Ways to retain employee knowledge before it walks out the door

One of the greatest challenges facing employers is how to retain all of that expertise when employees leave.

We’ve all been witness to that person or group of people who, regardless of the situation, are suddenly no longer a part of the organization.

Whether the exodus is ultimately deemed positive or negative for the organization, the fact is employees take with them a substantial amount of work, business customers/clients, and operational knowledge that can be difficult to replace or duplicate.

Let’s look at a few ways of retaining corporate/organizational knowledge when an employee decides to move on to another opportunity.

1. Document processes and procedures

From the very beginning, an employee should have a clear and concise job description that is familiar to both their manager and human resources. The job description and corporate procedures should make clear the role and responsibilities associated with the position, and those responsibilities should be understood among all parties.

This ensures a good starting point for the employee. Moving forward, regular assessments, manager appraisals and yearly performance indicators can only help the employee in terms of capturing knowledge. Further, a matrix of responsibilities can successfully encompass all of the varying degrees to which a person must perform their specific job.

One of the ways that employees can document their specific job-related duties is to write training documents. This will help both the potential successor and the rest of the team in understanding the role and overall duties.

A binder is a basic way of capturing all of the day-to-day requirements in performing a job successfully. While a good start, my guess is that more often than not these documents would remain in that binder sitting on a shelf somewhere.

A somewhat more progressive tactic would be for the employee to create a “day in the life” video of the specific job. This would show a successor exactly what is expected of them during a typical day on the job. The video should be made soon after the employee has been there long enough to have full knowledge of the job.

An employee who is ready to leave may not remember everything he has done in the job. Also, a disgruntled employee could refuse or sabotage this type of undertaking.

2. Cross-train your team members

Employees get sick, go on vacation or leave for other opportunities. Does this mean that the department or company ceases to produce? Of course not.

Ensuring that members of the team can step into another role at any given time is critical to preventing gaps in knowledge. When implementing a cross-training period, it’s important to provide plenty of time for people to train effectively. It’s during this time that everyone on the team will be learning their team member’s roles and overall picture and be able to step in and properly perform the job.

One of the most effective ways to accomplish this task is to have people shadow each other. This ensures the person accepting the knowledge is just as knowledgeable as the one passing it on. It’s also just as important to hold people accountable, and the best way to do this is to test employees while a key member of the team is away.

If the employee is able to successfully perform the co-worker’s duties without any input from the absent person, then you have success. Team members should also be encouraged to provide feedback so that efforts may continuously be improved. An incentive for this program could also be a promotion for the employee stepping into a departing person’s position.

3. Create a mentor program

Because the informal knowledge transfer in a one-on-one affiliation can be so palpable, it is important to have a mentor program. Mentoring is an effective way to organize, create, capture, and distribute knowledge. This mutually beneficial relationship provides a baseline of knowledge for the company/mentor while simultaneously fueling succession planning for the mentee.

Since the learning curve with a program of this nature can be dramatically shortened, it can be considered a win/win for companies looking to retain knowledge with the least amount of distraction.

Implementing the above documentation methods, combined with a robust cross-training and mentor program, is a good start in retaining employee corporate knowledge. This should, at the same time, be accompanied by a repository of documents accessible to all authorized parties to add additional information.

However, only an administrator should be able to make any information changes deemed acceptable. An online database – that can be accessed anytime, anywhere – is even more desirable and powerful than hardcopies which contain employee documents and procedures. This can only help employees do a better job in their roles and in training new employees to pick up from where the departed employee left off.



Fun ideas that keep kids learning even after school’s out

For some people, summer means warmer weather and outdoor activities. But what about the kids that are out of school? What will they do all summer? For most parents, they just want their kids to do something other than video games or watching endless videos.

So for you, I’m going to give a few suggestions for summer activities—some of my favorites. These are just suggestions, this is not a to-do list. Really, it is going to depend on the child to find something they truly find interesting and exciting (that’s when the fun really starts).

