How To Efficiently Transfer Knowledge Within Your Organization

By EverwiseMarch 3, 2017

The need for a knowledge transfer within an organization can happen for many reasons. You could be promoted to a new role, leaving the company, or growing your team. Whatever the reason, you now need to teach others how to effectively take on your job’s responsibilities.

Having some best practices in place will make the transfer much easier for everyone. You’ll ensure consistency in employees’ approaches to their new work, their understanding of project objectives, and their skill sets necessary to excel.

So what do those best practices look like? Our community offered some advice on how to pass along knowledge smoothly and efficiently.

Create a learning environment

First and foremost, make sure to establish a learning environment before beginning the actual transfer of knowledge. Tony Puerto says sharing knowledge with others rarely works unless “they are willing to learn.”

Rajesh Signh recommends fostering a learning environment by giving each person involved the opportunity to train their colleagues on a particular process. That way, everyone has the chance to be both a teacher and a pupil, and it also keeps the group interactive.

Considering your audience’s learning style is also important. As Charles Howell says, “Deliver the new knowledge in many ways and repeatedly over time. This covers the different ways people like to take in new information and it gives them more than one time to have the opportunity to understand.”

Explain ‘why’ and ‘how’ projects work

According to Ravichandran Venkataraman, there are two key parts to the transfer of knowledge: “‘How’ do I get this done; and ‘Why’ do I get this done.”

He recommends starting out by explaining why you approach projects the way you do. That way, the transferee understands the business context and goals before diving into the details.

To effectively do this, Philip Kao suggests creating documentation with “a brief section of ‘whys’ (why this is necessary, why this is designed/implemented this way), hows (how to maintain, grow, expand), and what’s next (growth, etc).” Which brings us to our next point….

Provide thorough documentation

Pulling together documentation is the most straightforward thing you can do to ensure a smooth transfer of knowledge. As Robert Statsinger says, documents will help “provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for searchable knowledge.”

Make sure your documentation is clear, objective, and politically-neutral, says Kao. To achieve this, Russell Bogartz said he documents knowledge as if it’s the reader’s first day and they have a minimum base of knowledge. Bogartz even includes references like a glossary of acronyms, list of necessary applications, and high-level overview of each process.

By being clear, approachable and informative, the documentation can be thorough without overwhelming the reader with questions.

Be open to changes in methodology

When transferring knowledge, Roxanne Leduc says to make sure you’re not imposing your ways of doing things. Instead, she advises that you give the employee “flexibility on how to use your methodology and explain why you are currently doing this a certain way.”  

Then, she recommends that you “take some time to present your findings and suggestions, and get everyone a chance to share their input and agree on one common way of doing things.”

Riccardo Bua agrees. Staying flexible ensures that knowledge stays relevant, and that employees feel empowered to iterate as needed down the road.

In summary, when transferring knowledge:

  • Establish a learning environment
  • Explain ‘why’ before jumping into ‘how’
  • Document everything clearly
  • Be flexible about future methodology

Have additional tips you’d offer? Join the Everwise Community as a mentor and check out the full discussion here.



About the Author

Everwise connects employees with the people, resources and feedback they need to be more productive and successful at every stage of their career. Request a Demo: https://www.geteverwise.com/requestdemo/

Related Articles

It’s easy to run better programs with the right tool.

  • Request demo
  • New LIVE course: Essentials of Emotional Intelligence with Daniel Goleman.

    Register Today!