- When tech workers leave jobs it creates an immediate loss of expertise, but the greater business threat is a cumulative decline of institutional knowledge, according to a survey of 1,000 IT managers by the enterprise search cloud provider Sinequa.
- Seven in ten respondents said the Great Resignation contributed to a loss in organizational knowledge, making it difficult for current employees to find and access important information. That, in turn, can undercut productivity.
- To compound these problems, nearly half of respondents believe loss of knowledge and expertise within their organizations undermines hiring efforts. Another 56% agree that loss of organizational knowledge has made onboarding more difficult and less effective.
Meet the knowledge gap, a longer-term cousin of the short-term skills gap with equally disruptive implications.
As companies strain to retain tech talent and other experienced professionals, IT departments are contending with recruitment woes and the ongoing challenge of restoring institutional knowledge that is lost.
Workplace inefficiencies and declining productivity were cited as the main repercussions of an emerging knowledge gap by 45% of survey respondents. Communication gaps, employee dissatisfaction, and declining customer support also made the list of concerns.
The loss of organization or institutional knowledge is a gradual process. It lacks the flash of a capitalized trend like the Great Resignation or the immediacy of mass layoffs. But facilitating smooth and secure flow of enterprise information is central to the CIO, and knowledge management is a rising C-Suite priority, according to Scott Parker, director of product marketing at Sinequa.
In addition to voluntary attrition attributed to the Great Resignation, there have been layoffs due to macroeconomic uncertainty in recent weeks, despite a tight market for tech talent.
For organizations with depleted tech talent ranks, recruiting was already difficult. Onboarding in the age of hybrid and remote work is challenging even without the widening IT knowledge gaps pertaining to enterprise systems and their use.
Adopting better workforce retention, upskilling and recruitment strategies is one part of the solution. Creating a culture of information sharing and deploying AI and automation tools that support knowledge-based collaboration are two others.
“The solution combines culture, processes and technology,” Parker said. “Instead of asking people to share their knowledge, adopt a share-by-default mentality. And adopt tools and encourage practices that foster digital and virtual interaction.”