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Retaining knowledge in the Great Resignation

One phrase that has entered the business lexicon over the past year is the “Great Resignation”. Whether it strikes fear in your heart or not very much depends on your experience of late. But if there’s one thing that can be agreed on, it’s the impact that it’s had on businesses: 47.7 million left their jobs in 2021, with 44% of workers looking for a new role.

Because of this, retaining knowledge is more important than ever. Knowledge management, combined with process automation, can foster a culture where knowledge is shared and accessible to all. As more information is stored digitally, and organizations move away from paper-based processes, there is an opportunity to optimize digital knowledge management through process automation.

There’s more than one way to stay ahead of the Great Resignation.

What is knowledge management?

Think of knowledge management (KM) as the process of identifying, organizing, and storing information in your organization. You’ll no doubt already have some form of a knowledge management system (KMS) too, a centralized knowledge base that effectively enables you to access information easily. This cuts down time in seeking out relevant information so you can complete priority tasks without delay.

Types of knowledge

There are three types of knowledge to be aware of:

  • Tacit knowledge – Acquired through experience, and intuitively understood. It can be challenging to articulate and codify, so the transfer process from person to person can be difficult. Examples include language, facial recognition, or leadership skills.
  • Implicit knowledge – Similar to tacit knowledge but easier to codify and not as nuanced. Implicit information is yet to be documented and tends to exist within processes. You can think of it as “know-how” knowledge that’s in people’s heads. This would be pivotal to retain.
  • Explicit knowledge – This is the knowledge that will be most well-known and needs to be retained. It’s the information that is captured in documents like manuals, reports, guides, databases, white papers, and case studies. This knowledge is easy to share across teams and can be essential when facilitating knowledge transfer to new employees.

Tools for knowledge management

Businesses also use a variety of tools to store knowledge. Think of documents, presentations, spreadsheets, clouds, videos, company intranets (SharePoint), and emails. Whether it’s a sales strategy PowerPoint presentation or a note of login details for MailChimp and other platforms, you’re using more tools to store information than you realize.

Three areas where automation can bridge the gap in knowledge transfer

The one thing that can make knowledge retainment more efficient is automation. Think of all the times you’ve misplaced an email with passwords or lost your monthly report. Wouldn’t it be great if that never had to happen again? If processes could happen automatically?

Getting knowledge from one person to another looks very different depending on the organization, and the knowledge that needs to be passed on. Technical skills, long term strategies — all of this goes up in the air when an employee leaves without passing knowledge on.

There are many processes that can enable knowledge retention. These can be made more efficient with an automation tool streamlining the process. Let’s take a look at how you can automate knowledge retention to beat back the Great Resignation:

  1. Onboarding and offboarding

If knowledge transfer happens anywhere, it’s during these processes. Onboarding and offboarding are both entwined with each other. One is the passing on of knowledge; the other is the receiving of knowledge. Handovers, documents, presentations, videos; all of these are used to convey knowledge from one person to another.

Automation can turbocharge onboarding and offboarding processes. Onboarding new talent carries with it many tedious and repetitive tasks. Through automation, you can eliminate repetitive tasks and digitize paper-based processes so that you can focus on top priorities.

Automated workflows, digital forms and more play a part in making this happen. But automated workflows can also be set up so that vital documents like contracts, personal information, and more are always stored safely and securely — transferring and retaining knowledge without the need to worry.

Similar automated processes can work for offboarding too. When an employee leaves, you want to capture any important information before departure. Digital forms and automated workflows can streamline this procedure.

  1. Breaking down silos

Passing on knowledge cannot be done in silos. The experts and knowledge holders need to record, capture and collect the knowledge for their respective departments or pass it on.

Digital forms and document generation make the passing on of knowledge between departments more efficient. At the end of the day, connecting everyone under one branch of shared knowledge keeps the wheels turning smoothly.

A full audit of your knowledge retention processes is also important in breaking down silos. What is working and what isn’t? Where are the gaps that knowledge falls through?  Process discovery and process mapping can help departments answer those questions.

  1. Capturing and storing knowledge

A knowledge base keeps information in one place so employees across all departments can access it. Gone are the days when files are stored on personal accounts, and the file gets corrupted or vanishes.

But how can this storing of information be made more efficient via automation? An important part is automating the knowledge capture. It’s not just about making it easy to share knowledge but about doing it automatically, so people don’t even have to do it at all.

For example, you can automate workflows so that email attachments (whether related to a certain project, contain certain words, etc.) are flagged as important. This can then start off the workflow where they are automatically stored and backed up, so information is not locked in people’s inboxes or siloed away behind passwords.

Start the “Great Retaining” with Nintex

With Nintex, you can start a whole new movement: the “Great Retaining”. Our platform has all the tools you need to boost knowledge retainment across your company and automate knowledge transfer processes to beat the “Great Resignation”.

But we know that automation doesn’t just keep knowledge in your company. It can keep employees too. With 52% saying they would leave their organization within the next 12-18 months if the new organization made it easier to get work done, now is the time to automate.



Want to start retaining knowledge right now? Get in touch so we can start your automation journey.



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