As a first step, we suggest that you identify what is the current behaviour in your organization when it comes to knowledge retention: do not be surprised to find wide differences between organizational units, or within each organizational unit.
The early XX century “Scientific management” à la Taylor was originally based on sound knowledge of management practices, to ease the training of managers without the need to start from the shop floor and rise up into management, as training was supposed to replace experience.
Thanks to PCs, the widespread use of computers tools like the spreadsheet allowed to replace the transfer of “fuzzy” knowledge (people skills, etc.) with a more structured and quantitative approach, easing the replication and communication of knowledge.
Or so it seemed.
In reality, the 1990s saw the sharp rise of spreadsheet-toting consultants, focused on quantifying everything, quite often discarding the unquantifiable as irrelevant, or coercing reality into a convenient set of values that allowed classifying everything.
Admittedly, successive generations of quantitative-focused managers and consultants increasingly drifted away from business common sense.
While assessing the current status of your “Knowledge Retention Policies” (KRP), we usually suggest to identify a set of qualitative parameters and some levels of compliance used to benchmark each organizational unit.
Using these parameters, a simple “radar” chart will become the basis for a brainstorming on possible initiatives to improve the status of each organizational unit.