Knowledge Transfer: Why Does It Matter?
Numerous studies conducted on knowledge transfer make it essential to the prosperity of your company. As a business owner or executive, you want the time, money and resources which you have invested in training your employee to help your business achieve new levels of success. Knowledge transfer plays a key role in leading a business toward achieving their intended goals but in my opinion, many businesses fail to understand its significance. The definition of knowledge transfer refers to the active sharing of experiences, foresight and intelligence. It is an art of embedding continuous knowledge sharing within minds of people at a workplace when they need it. However, I believe the transfer of knowledge is challenging as it’s quite difficult to manage human intake and anticipate how one will respond to a specific course, as everyone’s learning ability and style is different.
In a blog post from Emma Weber relating back to ATD 2016, she stated that approximately 90 percent of training programs lack strategic planning and direction. Transfer of knowledge has been revealed as ineffective.
Knowledge transfer lies at the core of a business’ success and it can present huge risks when it comes to achieving a competitive edge for a firm. How do we ensure proper knowledge transfer? Do we set learning objectives? What tools do we use? Or perhaps we should define what data insights we want to see at the end?
Knowledge Reinforcement: Is It Better than Retention?
Knowledge reinforcement in training is an information-based strategy intended to bridge gaps between employee performance deficits and training needs analysis.
Training reinforcement balances the existing training program, be it ILT, vILT or a blended approach, whichever you are currently deploying. Reinforcement should happen with a frequency between 1 week through 90 days. This ensures material is reinforced for long term retention rather than short term use.
However, do not confuse reinforcement with relearning. Most people forget the information they learned within two weeks due to the Ebinghauser Forgetting Curve. Training reinforcement, on the other hand, focuses on knowledge employees have already acquired, thus resulting in an improved return on learning investment rather than relearning.
Knowledge reinforcement gives more value than retention programs. Its far better than retaining a workforce which isn’t capable enough or lacks potential. Just simply knowing what to do doesn’t promise good results or improvement. Most training efforts fail due to inconsistent support which does not push employees to enhance their behavioral attributes and perform better. Knowledge reinforcement incorporates behavioral change. Strategies crafted with a series of well-timed follow ups will continue to reinforce information gained during knowledge transfer.
Knowledge reinforcement benefits numerous departments in your business, from customer service, sales, finance, compliance, etc…and proves to bring change on a whole new level. A good reinforcement program takes place in an environment that makes a learner comfortable as well as engages them, such as a game-based learning activity that they can access on their iPad or smartphone. Not that this is rocket science, but any training program tailored to employees’ needs helps enhance competence and . It is important to add that the content needs to be contextual and relevant to the performance metrics and goals that will assist the learner in performing their job better or more successfully.
If you wish to deploy a reinforcement strategy, understand and plot accordingly, ensuring everything is in its place for successful execution prior to your knowledge transfer. Be proactive and not reactive. Your employees will find it beneficial as it will enhance their skills and ability.
Why Measure Training Effectiveness?
Organizations need to determine if their training program outcomes have improved their employees’ skill development and knowledge.
This is the virtual stop sign that comes out and everyone needs to ask themselves a question … are you checking the box at 80 percent knowledge mastery for your learners? Are you worried about the other 20 percent? (Check out a recent blog post I wrote called “The Other 20% – Why It Matters in Training”). Through the assessment are you getting data driven insights down to the individual question level?
In short, a training assessment is only as good as the data and insights gained. Are you able to ensure the learning goals were achieved? Did each learner reach the stated learning objectives before the knowledge transfer began?
Make It 360°
The “Three Pillars of Learning” must be part of an ongoing learning program. Your goal is to create programs that reinforce desired behaviors and properly assess your employees so you can help the company and the individual reach their desired outcomes. The continuous learning event should be a process of learning, acknowledging, and implementing so that your employee can continue to grow in their career while at your organization. It’s crucial for companies to ensure that the “Three Pillars of Learning” are the foundation for creating, developing and implementing training programs. They must utilize the data received from the assessment to continually drive knowledge transfer and reinforcement to ensure 100 percent mastery in the end. When these three pillars are used properly, companies will thrive.
A strategic approach for evaluating the effectiveness of a training program requires a careful study of the tasks for which the training will be addressing. It is also essential to prioritize learning objectives to ensure a smooth transfer of knowledge among employees with an emphasis on reinforcement and data driven assessments. In the end, learning should continue to be a 360° experience around the “Three Pillars of Learning: Knowledge Transfer, Knowledge Reinforcement, and Knowledge Assessment” for the learner until they reach both 100% mastery and maintain it.