Solutions
  4. 4. Value Of Transferring “Knowledge” And Effective Practices Quickly access and build on experience & New ideas to fuel innovation Missions & Services Learn, decide & adapt faster than L d id d t f t th Speed & Agility the “speed of change” Accelerate the transfer and use Step-Change in Performance of existing know-how
  5. 5. Knowledge Enabled, High Performing Organization 2009© Acquisition Solutions
  6. 6. Two Basic Principles for KM Success • Technology and information management alone cannot be relied upon for success – Knowledge sharing is more about people and what they know than technology – Technology and tools cannot in and of themselves provide effective “context of use” and add this value • Knowledge capture and knowledge reuse must work within: – the context of workflow—“part of the way people do business” – the context of organizational culture culture. 2009© Acquisition Solutions
  7. 7. Definitions • Attrition: Change in the numbers, skills, ands competencies in the workforce due to retirement, promotion, transfer, promotion transfer career change of leadership and workforce • Critical Knowledge: Knowledge that is fundamental to the business or operational processes of the organization that supports mission delivery and mission success 2009© Acquisition Solutions
  8. 8. Why Is Knowledge Loss A Key Workforce Challenge We Are Facing? Ch ll W A F i ? • Loss of knowledge -- and people with the knowledge -- between agencies and those leaving government is increasing • L Leveraging accumulated organizational k i l t d i ti l knowledge d i l d drives i tit ti institutional l memory (experience, judgment, and “know-how”) • Impacts government's ability to deliver value to the people (mission) – Productivity, reduced cycle time, and errors that could be avoided with effective capture and retention policies and practices • Knowledge loss impacts organizational continuity and agility. – C ti it --operate effectively in the face of employee turnover, other work Continuity t ff ti l i th f f l t th k disruptions, and emergencies – Agility -- organization’s ability to address the future and to adapt effectively to change. change 2009© Acquisition Solutions
  9. 9. Why Is Knowledge Loss A Key Workforce Challenge We Are Facing? • Approaches to retaining critical knowledge and the timing of these retention activities across the government have been addressed g in many ways, some more-or-less effective than others. • No integrated process or framework to capture and reuse the workforce’s relevant information, experience, and insight on a consistent and disciplined basis • Complicating factors: (1) increasing size and complexity of acquisition workload (2) decline in number of professionals in acquisition workforce • Challenge at the leadership level and at the workforce level – it’s multi- generational and still not priority for most organizations 2009© Acquisition Solutions 9
  10. 10. People Have Always Retired Or Left With Their Knowledge What’s different about this now and why should we care? • We have a “workforce gap” – knowledge of the workforce is inversely proportional to the age of the workforce • There is a real issue when there is not a ready and continuous stream of knowledgeable replacements with the critical skills to fill the gaps • Can't just hire more people and then send them to training • Example Acquisition Workforce: – The average age of the acquisition profession according to a recent NCMA survey is 45 years old – There is competition for the remaining scarce resources among all p g g agencies and the private sector – We need a deliberate means for learning, capture and transfer of the “experience” of acquisition – the “know how” and “know why” of acquisition 2009© Acquisition Solutions 10
  11. 11. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1=Poor to 10=Excellent), how would you rate your organization’s performance to reduce the loss of critical knowledge? 2009© Acquisition Solutions 11
  12. 12. What are your organizations doing to address these workforce challenges? 2009© Acquisition Solutions 12
  13. 13. Some Basics to Set the Stage for Success In Addressing This Challenge • Understand there is long term value in capturing and reusing k i knowledge and h l d d how and where it can b applied d h be li d – it’s about performance! • Must be a desire to make this part of the way you operate -- need a place to start where it will have a significant impact on performance • Focus must be on the people and the processes necessary to move knowledge across the workforce -- it’s about changing behavior not the technology!! 2009© Acquisition Solutions 13
  14. 14. Some Basics to Set the Stage for Success In Addressing This Challenge • Recognize that it is a long term commitment to maintain and sustain a knowledge enabled organization • Understand the multi-generational nature of the federal workforce • Must create awareness by articulating and communicating the knowledge loss problem as a “burning platform” 2009© Acquisition Solutions 14
  15. 15. Setting Up for Success In Reducing Knowledge Loss • Know you can’t capture everything that everyone can t knows, nor would you want to do this • Decide what knowledge is critical to the organization or is necessary to improve all aspects of your organization’s performance organization s • Start small and engineer for success so p p can see it’s g people doable • T h l Technology cannot do thi alone because it can’t get what’s i t d this l b ’t t h t’ in your head into someone else’s 2009© Acquisition Solutions 15
  16. 16. Setting Up for Success In Reducing Knowledge Loss • Understand that beginning is the easy part – maintaining and sustaining the effort over time g g and continuously demonstrating value is the really hard part • Support and encourage a culture that values knowledge sharing through collaboration • Reflect on the alternative of not doing anything • Get some professional help when you need it to help tackle this challenge g 2009© Acquisition Solutions 16
  17. 17. • What are some of the tools and techniques your organizations are using for capturing and reusing knowledge? • How well are they working? 2009© Acquisition Solutions 17
  18. 18. What You Can Do Right Now To Be Successful In Reducing Knowledge Loss • Recognize that it’s never too late to start addressing this challenge and its associated risks (risks might be acceptance, not having a sharing culture, view that it’s extra work) • Recognize that the concept of knowledge capture begins at the beginning of one’s entry into the workforce, not when they are leaving the workforce!! • Evaluate how you currently capture what you know and how you reuse it and leverage what good things you already are doing 2009© Acquisition Solutions 18
  19. 19. What You Can Do Right Now To Be Successful In Reducing Knowledge Loss • Pick a place to start – at the leadership level or at the workforce level – and look for the “early adapters” in y p your organization to begin to move your efforts forward • Then pick a pilot project to demonstrate the value of Then, these efforts and the investment in time and resources • Think about how you will (1) measure or value the outcome of your efforts to demonstrate success and (2) convince anyone that not doing this is a risky alternative 2009© Acquisition Solutions 19
  20. 20. What You Can Do Right Now To Be Successful In Reducing Knowledge Loss • Find ways to maintain a dialogue with those who “know” who have left the workforce know • Create a common approach for knowledge capture and reuse focused on collaborative behavior—it does behavior it at its core require cultural change – it is not easy • Create intern and mentorship programs for the next generation workforce and leadership to ensure relevant knowledge gets transferred • Recognize that this a long term effort that is not just an initiative for this Fiscal Year –it is a fundamental change in how you work 2009© Acquisition Solutions 20
  21. 21. Some Proven KM Tools And Techniques You Can Use Without An Established Knowledge Framework • Mentoring and internships • “Communities of Practice” can create an ability for the workforce to share what they know across boundaries enabled by existing technology • Learning Before, Learning During, Learning After • Knowledge Repositories (Knowledge Assets) to store the “know how and know why” of processes or methods k h ” f th d • Leadership transition workshops Long Term Success depends on creating a common approach for knowledge capture and reuse focused on collaborative behavior —it does at its core require cultural change – and it is not easy 2009© Acquisition Solutions 21
  22. 22. Government Agency Example 2009© Acquisition Solutions
  23. 23. What questions should we be asking? 2009© Acquisition Solutions 23
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