July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
College Industry Partnerships
The key to success in the long-term survival of an organization involves knowledge capture and retention. The knowledge may include company secrets, lessons learned, and hard-earned best-practices that are lost or disorganized in the event of staff loss or early retirement. In the United States, the aging workforce poses a specific difficulty, vis a vie the nature of personnel working in utilities. Most are quickly approaching retirement, where operations staff are heavily impacted by this movement. Explicit knowledge is the knowledge that is readily recorded and efficiently circulated within an organization such as design specifications of a system. This is opposite of the daily work completed by the operation staff which is considered tacit knowledge. Tacit knowledge includes an understanding of how different components react to their operation and environment for the plant's proper function that has become intuitive, thus is difficult to quantify. Properly capturing and retaining this tacit knowledge is a labor-intensive task as it is only transferred through personal observations with demonstrations, mentor and apprenticeships, or on the job training. Consequently, articulating the tacit knowledge of an aging workforce is a challenging and time-consuming effort without proper preparation, oversight, and application of established knowledge retention strategies.
It is advantageous for an organization to have implemented a fully encompassing knowledge management system during its inception; an exit interview is not enough. The development should begin concurrently with the hiring process, thus capturing early and newfound knowledge. An accessible database for lessons learned aids in knowledge retention, but even proven methods cannot capture all knowledge efficiently. The system is often overburdened by an abundance of information, which results in indistinguishable lessons and outdated instructions. It is crucial to have a balanced and working system for a functioning organization, but any implementation is preferable to no implementation. The purpose of this paper is to examine the methods and strategies in which critical lessons learned are captured and retained within a local utility. Current operations staff and management will provide data from interviews regarding their lessons learned and their training experiences. This process will result in the increased understanding of current knowledge management strategies and provide the local utility actionable data to improve upon or develop such strategies.
Barnfather, E. G., & McFall, K. A., & Lucietto, A. M. (2021, July), Study of Organizational Knowledge Retention Practices in the Utilities Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37776
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