How to Retain Institutional Knowledge When Employees Retire

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    There comes a time in everyone’s career when they hang up their hats and head for the white sandy beaches of retirement. Which is great for the retiring party but not so great for the company they are leaving behind.

    When a veteran employee leaves a company, it is hard to gather and transfer all of the knowledge they have gained throughout the years.  They have spent many years in a role in which they excelled and gained knowledge that other employees might not have.

    How does one gather everything that individual has learned in the past decades and harbor it for future use when the veteran is no longer there? There are a few different strategies to help retain institutional knowledge.

    1. One way is to allow the soon-to-retire individual to work flexible hours while helping transition another individual into their current role. This is something that would take some time, so the retiree would have to stick around for a while. Incentives to keep the veteran around could include unlimited time off, work from home half time, half days, etc. By giving them a large amount of flexibility, they might not be willing to put off retirement for a little longer.
    2. Give the veterans incentives for unloading all of their knowledge into a knowledge sharing platform which is used company-wide. Give them a proper tool that allows them to upload all the files they may have, screenshots of any process they use, and any videos they find beneficial. They could create a video of them walking through certain processes to help other employees retain institutional knowledge.

    When knowledge sharing practices are implemented for veterans leaving the company, it builds a reassuring culture around the process. Individuals feel valued when people acknowledge they have useful knowledge that others want and need. Start by giving them a knowledge sharing platform they can use and adopt easily.  Retirees won’t leave behind every bit of knowledge they’ve gained over the years, but capturing a majority of the important nuggets will be beneficial down the road.

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