According to Pew Research and the Social Security Administration, 10K baby boomers reach the age of 65 every day in the US. This shift in labor force from one generation to the next gives rise to the risk of losing a significant amount of institutional knowledge.
Thriving organizations understand that institutional knowledge is an asset that must be both nurtured and cultivated as a loss can have grave impacts on an organization’s success – unclear vision, repeated mistakes, and loss of the “secret sauce” and subsequent market share. It’s not to say that organizations shouldn’t change or evolve – they MUST – but institutional knowledge should only be discarded when you intend it to be.
Regardless of the reason, organizations must develop strategies to ensure knowledge continuity. This includes capturing information, leveraging technology to house, manage, and share it, and creating mentor, coaching, and shadowing programs to effectively transfer it. All are critical steps to ensuring a smooth transition from one group to the next. And oh by the way, once knowledge becomes public, teams can collaborate to improve it and ensure it aligns with current strategies.
We believe organizations that understand and preserve institutional knowledge are able to maintain a strong vision across generations and through turnover – increasing their ability to thrive. If you have an organization with high turnover or a high percentage of workforce retiring in the next 5 to 10 years, now is the time to plan for this. Call us to see how we can help.