A recent report by the Government Accountability Office states that Baby Boomers – employees between the age of 45 and 64 – currently make up over half of the federal workforce, and one third of career employees will be eligible to collect retirement benefits by September 2017. Many of these workers possess unique knowledge that was gained over decades of experience, which leaves an enormous gap for government agencies to fill with younger, less experienced workers. Even the best mentoring and shadowing programs may not adequately address the transfer of tacit knowledge to the next generation of employees.
What institutional memory is lost when the subject matter experts are no longer aaccessible?
What happens to organizational knowledge when processes and procedures are difficult to document?
What happens if agencies don’t take steps to make that unique knowledge accessible and useful?
In the coming years, it will be more important than ever to utilize new methods to retain institutional knowledge and provide greater access and robust training to younger employees. While government organizations have already begun leveraging new technologies such as mobile devices and video conferencing for day-to-day operations, technology tools that easily enable management and dissemination of video and content can enhance training, knowledge management, and long-term agency mission effectiveness.
Today, many high-profile agencies are in the process of launching knowledge management initiatives designed to prevent loss of intellectual capital. These initiatives encourage using video, web-based tutoring, distance learning, and other methods to allow outgoing workers to easily document and pass on their unique or specialized knowledge, even going so far as to create “retiree alumni networks” that leverage video conferencing and recording to conduct and store interactive lecture series. Though the public sector faces daunting budgetary and human capital challenges, technological advances of the past twenty years open up the possibility to expand training efforts more easily and affordably, especially through video content management.
Agencies can take advantage of workers’ increased access to video recording by making it easy for users to upload, edit, share, video, and comment on videos via smartphones, tablets, webcams, and other web-enabled devices. This type of flexibility can empower employees to share tips and techniques with one another, allowing them to film tutorials and teach new and complex tasks to others.