Can we fix the age-old problem of knowledge transfer?
We have all been there. You know the feeling when one of your key staff members puts in their two weeks’ notice. Your to-do list (and your anxiety) start to grow… in a short period of time, you will have to gather some sort of position documentation, find candidates, and train a new hire — all on top of your regular work load.
“I’ve been on both sides of the transition process, and it’s never been a great experience,” explains Andy Cox, founder of Cox Consulting Network. “These days we often support clients through employee turnover both with interim consultants and our direct hire services, and it’s easy to see the burden it places on employers. Staff transitions happen all the time, so why aren’t companies better prepared? We knew there had to be a better way.”
“Staff transitions happen all the time, so why aren’t companies better prepared? We knew there had to be a better way.”
Recently while working from home during the Coronavirus, Andy and his team of consultants found themselves providing virtual knowledge transfer services more and more often. They knew that they needed an internal process for knowledge collection and training, but suddenly, it became clear that companies everywhere could hugely benefit from a dedicated knowledge transfer solution.
“We thought that knowledge transfer shouldn’t be a setback,” says Megan Kennedy, a consultant who worked closely on the new ‘KT’ process. “It should be an opportunity to grow.”
Today we're proud to announce "Knowledge Bridge," CCN's new complete knowledge transfer solution.
The problem with traditional knowledge transfer
For many of us, typical knowledge collection looks something like this… after someone puts in their notice, we look around for an old job description, and we ask that person to update it, if possible. We have them record notes about their daily tasks, and if we’re lucky, we have them sit down with a coworker or temporary consultant to help understand what to do after they are gone.
“I’m afraid that knowledge is walking out the door…. information that we may not be aware of that’s unique to the role,” explains David Tamez, Corporate Controller at Upland Software (NASDAQ:UPLD) in Austin, Texas. As the head of a 13-person accounting team, he’s no stranger to staff turnover. He runs a tight ship, but like so many of us, he describes how knowledge transfer is often so improvised.
“At that point, it’s probably a lot of hit-and-miss knowledge transfer… we’re relying on multiple people to fill in the gaps,” he says. “It’s rarely very well thought out. You’re just trying to survive.”
“It’s rarely very well thought out. You’re just trying to survive.”
“Staff transitions don’t just affect management,” Andy says, “Sometimes they can burden the entire team with undue stress and overtime.”
After the former employee leaves, there is an undefined period of waiting to begin the search process, to find the new hire, and to establish a start date. Once the new employee arrives, their predecessor is usually long-gone and there is no opportunity to ask questions.
Megan has had direct experience with this as interim consultant, and describes the experience, “Ideally, I would have some thorough notes to work from, but even in the best-case scenario, I have to do a lot of digging to get what I need. You also never have the organizational knowledge.”
CCN offers a streamlined process with dedicated support
Leveraging years of experience with finance/accounting staff transitions, CCN has developed its specialized Knowledge Bridge solution to streamline the process and create a positive experience for everyone involved.
The most important part of knowledge transfer is knowledge collection. Our process begins as soon as you call to take advantage of every minute you have left with a current employee.
During this period, we assign a dedicated transition consultant for your unique situation. In some cases, this person may act as an interim consultant, or they may work side-by-side with another interim consultant throughout the process. Our knowledge transfer specialists are trained to ask the right questions and meticulously document every detail to make sure no stone is left unturned.
“It’s hard for outgoing employees to proactively train their successor and anticipate questions from someone they may never meet,” says Andy. “When that person can sit down with a transition consultant, conversation flows naturally. Every question and key detail is captured and documented. It makes a huge difference.”
We provide the tools your new hire needs
At the conclusion of the Knowledge Bridge process, we deliver a position guidebook with everything your new hire needs to be successful. This goes far beyond a mere job description and notes to include topically organized documentation, key illustrations and screenshots, and recorded screen-share videos of key software tasks.
Your final deliverable even includes company lingo and acronyms as well as the organizational structure relevant to the position. These details often come second nature to current staff but can be a source of confusion for a new hire.
This valuable resource is yours to keep and update over the years for subsequent hires or training for related positions.
“It would relieve a lot of the stress and anxiety,” shares David. “It would begin that process of creating more documentation around a position so the next time someone leaves, we’re prepared… it would be highly valuable, especially for companies that are growing.”
“…the next time someone leaves, we’re prepared.”
When you work with CCN's Knowledge Bridge, you don’t have to train twice. We understand, companies don’t want to have to train an interim worker only to turn around and re-train the permanent hire later. With a transition consultant by your side, everything is combined into one streamlined process, and your training materials are all captured for future use.
“These days most accounting teams run pretty lean,” explains Megan. “Traditionally the whole team has to absorb the responsibility of training the interim consultant as well as the new hire. It's stressful and really impacts the team morale. I've noticed some people getting impatient with frequent questions, which rolls onto the new hire. It's not a great way to start a new position. We want to improve that situation for everyone.”
Make the most out of every transition
The next time someone puts in their notice, we hope you have a little extra confidence knowing that someone has got your back. Your specially trained transition consultant is there to share the burden and keep everything organized and on schedule.
Imagine bidding an employee farewell without worrying that valuable knowledge is walking out the door with them.
Imagine welcoming a new hire with a personalized training experience and all the resources they need already waiting on their desk.
We’re here to make every staff transition a positive experience for everyone involved.
“Imagine welcoming a new hire with a personalized training experience and all the resources they need already waiting on their desk.”
Get started today
If someone on your team has put in their notice, the clock is already ticking. Don’t hesitate to reach out to CCN and begin the process today. Companies can typically “burn” four to five days looking for an interim resource, but we start the day we get the call.
Give us a call or jump right into our position documentation survey. We'll provide you with personalized recommendations on next steps, helping you understand what you need to ensure a smooth transition.