These days, it’s harder than ever to predict what the future holds.
Some companies brace for an economic downturn while others thrive in times of uncertainty. And while millions of workers have been laid off, many more continue to work but have had their retirement delayed.
Operating in times of massive uncertainty isn’t easy, but there is one thing employers can do to help ensure the skills and knowledge their veteran employees possess remains intact – capture it.
There are an estimated 73 million baby boomers worldwide, all of whom will eventually need to retire. Regardless of when that happens, they’ll be taking with them valuable on-the-job skills, knowledge and wisdom they have acquired over their careers.
Clever companies are creating strategies to mitigate that knowledge loss before it’s too late, starting with identifying which employees have the desired knowledge. They won’t all be managers and leaders. In fact, some of the most valuable knowledge is found on the frontlines or factory floors. And that knowledge – whether it’s of products, customers or processes – can be critical to new employee skills training, continuity in operations and possibly your company’s competitive advantage.
Video is Your Friend
Capturing the knowledge of your aging workforce will take time, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Most people are comfortable with video, a medium that can easily record that knowledge and be shared across various platforms. Having your seasoned internal experts create brief, bite-sized video tutorials showcasing their specific skills and processes is a perfect way to transmit that knowledge to other employees.
Standardized Training Materials
Tools like connected worker platforms – mobile-based applications that, among other things, allow information sharing and access to real-time data – are excellent ways to capture, standardize and share knowledge across the organization. Older workers can help employers choose the most important processes for digitalization and inclusion into the connected worker platform, while highlighting potential issues and help improve processes.
Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality
One of the best ways to enable easy knowledge capture and transfer is through AR, VR and MR. These simulated environments for hands-on practice help increase knowledge and understanding, and evolve how workers access and learn critical information. Retiring employees can help create step-by-step instructions using these tools to show the next generation of workers specific, on-the-job training and processes.
Turn Knowledge into Courses
Knowledge can be captured in several different ways – via video, interviews, digitized documentation and AR/VR/MR. Employers can then translate that knowledge into eLearning content for the next generation. Adding this information to a robust enterprise Learning Management System (LMS) can ensure ongoing training occurs seamlessly and that essential knowledge is captured across the organization.
Help Them Help You
If unforeseen circumstances have forced you to layoff aging employees before their time or employees retired before your knowledge capture strategy was put into place, not all is lost. Once you have identified the knowledge needed, whenever possible, you can hire those recently-retired experts back as consultants to fill in knowledge gaps and capture essential information.
Xpan develops digital learning solutions for companies globally. From design to deployment, our team is making heroes of Learning and Development Officers and contributing to the worldwide number of individuals improving their workplace experience (and lives) with better learning.