May 2021
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TD Magazine

Knowledge Transfer Is Key to Organizational Success

Friday, April 30, 2021

Prioritize knowledge management rather than relying on technology to facilitate information exchange.

The shift to remote work in 2020 has reshaped every aspect of the workplace, including how companies capture knowledge and how employees share it. Deloitte’s 2020 Global Human Capital Trends report found that knowledge management is one of the top three issues that influence how well companies fair.

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Of the surveyed organizations, three-quarters reported that creating and preserving knowledge is important to their success in the next year to 18 months. However, just 9 percent are ready to address knowledge management.

Their trepidation arises partly because the past year has fundamentally changed what knowledge management entails. Previously, knowledge was often transferred directly from one employee to another, but now that many workforces are dispersed, employers often rely on technological tools and platforms to assist with knowledge transfer.

However, Deloitte’s 2020 European Workforce Survey cautions that technology alone can’t solve companies’ knowledge management woes. In fact, almost one-third of respondents said that it is difficult or nearly impossible to extract knowledge from repositories, compared to one-fifth who expressed similar frustration about extracting knowledge from colleagues.

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The survey also found that when organizations prioritize knowledge management, employees have a much easier time obtaining information, with around 20 percent more employees from those companies saying they can access the information they need from both colleagues and repositories. That suggests that organizational culture—not technology or colleague interactions—lead to greater knowledge transfer.

The survey offers recommendations for employers that want to foster knowledge transfer, including ensuring that repository content is both high quality and easy to find; selecting tools and platforms that are the right fit for the company’s goals; and incen-tivizing employees to share knowledge with colleagues.

About the Author

Eliza Blanchard, APTD, is ATD's Learning & Development content manager. Contact her at [email protected]

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