Learning to Code

So, you like video games? Do you know that actual humans make video games with some type of computer code? It’s true. But even better, kids can write programs too. It might seem scary to get started, but it’s really not too bad. If you want to get started, I am going to recommend code.org. There are plenty of learning guides that are appropriate for a variety of ages. Oh, and it’s free and online.

Even the lowest level activities are very complete—they even include ideas about functions and debugging. It’s the best way to get a general idea of computer programming before moving on to a particular language.

If you want to be more creative with your programming, there is also Scratch (scratch.mit.edu). Scratch is a graphical (and free) programming language that focuses on the control of animated sprites. It’s pretty easy to pick up and it’s built so that you can share programs and modify others.

Finally, there is one more set of coding activities—physical programming. Physical programming takes some type of code but adds onto it some actual object that the code can control. If that sounds awesome, it’s only because it is. There are two physical programming platforms that I have worked with before—Raspberry Pi and Arduino. Although these devices are not free, they aren’t super expensive either. Both platforms have tons of great projects that kids (or adults) can work on. Example: https://projects.raspberrypi.org/en/and https://create.arduino.cc/projecthub.

What About Science?

There are plenty of great science projects that kids can work on during the summer. The key to a successful project is to find something interesting. That means you are just going to have to look through lots of ideas (and even try a few) before you find something that draws your attention. Let me give you a few ideas.

  • Bird watching. Birds are all over the place—in fact you can probably see them in your back yard. Keeping track of the birds you see and identifying new birds can be a great adventure. Here is a nice site to help you get started.
  • Grow something. Again, if you have a backyard you can probably grow some type of plant. Really, it doesn’t matter what kind of plant—just something that a kid can work on. If you like, you can try multiple plants and changing the amount of water or sunlight and see what produces the most growth.
  • Tracking the sun. The sun probably doesn’t pass directly overhead at anytime during the day for your location—but how high does it get? You can track the motion of the sun by observing the shadow a vertical stick in the ground makes. If this measurement is repeated for a long enough time you should be able to notice some interesting things.

Make Stuff

This is my favorite thing—to make something. All too often kids become consumers instead of creators. Here is your chance to change that. There are bunch of things to make. These are just a few ideas to get you started.

  • Something made out of cardboard. Cardboard is everywhere and easy to work with. You can build anything from a candy dispenser to costumes. There are plenty of tutorials online—just search for what you want.
  • Hack together something like MacGyver. I’m currently a technical consultant for the CBS show MacGyver, and one of the things I do is to make short video tutorials on how to build things similar to the stuff you see on the show. You can see some of my tutorials here.
  • Stop motion animation. There are plenty of apps on your phone that will allow you to make a stop motion movie. It just takes time and some small toys that you can move to different positions.
  • Sewing. Again, you can sew things at many different levels. It’s not too difficult to make a quick stuffed animal, but maybe you are even more advanced. Sewing is not only fun, but you can make some useful stuff. Maybe this guide will help you get started.

Be Bored

In the end, remember that being bored is not really a bad thing. Boredom is just the start of an adventure. The act of trying to not be bored is the human spirit of innovation. Let the kids be bored, and see what happens. Hopefully they won’t break something.


Are we learning anything from climate change?

Its absurd that a lot of climate change talk has been done since time memorial but no one seems to care. Uganda is experiencing the worst dry spell since 100 years ago, this as explained by researchers. 2015 was really hit with many districts having food shortages because the crops dried and couldn’t grow anything. The forests are still being cut all at the expense of farming and development.  Real estate and industries are encroaching on the wetlands; we need an immediate solution.  Fortunately the causes of this problem are well known and need to be addressed with everyone on board. Environment degradation needs to be addressed with an iron hand to ensure that things move.

Forests and wetlands need to be restored to return water vapor back into the atmosphere, absorb greenhouse gases that fuel global warming, keep soil moist by blocking the sun, produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.  I believe the hot weather we are experiencing is just the beginning and hence immediate action needs to be taken into account.

