One of the world’s largest technology solutions providers (offering enterprise software and hardware solutions) had come to us with an interesting training requirement.
The organisation wanted to leverage the expertise of its star performers. They wanted a way make it easier for their especially successful sales people to share their experiences with others in the Sales organisation (i.e. freshers and peers).
Why is This Interesting?This particular solution has a much wider scope of application and use than just one enterprise’s sales requirement.
Here are some more contexts which other small, medium and large enterprises may relate to.
In-house knowledge production that is on-demand, highly relevant and applicable because of richness of context, with a low cost of production, is a dream desired by any organisation. However, the tools of production and the effort required are the usual deterrents. With a solution that puts the easy-to-use tools in employees’ hands, the dynamic is completely transformed, making it a 5-minute preparation to be able to create a knowledge capture.
Leveraging Expertise of Retiring Generations in the War for Talent
As the struggle to acquire and retain talent continues, it is more important than ever that companies be able to concretely capture the expertise of good performers. We can no longer bank solely on mentoring models because the overall proportion of younger, less experienced staff to more senior and experienced staff.
Rather than lose the practical and field-tested knowledge of the generations due to retire soon, companies will need to generate the knowledge implicit in their heads to have a shareable, articulated knowledge base. A solution that addresses the fundamental knowledge production barriers therefore has long-term and strategic potential.
Better On-Boarding and Role Readiness Training
This consideration is hardly new, but it continues to grow more urgent. There is a strong requirement to onboard people effectively yet in lesser time, using fewer resources. But every person starting a new role also knows that the on-boarding training comes with a predestined transfer challenge. No amount of training in advance can completely prepare you for the job. This is where an explicit, easily accessible resource pool of experience captures and practical guidance can be of huge help, addressing the instances and practicalities that an onboarding by nature cannot.
70-20-10 and Real Performance Support
Many organisations, especially large ones, have migrated towards a 70-20-10 model of employee development. However, most only address training and knowledge needs from a learner perspective: there is hardly any support for the mentors. While knowledge support can of course be much lesser for mentors, it would certainly make their mentoring more defined, disciplined and efficient if they had resources created by their own peer group available to them in easily shared forms.
Knowledge Creation and Its Benefits
The value creation applications we’ve looked this far have been about the outcome of knowledge creation. But impressively, the very process itself is of great use. Building the discipline of articulating what we know, as much as possible, pushes us to work in more rigorous, examined and objectively better ways. Rather than sweeping all superior performance into the grey zone of “just knowing” and “intuitive knowing”, organisations can encourage practitioners of different domains to actually generate, evaluate and share their knowledge. There are any number of studies extolling the virtues of metacognition and how it paves the way for expertise to grow.
A knowledge production tool can nurture the practice of metacognition by removing traditional barriers and become a tool to also carve out a genuine learning culture.
Solution RecommendedFor the technology solutions client, the design proposed was app-based. The idea was to leverage the in-built camera functionality of laptops, tablets and mobiles as primary production tools. The sales practitioner would be given various tools to aid in planning, structuring and articulating a practical, focused knowledge nugget. Once they were ready with what they would speak about (and how), they would simply access the app, provide camera permissions, record themselves and upload the video with accompanying materials to the app. The app would be a platform on which the nugget would be tagged and categorised so that it would be archived properly for easy search and retrieval on an external server.
Someone who wanted to access the nugget would also use the app. They would search or browse in the viewing menu using custom search terms and/or meta tags. The nugget chosen from the corresponding search results would be retrieved by the app from the server and streamed to the viewer. Viewers could also manage their consumption by creating playlists, getting notifications for topics of interest, etc.
What Makes This Solution Stand Out?
Apart from technology (programming, server management, responsive design, usability and so on), there are other implementation aspects of such a solution that make it a high-end solution which, however, may not be for everyone.
For one thing, the organisation would have to dedicate a team of moderators to manage the knowledge produced. There would also have to be some kind of a quality team to audit the material and even perform detailed but low-level validation like accuracy of meta tags used.
An organisation that is considering putting knowledge production tools in the hands of employees must also realistically consider: does it have a suitable culture for such an initiative? Is there real motivation for employees to make the extra effort? Is there accountability and recognition for efforts made? For example, how would this feed into appraisals or talent development programs?
ConclusionThese are just some of the interesting considerations that open up conversations along many channels, leading to fundamental organisational changes to support and truly reap the benefits of such complex, multi-directional solutions.
For a truly workable version of such a solution, it must be tailored for the unique environment, policies, culture, business objectives, etc. of each individual organisation.
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Note:- This article was published in the eLearning Industry site.