Onboarding Fast: What to do when you’ve got 2 weeks to replace an outgoing SME

Turnover is a fact of life at every organization.

Today the average business experiences 14% turnover each year. Those in industries like finance, retail, and service may exceed 20%. The average employee only stays in a role just over 4 years — and for younger employees, that figure is closer to 2 years.

All that talent your business works so hard to develop — and all that subject matter expertise your company relies on — will one day walk out the door.

What are you doing to preserve that institutional knowledge?

Today at most companies, once an employee hands in their two week notice, they’re asked to do little more than ramp down or hand off their work, take a quick exit interview asking why they’ve chosen to leave, then turn in their equipment, shake hands, and say goodbye.

What’s missing? Knowledge management!

When an employee leaves, your team has two weeks to preserve that person’s experience and expertise for future reference. In today’s organizations, everyone is a subject matter expert in something — failing to capture what that person has learned in their time on the job means that any new person stepping into the role has to learn all that over from scratch, and that anyone else who relied on that first employee’s know-how now has nowhere to turn.

That’s a big deal even for entry-level or unskilled positions. It can be a serious crisis when the departing employee is an internal subject matter expert and the only person who really knows how a particular process, program, or piece of technology actually works.

Forward-thinking companies have already begun documenting their outgoing employees’ knowledge, making part of the process of leaving a position to write down their daily routines, instructions for using the tools and processes they manage, and anything else of relevance.

But these written efforts often just result in another informal manual, read once (if at all) by the old employee’s replacement, then filed away in a subfolder of a team document sharing portal, all but unfindable for anyone who may need it in the future. Effectively, forgotten.

There’s a better way.

Video makes it easy to capture your outgoing experts’ insights on just about anything.

Just use the webcam already built in on their laptop or smartphone and click record — you can capture anything from best practices on process management, screen-recordings of daily activity how-tos, demonstrations of everyday processes and products in action, and virtually anything else.

We use video for knowledge management here at Panopto — see how easily you can add video to this essential part of talent development in this quick case study recording.

By capturing and preserving the institutional knowledge of your outgoing employees, you’re connecting a talent development loop. Incoming employees can learn from those exiting, helping themselves get up to speed faster and avoid the pitfalls their predecessors encountered along the way.

Effective organizations even go so far as to make the information preserved in this knowledge management a part of planned onboarding for the next generation of team members.

Such knowledge management recordings are easy to include as part of one of the newest best practices in video is social learning videos — recordings made by peers, for peers. Social learning has quickly become an essential part of any onboarding and ongoing training process.

For many organizations, social learning video can be a goldmine of institutional knowledge — the advice of your twenty-year veteran, or your subject matter expert’s answers to frequently asked questions. These videos can be quickly and easily made — and can repay the company in productivity many times over.

Every organization’s social learning library will have a unique set of must-see recordings of advice from its own experts. Curating these to include in your onboarding program will help your new hires learn the inside tips that build your competitive advantage.

ICON-Onboarding White Paper - Make Every First Day A Good OneFind out more!

Knowledge management and social learning are just a couple of the 15 ways to enhance onboarding with video.

Learn even more in our free white paper, Make Every First Day A Great One, as well as:

  • 15 kinds of onboarding videos to supplement your training program
  • 5 capabilities your onboarding video platform needs to be successful
  • How to develop an onboarding program that works

Download your free copy today!

Published: May 27, 2016

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