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Leveraging Knowledge Retention and Sharing Across the Value Chain

Knowledge walks in and out of your offices in the form of your employees experiences, built up career comprehension and organizational adroitness as your employees come to work and then leave to go home everyday.  Then at some point they leave and don’t come back, they retire, take a job with another company, rotate to a new position or end their consulting agreement and are reassigned to another company.  Capturing that tacit knowledge before it walks out the door the last time can bring enormous benefits to your company.  Through the corporate quest for knowledge during their career or tenure with the company the company has invested in these staff to acquire the right knowledge.  What happens to all their knowledge?  The oil and gas industry has a major portion of its work force retiring over the next few years. The process being executed at a national oil and gas exploration and production company is attacking the capture and reuse of knowledge from those staff who are retiring, rotating or being reassigned head on.  They are leveraging the departing person’s knowledge to the benefit of the company and those who need to know.  That shared knowledge is being reused by those still working on solutions to critical hydrocarbon problems.  Knowledge retention and sharing is a process utilizing knowledge management techniques focused on the reuse of the departing staff tacit knowledge across an organization or company.  The process as utilized can save oil and gas companies from reinventing by using the knowledge that already exists.  This article is about a case that Innovitro Consulting team had provided to its customer on how knowledge is being captured and retained from a transitioning workforce at the customer company and how leveraging this knowledge is creating value for the individuals who are reusing the retained knowledge to the benefit of the company.

The Implemented Cases

During the coaching period of the development process two real-life cases were used.  There were two staff leaving our client company that the team had considered a perfect candidates for the coaching sessions in which the retained knowledge can be used with stories that interest many who are still working in the functional areas.  The first one is a Senior Geologist, and the second one is a Vice President of an oil production asset.  The first candidate was an academic type of person.  In her lifelong career as a Geologist, she has written many papers that were published in many accredited publications.  Her primary area of focus was on GeoChemistry.  She had been involved with many of Thailand’s domestic projects since having worked at top world-leading oil and gas exploration and production company before joining our client company some 15 years ago.  She was well acquainted with her colleges and subordinates.  She personally participated in a small group/community sharing experiences and knowledge found from projects on a regular basis.  Once the team asked her to participate with the Knowledge Retention program, she was very excited and willing to share her stories.

A Leadership Transition Retrospect technique was used to gain insight into topics that would be used as discussion topics when she was interviewed later.  The session was conducted among her selected colleagues and subordinates, mostly from her own personal group/community.  The session allowed her to tell stories about her past works over her career.  We then asked the attendees to give feedback and express what they wished to know more about from her work and experience.  We then used that feedback as the input and grouped them for topics during the personal interview.

We conducted the two interview sessions based on what she showed the most interest in, those were:

1) The GeoChemistry and Applications in the Thailand and other neighboring countries, and

2) Opportunity Identification and Methodology on New Ventures.

The interviews were recorded on video with permission.

The team used the captured video to transcribe the content into editable text for the distillation process.  A few themes had been formulated and the content has then been interpreted into a referent-able codification and context.  The distilled themes and sub-themes were later combined and published on the internal company web portal using multi-media technology for references.

The second candidate was involved with the establishment of the project in the neighboring country from the beginning, since our client company.  His way of dealing with authorities and winning the heart of local people of that country had been recognized and was important knowledge the company wanted to keep.  He had his way of dealing and managing the project which was successful.  He had achieved the gaining trust of that country’s government authority and it was because of him that our client company was awarded a few exploration blocks.

In a much different way, the team did not conduct the Leadership Transition Retrospect sessions to gain insights and the interest of the topics from his colleagues and successors.  The team reviewed his personal experience profile, along with the company’s business of chronological events that he had been involved with.  We decided to focus on his past and long term success and used “How that successfully project were established” as the discussion topic

The retained codified knowledge, combined with multimedia scripts, was then published on the internal KM web portal with access restriction maintained as some of the information contains very sensitive issues.  The distilled and codified knowledge was verified by the retiring staff before being published for internal access.  The retained knowledge is a single person perspective on various issues that is valuable to the company.  Validation and updates on each topic of the knowledge asset will be done regarding the content of each topic.  The amendment and refresh of the knowledge asset is the responsibility of the individual communities of practice for each of the topic areas.