Every office, large or small, has seen the collective firm IQ plummet when a key staffer moves on. The Accenture Institute for Strategic Change identified seven critical factors to handle losing key workers, as follows:

Every office, large or small, has seen the collective firm IQ plummet when a key staffer moves on. While some fumbling during flux is unavoidable, do your best to minimize the loss by instituting a brain back-up, much the way your tech staff backs up your hard drives. The Accenture Institute for Strategic Change identified seven critical factors to handle losing key workers, as follows:

  • Identify who knows what: Processes need to be in place to identify which employees possess the most critical knowledge.

  • Create career development and succession planning initiatives.

  • Identify the type of knowledge that needs to be transferred. Tacit or cultural knowledge can only be transferred through face-to-face interaction, including such practices as mentoring or after-action reviews.

  • Use information technology to enable knowledge to be captured, shared and reused.

  • Consider phased retirement.

  • Create programs for effectively using retirees. Some companies have created formal programs that encourage the part-time re-employment of retirees to prevent essential talent from leaving.

  • Build a retention culture.Since intellectual capital is the primary source of an individual’s value to an organization, sharing it demands considerable trust. If people feel they will only survive by hoarding knowledge, they won’t share it. Organizations consider this the most challenging factor and the one most difficult to change.