Keep Intellectual Capital from Walking out the Door

October 5, 2010
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I once worked for a small company that had three of the people with the most work experience leave or retire within 18 months of one another. The result was the remaining employees saying, “Wow, I didn’t realize they did all of that,” when the workloads started piling up.

 

What we do know is that employees acquire knowledge that’s unique to their job and valuable to the organization. This intellectual capital—the skills and expertise a company develops about its goods and services—is the lifeblood of any business. And it needs to be protected.

 

I once worked for a small company that had three of the people with the most work experience leave or retire within 18 months of one another. The result was the remaining employees saying, “Wow, I didn’t realize they did all of that,” when the workloads started piling up.

 

What we do know is that employees acquire knowledge that’s unique to their job and valuable to the organization. This intellectual capital—the skills and expertise a company develops about its goods and services—is the lifeblood of any business. And it needs to be protected.

 

One way to do that is to collect and store knowledge from employees. In their article Safeguard Your Most Important Asset, Sid Adelman and Charles P. Leo explain the importance of protecting intellectual capital and starting a pilot program to do just that.

 

As an employee, I would welcome the ability to learn what other people know. I would probably gain some insight from co-workers that could eliminate redundancies as well as make sure nothing is getting overlooked that I’d have to scramble to fix later.

 

Brett Martin
Associate Editor
Teradata Magazine