The more we learn about how climate change will affect people and the environment, the more we can see why people need to take action to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change. We can also take steps to prepare for the changes we know are coming.

We need to start to start

So its the new year and everything seems frenzy and brand new. Not much going on but a lot planned. its still a question of where do i start from and how do we make everything work. A number of us i guess developed resolutions for the year and the question on everyone ‘s mind is how? . How do I (we) make this work? These are things we deal with daily but never at anyone moment have a clear answer. In many cases nothing is done and whole year is wasted. I believe 2017 is a unique year to make lasting adjustments in our lives. We need to start! Stop complaining, sleep less, hard and start on working our dreams.
Am guessing a certain group of us are saying i have had this talk of progress for a while and i did everything and nothing happened. Well no one said it would be easy and life is also a continuous journey. There are bumps, challenges and more bumps. These are the realities of life and we to deal with it. The how question is still lingering for answers but reality is there will be no answer until you start. Start today with a positive mind and attitude towards the things you want to achieve. I have no answers to yours but am working mine. So welcome to 2017, a year of starting and doing.


Learning by adaptation

In most of the books that i have come in touch with, the word learning literally means the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, practice, or study, or by being taught or measurable and relatively permanent change in behavior through experience, instruction, or study. Whereas individual learning is selective, group learning is essentially political its outcomes depend largely on power playing in the group. Learning itself cannot be measured, but its results can be. In the words of Harvard Business School psychologist Chris Argyris, learning is “detection and correction of error” where an error means “any mismatch between our intentions and what actually happens.” Human learning may occur as part of education, personal development, schooling, or training. It may be goal-oriented and may be aided by motivation.

In community structures a lot of learning takes whether in a small village meeting, sub county dialogues and even at districts. This kind of learning is in most cases not documented even though its aimed at creating a permanent  positive change in a community. For example  a village dialogue about eliminating defecation in water ponds will create a lasting impact in the community because one person has talked about. This kind of learning is called adaptation learning.

Darwin ‘s Adaptation theory, also known as survival theory or survival of the fittest, is an organism’s ability to adapt to changes in its environment and adjust accordingly over time. Adaptations occur over generations of a species with those traits that help an individual animal eat and mate most profusely being passed down from generation to generation until the whole species changes to be better suited to their environment.This theory explains man ‘s ability to adapt to any environment basing on what others are doing at a particular time.

The idea of Community Led total Sanitation (CLTs) which focuses on eliminating open defecation (OD) where Communities are facilitated to conduct their own appraisal and analysis of open defecation (OD) and take their own action to become ODF (open defecation free) uses the same concept of adaptation.CLTS focuses on the behavioural change needed to ensure real and sustainable improvements – investing in community mobilisation instead of hardware, and shifting the focus from toilet construction for individual households to the creation of open defecation-free villages. The big idea comes through when individuals shift from what everyone seems to used to and adapting to health sustainable ways.

Transfer of learning is the application of skill, knowledge or understanding to resolve a novel problem or situation. which happens when certain conditions are fulfilled. Research indicates that learning transfer is infrequent; most common when “… cued, primed, and guided…”[22] and has sought to clarify what it is, and how it might be promoted through instruction. However whichever method that knowledge is transferred, adaptation is key in ensuring behaviour change at any level.

                      My imagination of how learning at institutional level occurs





Social Learning in Business

Most learning happens informally on the job. Formal instruction, or training, accounts for less than 20%, and some research shows it is about 5% of workplace learning. It is suggested, though not obligatory, that participants have attended the workshop on Moving from Training to Performance Support or have some experience in the fields of performance improvement or HPT. We will look at ways to enhance social learning, or people learning together while working.

We have come to a point where organizations can no longer leave learning to their HR or training departments. Being able to understand emerging situations, see patterns, and co-solve problems are essential business skills. Learning is the work.