Knowledge transfer: what it is and how to do it

by Laura Hanrahan

Knowledge transfer

Without the right processes in place, you can lose valuable organizational knowledge. Here’s how to understand knowledge transfer – and how to do it effectively.

What is knowledge transfer?

Knowledge transfer is how you go about sharing or distributing knowledge with a view to solving problems or doing things. And when it comes to business, it's how you spread valuable company information from one area to another. How that information is organized. How people find it. How you can make information accessible and relevant, and how you get it to the right people at the right time.

Keeping that organizational knowledge flowing through your company is a continuous process. Here are some hacks to help you keep knowledge transfer working throughout the employment cycle.

When people join

Onboarding. Passing on company knowledge is a vital part of the induction process. Each member of the team should also spend time with the new starter, explaining and demonstrating what they do, even if they won’t be working directly with them.

Introduce your new starter to different departments and arrange for them to spend time there. That way, the person can get a rounded idea of what goes on in your organization.

Technology can help. Organizations of all sizes use features like Workplace Profiles in Workplace to connect employees new and old. This gives everyone in your organization access to personalized profiles so they can develop stronger connections between colleagues.

Knowledge transfer: Workplace profiles

Transfer Knowledge with Workplace Profiles

They’ll also be able to celebrate their colleagues and teammates and call out birthdays and work anniversaries. It’s a quick way to create stronger personal and professional networks in your business.

Combined with tools like Org Chart – which reduces the time people spend looking for information so they can spend more time getting things done – gives new starters a boost when they’re getting up to speed.

Knowledge transfer: Org Chart

Transfer Knowledge with Org Chart

Mentoring. Assigning a mentor to each new employee is another way of helping to pass on knowledge. You can do this informally – with the new person shadowing someone senior – or formally as part of a mentoring scheme.

Using the Cortado integration with Workplace, for example, makes it simple to set up a mentoring network.

When people are working for you

Training and development. Having an effective program of training and development doesn’t just help you recruit and retain staff – it also helps knowledge flow through your organization.

Make use of in-house expertise by encouraging senior staff to train juniors, and use outside experts to bring new knowledge and expertise into the company via training.

Sharing learnings. Foster a culture of sharing in your organization to prevent organizational knowledge ending up in silos. Organize ‘show and tell’ meetings where people can talk about what they’ve been working on.

Knowledge transfer: Sharing learnings

Transfer Knowledge with Groups

Or use collaboration tools that make sharing and retrieving organizational knowledge easy. Workplace Groups, for example, are shared spaces for individuals and teams to share documents, collaborate on files and store project documents.

Documentation. People can’t share organizational knowledge if it lives in someone’s head. You should consider some form of knowledge management system to ensure people can document processes, methods, and learnings – and make them accessible to the people who need them.

When people leave

Exit processes. One of the riskiest times for knowledge escaping your organization is when someone leaves. Set up a formal process to help people share the important information.

And don’t forget, your collaboration platform can act as the secure repository for this knowledge for as long as you need it. So new members of the team can benefit from your hard earned organizational knowledge straight away.

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