Leadership Gaps - Transferring Knowledge

How are top performing organizations closing the leadership gap?  According to a report published by Bersin-Deloitte last December titled “Predictions for 2014 - Building a Strong Talent Pipeline for the Global Economic Recovery,” executives are struggling with leadership gaps at all levels – from first-line supervision through top organizational leadership. Most organizations are not concerned as much with a shortage of talent as they are with a shortage of the skills needed among their workforces and job candidates or in a competitive and ever-changing global market. Over the next three years certain industries expect to lose up to 30% of their highly-skilled workforces due to retirement and attrition.

Leader DevelopmentThe challenge for talent management leaders is finding ways to close the skill gap, quickly. One remedy to aid in the overall process is building a formal plan related to knowledge transfer. Knowledge transfer is replicating the expertise, wisdom, and skills possessed by critical professionals in the heads and hands of their coworkers, according to the Steve Trautman Co, the leading authority in knowledge transfer and our strategic partner. Knowledge transfer includes the measurable, on-the-job transfer of both explicit skills as well as implicit or tacit knowledge. To remain competitive, all organizations must begin the process of developing a knowledge transfer plan to assure instrumental knowledge does not walk out of the door as people leave the organization.

Innovative talent management professionals are beginning to design internal social media platforms for various departments to engage in communication, collaborate on projects and solve problems together as a team. For example, these platforms directly connect employees to the right tools and resources they need to work smarter and share ideas more effectively in their organizations. Serving as a central resource for employees, this type of social platform unifies communication and collaboration across organizations. Imagine a new engineer in Palo Alto, CA struggling with a problem that was solved decades ago by a colleague in Germany. With a forum for open communication the employee in Palo Alto has the ability to post a question on an internal site for colleagues to review and offer insights or solutions. The concept is simple, but offers a solution to collaboration and knowledge sharing that may not exist in the organization today. In addition, key teams of experts should start thinking about the following questions:

1)      What knowledge and skills should be taught to others?

2)      When and to whom should these be taught?

3)      What is the most effective method for transferring this knowledge?

Coaching CultureThese questions may sound basic, but if organizational leaders are not tasked to think about it, transferring knowledge may not be considered until it’s too late. Building a knowledge transfer plan is essential to maintain intellectual capital and close skill gaps amongst the leadership teams and the workforce. Effective knowledge transfer processes lead to faster onboarding and less ramp-up time to productivity a strong bench of potential successors in case of unexpected losses of key employees, and essential data for development of high potentials.

As talent management professionals, we have many priorities to assure our organization’s current and future leaders are equipped and prepared to face the challenges of today’s market. We must think innovatively, intellectually challenge our peers and build a trusted network of other talent management leaders from which we can draw.  The landscape of talent development is changing at a tremendously fast pace. What is your organization doing to close skill gaps? 


Career Partners International provides top quality talent management services to organizations of all sizes. Their offices around the world help assessengagedevelop, and transition talent in any industry. To find out more about Career Partners International and how you can maximize your organizational performance, reach out to an office near you or contact us today!

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