“Downloading” Tribal Knowledge

InfoPros develops a documentation and training strategy for a major manufacturer of industrial products to capture knowledge of experienced employees

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO—A major manufacturer of industrial products and partner of InfoPros has identified that it stands to be affected by the loss of what many in manufacturing are referring to as “Tribal Knowledge.” Tribal Knowledge has become known as, “A set of unwritten rules or information known by a group of individuals within an organization but not common to others that often contributes significantly to overall quality.” Put simply, the seasoned worker that knows all the intricate and likely undocumented details of procedures and processes is about to retire. How will that information be passed to the next generation of successful employees?

As a large portion of the workforce trends toward retirement age, for those workers with significant experience and skill, the importance of extracting tribal knowledge has become vital. This large manufacturer became aware that a plan for extricating this institutional memory in the midst of this inevitable exodus of long time employees was quickly becoming a priority that must be addressed. InfoPros was selected to comprehensively plan and develop an optimal training solution.

Transferring Tribal KnowledgeTo develop an effective instructor-led training course; the InfoPros team began conducting in-depth SME interviews, made on-site visits to document, photograph, and video procedures, and created illustrative presentation and training guides. The instructor-led training, developed collaboratively by an InfoPros technical writer and an instructional designer, is designed to support plant staff by both transferring knowledge and developing new skills that build upon previous ones. Additionally, InfoPros created a Train-the-Trainer course to orient identified experienced instructors within the company on how to lead the training courses. The chosen instructors will have expert knowledge of the material and a high level of control over the course, with the ability to individualize the material based on the setting and requirements of the participants.

“Companies increasingly need highly skilled technical people, but they are losing years of accumulated experience if they aren’t capturing knowledge and committing to a training program to transfer and develop these skills,” said Angela Hayes, InfoPros Solutions Architect.

This occurrence of seasoned workers moving out of the workforce brings many manufacturing companies to ask themselves the question, “have I identified these workers in my company to assess if critical information is about to walk out the door?” The InfoPros development team has an extensive portfolio of solutions that can be valuable to companies striving to retain tribal knowledge. InfoPros consults with companies on which methods of training will best benefit them, based on their business environment. InfoPros has the breadth and depth of experience sought after by companies in many industries to provide solutions to all types of training challenges.