How effective knowledge transfer can enable business continuity amid constant change
In today’s knowledge economy, the success of a business is highly dependent on the ability to document, share and maintain the range of knowledge within a workforce, even if that workforce includes multiple staffing changes over time.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the corporate community has experienced extreme changes to staffing and employee engagement. As well as immediate shifts to working from home, 70% of casual workers across Australia are suffering financially, some struggling industries where high volumes of staff have been stood down have called upon remaining staff to take on extra work, sectors like aviation have put thousands of people’s lives and careers on hold, and there has been a spike in new job formats such as job sharing as businesses prepare for the ‘new normal’.
The one of the few certain aspects of the workplace in 2020, is that every business leader will need to show flexibility and agility to remain relevant to their customers and partners, and stay engaged with their employees.
As every organisation goes through unique challenges during the pandemic, getting ahead of these changes by enabling your workforce to effectively share and transfer knowledge will be critical to futureproofing the organisation against further changes.
Empowering staff to deliver maximum value
With many Australians either forced or choosing to change employers during and after the pandemic, alongside a rise in gig economy workers and a growing millennial workforce, businesses need to let go of the idea of the life-long employee. If business leaders instead focused on empowering their employees from day one, knowing that they will sooner or later move onto another role or company, they can effectively futureproof their organisation from disruption.
When onboarding new team members, access to information is critical to making them effective within their first few weeks. Consequently, it is important for business leaders to prioritise efficient information and knowledge sharing between employees without adding to their workload. Once knowledge sharing and documentation becomes a time-consuming task, there are high chances it will be put at the bottom of people’s to-do lists or simply not get done at all. Not only does this lead to poor handover and onboarding processes between new and old employees, but the technology purchased to conduct these processes becomes defunct.
The best way to empower staff to conduct efficient knowledge sharing, is by using end-to-end solutions that require no extra training, are easy-to-use, and can be proven to save them time rather than take time away from more interesting tasks.
Creating a culture of continuous upskilling
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the rate of digital transformation, compressing what would have been achieved in a decade into a few months. These shifts, combined with hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs, is also accelerating the rate at which Australians are looking to upskill to remain relevant as they conduct their work, look for work or prepare for future changes in their careers.
For example, government agencies have had to upskill to deliver and monitor the COVIDSafe app, nurses have had to upskill during the pandemic to be able to use the relevant medical records systems, the banking industry will need to upskill to prepare for a truly cashless society, and the rise of robotics, automation and solar energy are requiring new skills across manufacturing, engineering and construction.
Upskilling looks different in every industry and workplace – it could be learning through an online webinar, learning on the job by shadowing a colleague, or taking a short course. It’s important for businesses to incorporate the right mix of training and upskilling for staff, based on what works for each employee and their roles.
At the very least, it is important to ensure the skills and knowledge pre-existing within businesses is effectively shared and passed between employees. This is the low-hanging fruit for maintaining an efficient and skilled workforce that is enabled to make the most of the tools within the organisation.
As employees learn and build on their skills and as new systems and technologies enter their workplaces, maintaining and sharing that IP will be critical to ensuring further growth and innovation across the business. Being able to quickly build simple how-to documents and update those documents as the systems are upgraded or improved will be key.
Preparing for the future by preparing to scale
While each industry will emerge from the coronavirus pandemic differently, many industries including aviation and retail, will be looking to make a significant volume of hires or re-hires simultaneously.
For new hires, their success and ability to hit the ground running will rely heavily on the training materials and documentation available. For re-hires, the workplace will inevitably change, with new skills, processes and requirements involved in their jobs, including new hygiene standards, safety requirements, and distancing procedures.
It won’t be sustainable for businesses to rely on a one-on-one in-person training process, which may have been acceptable pre-pandemic. With many businesses planning to accelerate activities to make up for lost revenue, knowledge sharing at scale will be critical to getting the business back up and running and keeping it going post-pandemic.
Effectively planning ahead to fill these revenue gaps will require fast adoption of knowledge capture, transfer and management solutions that can be used by anyone within the organisation quickly, and at scale.
To find out more about how knowledge documentation and transfer solutions can help your business withstand current changes in the market and futureproof against upcoming business continuity challenges, reach out to the Sidekick Software team.