Knowledge retention is a significant issue for water utilities, as employees are retiring or leaving to seek other opportunities. This phenomenon is not unique to water utilities, so there is an opportunity to adapt approaches that have proven successful in other industries. Utilities that successfully deal with knowledge retention will be much better equipped to deal with the challenges ahead-increasingly stringent regulations, higher customer expectations, aging infrastructure needs, technology pressures, economic constraints, and more. The objectives of this project were to (1) define a methodology for how utilities can implement knowledge retention based on an understanding of the key drivers, critical success factors, barriers, costs, and benefits; and (2) develop specific strategies, tools, and techniques that can be used immediately by utilities. Secondary research was reviewed to identify knowledge management best practices and key trends especially relevant to drinking water utility experience. An online survey provided initial data on drivers, barriers, costs, and benefits for drinking water utilities, supplemented with stakeholder interviews.An experiential workshop provided additional input into drivers, barriers, and benefits of knowledge retention, and identified knowledge retention strategies and tools to be validated. An interim report was prepared to expedite the transfer of findings. Incorporating Retirees, Mentoring, Document Repository, Organizational Learning and Training (OLT), and Social Network Analysis (SNA) were selected for piloting and using desktop and field approaches. A second workshop was conducted to gather the pilot results from using these tools and further refine the strategy and business case.
Strategies to Help Drinking Water Utilities Ensure Effective Retention of Knowledge
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