"What's hardest for firms to handle is the proprietary knowledge -- they've got one or two guys who know not just Java programming, or about, say, banking technology, but the nitty gritty stuff like, 'how to move information from our system X into our system Y.' It's often so customized and individual to the company that they get stuck, especially if they're faced with losing that talent," Trautman says.
That's where a solid knowledge transfer strategy comes in: identifying what skills, knowledge and processes are mission-critical, who currently holds that knowledge, to whom it should be passed, and what talent shortcomings exist that must be addressed. Once a strategy is in place, businesses then focus on building a pipeline that will carry on the knowledge to drive the business forward.
"It's a three-step solution that defines the unique knowledge a workforce or team needs, who has it, who lacks it, and who is able to teach it to those who must learn it. Then, we create Skill Development Plans for each area of expertise. These include a clear list of what must be learned, questions that get at the wisdom behind the role, and the resources available to support knowledge transfer. We then set up an apprentice-mentor relationship to prepare the next generation," Trautman says.
The demand for legacy skills and knowledge isn't slowing down. Developing an effective plan for attracting, hiring and retaining talent with these skills is crucial if businesses are going to leverage their technical investments and be able to innovate for future success.
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