While reading a recent article in Corporate Executive on solving the problem of the aging workforce, I was shocked at a statistic they quoted from a 2008 study conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4CP) that noted that 30% of companies admitted they retained knowledge either poorly or not at all and 78% of companies admitted that they did not have anyone responsible for organizational knowledge retention. In other words, 4 out of 5 companies do not have an individual responsible for insuring knowledge in their company does not get lost!
Without anyone responsible for insuring knowledge retention, a knowledge retention policy will not be created and knowledge will not be captured. As a result, as your aging workforce retires, key knowledge will retire with them. With between 29% and 36% of your workforce eligible for retirement within the next 9 years, that’s 1/3rd of your corporate knowledge at risk of disappearing. Given the amount of knowledge that’s already been lost in the outsourcing craze, where many companies just handed functions over to outsource providers in their entirety — without any thought as to how key knowledge would be retained in case the tasks needed to be reassigned, brought-back in house, or managed internally — can you really afford to lose 1/3rd of your corporate knowledge? I doubt it.
It’s time to put a knowledge retention policy in place … before it’s too late!