5 Ways to Prevent Corporate Amnesia

Lori Mankin
3 mins
corporate amnesia represented by question mark sticky note on woman's forehead

Corporate amnesia is the loss of working knowledge or “know how” within a company when an employee leaves the organization. Often, employees will be tasked with specific responsibilities and tasks in coordination with their own position, and the knowledge of how best to complete these tasks will remain with them.

This leaves room for the company to lose its knowledge of the employees’ tasks, processes, and overall “know how” should the employee leave the company.

Corporate amnesia can be detrimental to a company as they attempt to grow but also fight to retain both talent and internal knowledge. The younger generation of workers is now switching jobs twice as fast as their predecessors in the first ten years after graduating from college. Here are five steps you can take to prevent this from happening to your company.

Stay organized.

Being organized is one of the most important parts of a healthy business. Organization provides employees with the feeling of stability within a company. By knowing who exactly to report to, and what specific tasks and responsibilities they own, employees will feel more grounded within the company. Allowing employees to own specific tasks and projects and encouraging them to stay organized by documenting processes will help eliminate corporate amnesia in the future.

Build an employee knowledge center.

Creating a database of knowledge and process information will ultimately be your best resource in eliminating corporate amnesia. By documenting processes within the organization, you are allowing for new employees to quickly and seamlessly join the team. Employee knowledge centers will not only help with the onboarding of new employees, but can also help the entire company increase productivity, from sales to customer service processes.

Increase employee retention.

To eliminate corporate amnesia that results from employees leaving the company, the most obvious first step is to reduce the number of employees leaving. There are multiple steps an organization can take to increase employee retention. Some of these steps include offering competitive pay, providing guidance, introducing unique perks, providing great benefits, and more. Employers who take a proactive approach to bettering their company overall in an effort to increase employee retention will see a greater reduction in the side effects of corporate amnesia.

Encourage employees to take responsibility.

Asking employees to take responsibility for both successes and failures will be an important step in cutting corporate amnesia from your organization. By creating a system where employees are held responsible for both successes and failures will allow your company to track what works and doesn’t work as far as processes within a specific task or project. Documenting the steps of what works versus what doesn’t will not only help guide new or current employees and cut Corporate Amnesia but will also prevent failures from being repeated. Ultimately, creating a layer of responsibility and tracking will help make your business more efficient.

Provide opportunities to cross-train.

Cross-training provides employees insight into other departments and functions within an organization.

This can be extremely valuable when it comes to reducing corporate amnesia because you are allowing multiple employees to have visibility into various tasks and processes — knowledge that could otherwise be lost if you hadn’t cross-trained.

Cross training also gives employees the chance to grow and learn new skills. This is valuable because employees will feel as if the company is investing in their future and that they’ve had the opportunity to develop a new skill set that could ultimately help them continue their career growth.

To protect your business from corporate amnesia, you must take an active role in preventing it before it starts. By harnessing your company’s and employees’ knowledge in a knowledge sharing platform, you will see both a significant reduction in time to onboard new employees and enhanced training opportunities across the company.

October 26, 2017

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