Knowledge Legacy

The creation of an interactive session 'Valuing your Knowledge Legacy' to consider knowledge retention after the member of staff has retired and different retirement age options.

Name: Sarah Lewis

Your service/ organisation

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

Who asked

Workforce retention and wellbeing team

What did they say?

We are delivering a workshop aimed at Trust staff thinking about retirement age options, including remaining in the in the Trust but in a different capacity or on reduced hours.

As part of the session, we would like participants to think about sharing their experience and knowledge before they partially or completely move on. We would also like them to think about possible ways they can use their knowledge in any different ways in the future(transferable skills).

Can you help?

What did you do?

The Library and Knowledge Services Manager planned and delivered a 30 minute interactive session called Valuing your knowledge legacy. These are ongoing and take place once or twice a month as part of the wider retirement workshop. Average attendance is around 10-16 staff.

Content includes

  • Learning lessons from NASA – when the knowledge of more experienced staff is not fully valued.
  • Share the number of years worked in the healthcare sector and combine to make a group total (group activity)
  • Briefly reflect on what will happen to that combined knowledge in the future
  • Identify and write down one area of work-related knowledge that is unique or fairly unique to you. This can include specialist knowledge, useful contacts, organisational information, something your colleagues come to you for information and advice about (Individual activity plus sharing examples with the wider group) 
  • Tacit knowledge and how you can use journey mapping to help share your approach to situations
  • Discuss ways of sharing the unique area of knowledge previously identified with others back in  your team or department (Small group activity plus feedback to the wider group)
  • Suggested ideas of sharing knowledge such as buddying, knowledge exchange, sharing experiences in a blog or newsletter. Emphasise that some of these activities can help build transferable skills in their own right.
  • Quick demonstration of the Trusts online career toolkit for identifying strengths, plus library resources related to retirement and career planning. Offer of a knowledge exit interview.

How did it help?

The activity where participants are asked to write down a unique area of knowledge led to some interesting examples identifying:

  • Staff who have completely unique roles within the organisation and there is no obvious colleague who can step into their shoes
  • A nurse who realised that the skills she utilised in a former project were something she wanted to focus on during retirement
  • A member of staff who was putting her sewing skills gained as a hobby to provide extra comfort for patients with arm injuries. There was no one else in her team with these particular skills
  • Individuals who are the only remnant from previous organisational changes and can uniquely use previous knowledge to signpost or contextualise current situations.
  • Staff who had worked across different departments during their time in the organisation which had given them unique insight into the way things work / who to contact.

The session gave these and others the chance to think about how they could start sharing this knowledge or raising it with their managers.

Following the training, each participant is invited to give feedback on the whole retirement workshop. The feedback survey includes two questions related to the knowledge legacy session. To date, 32 people out of a total of 87 answered the knowledge legacy question.  Among this group:

  • 78% said the session helped them to identify a unique area of knowledge
  • 84% reported that the session had helped them to share knowledge with colleagues

An Admin and Clerical member of staff said: 

“The discussions around ‘succession planning’ was most useful. I am a few years off retiring but would very much want to leave the department in safe hands. I think all managers in their fifties should attend this type of session”.

Post session, a Practice Development Nurse informally told the library manager that the session had made a difference to the way she was preparing her colleagues for her upcoming retirement.

Feedback from the session organisers:

 “Thank you very much for your assistance with these study days and they have evaluated very well. We hope that you are able to continue to help us with these as we have found that they are very valuable and relevant”.

November 2019