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Be Sure to Capture Critical Knowledge when Experienced Employees Leave

Do you have employees who are retiring? Or capable employees who are resigning to take jobs at other companies?

If so, take the time to capture their knowledge, either through a series of exit interviews or detailed questionnaires about their job content. The “institutional knowledge” they can provide will be something you can roll into your training program, use in your marketing and product development, and much more.

Don’t let valuable insights and knowledge be lost. Here are some areas where the information you gather from departing employees can be critical.


Why and how to they use the equipment and systems that you have in place? Are there glitches that other employees should know about, or shortcuts? Are there ways that the systems could be improved or made more efficient?

Customer and Clients

What in-depth information can they give you about the customers and clients they work with? Which of your products or services do those organizations use? Who are the primary contacts at those firms, what do they want, and what are they like? Have there been notable events in the past (either positive or negative) that should be noted in the files as part of the history of the relationship?

Products and Services

Which of your offerings are the most popular in the marketplace, and why? Are some of your offerings less successful or more difficult to sell – and why? Are certain products losing market share? And are there other products that could be more successful if they were modified or changed to better address customers’ needs?

Job Content

What do they do during a typical day on the job? How much time do they invest in each of the tasks they perform? Have there been recurring frustrations performing any of them? Are there certain frustrating issues or questions that crop up repeatedly?

Opportunities for Improvement

Are there certain activities that your company or its employees could be doing better than they currently are? Have certain “blind spots” taken hold, such as upper management’s resistance to marketing through social media? Are there certain employees, departments, or executives that are limiting success and growth?

And Keep the Lines of Communication Open . . .

Employees who leave your organization can continue to be good sources of information in the future, especially when you are creating new training programs. You might even decide to rehire them. So take pains to terminate your relationship on good terms. Continue to communicate in appropriate ways in the months and years ahead.


The 10 Cent Decision with Laurie Guest

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