Does your organisation have corporate amnesia? Not sure? Make a mental check next to all that apply:
Like most companies, yours is experiencing the Great Resignation and a lot of great people are leaving….along with the invaluable knowledge they have inside their heads. Of course that’s a check! It’s happening to everyone everywhere and it’s making corporate amnesia a bigger threat than ever before.
Do you have more systems than you can usefully navigate to find what you need? If that’s a check, that’s a clear case of corporate amnesia in the making.
Do you and your colleagues spend far too much time just searching for the knowledge you need to do your jobs? You wouldn’t be alone - it’s the case for many knowledge workers. Or maybe you’ve got a third party learning library, but you can’t find what you want in it because it only returns generic information that doesn’t help your specific questions. Check? Corporate amnesia strikes again I’m afraid.
I could go on with this line of rather rhetorical questions but I’m certain my point is made: despite living in a world where everything is documented, where ‘Google it’ is the answer to all inquiries, and where social media has seemingly spelt the end of forgetting...corporate amnesia is real.
It’s a myth that it exists just in the realm of corporate dinosaurs. Digital-native companies are forgetting faster than they realise too, and the race to fight corporate amnesia is on like Donkey Kong because - in case you hadn’t noticed - this period of disruptive change and mass movement of job seekers isn’t going to end tomorrow.
What can be done to fight corporate amnesia? A lot, it turns out. By nature, Fuse has been fighting corporate amnesia since we first started. As we gained momentum over the years, we’ve seen just how strongly our business case supports the cure.
So read on, as we’re going to talk about our strong belief in the power of tacit knowledge, application consolidation and stellar search functionality in the fight against corporate amnesia.
1. Tacit Knowledge + Social Learning is No Match for Corporate Amnesia
We’ve always backed tacit knowledge from experts as the most valuable knowledge that you can have, because it’s contextually relevant - it’s from an expert who understands the context of your environment. Tacit knowledge can be defined as intuitive knowledge and know-how, which is rooted in context, experience, practice and values.
Normally, when people leave a company, their knowledge also goes with them. However, getting tacit knowledge out of people’s heads is a great anecdote to corporate amnesia. Making it easy for subject matter experts (SMEs) to create and contribute content to learning platforms with their expert knowledge - and making it interactive, so users can ‘like,’ comment and feel engaged - is really helping companies to retain knowledge and engage employees (even after star SMEs have moved on.)
Our customer Avon is a great example of this. About 75% of its content is contributed knowledge from its wide network of beauty entrepreneurs (ie, the people actually selling the products.)
Fuse also encourages sharing on every level, and commenting, so users are constantly adding insight to what they’ve learned. While we do have AI-driven content recommendations, we also encourage humans to make recommendations amongst their colleagues as well through role-specific communities.
While Sam wasn’t talking about corporate amnesia directly at the time, you can see very clearly just how relevant his thoughts are to retaining knowledge:
“When a content aggregator is in charge, it’s a bit like a static library. It’s always there, but it doesn’t reflect the journey that people took in seeking out knowledge, understanding and interpreting it, and distributing it amongst their peers. It doesn’t encourage people to contribute or make comments on that content, in order to give more context and share it with a wider community with that enriched information added on to it. To me, that is a conundrum because it’s stopping short of creating engagement in the learner and in the learning community, which is a key part of active learning in the enterprise.”
What better way to fight forgetting than to share?
2. Fuse is Helping to Consolidate Platforms
It’s no secret that a lot of companies aren’t on top of their information architecture: knowledge can live in databases, wikis, document management systems and sadly, sometimes it’s just saved to people’s PCs.
Or, sometimes, companies just have too many learning platforms. Avon had 11 different LMSs across 30 countries before eliminating them and replacing them with Fuse as one learning platform. Some companies may have everything from an LMS and LXP to learning hubs or ports, authoring tools, performance support systems, Learning Content Management Systems (LCMSs), Learning Record Stores (LRSs), intranets, and many other systems that may overlap with internal communication.
It’s enough to make your head spin, or start the onset of a serious case of corporate amnesia because no one is ever going to remember which system is the most obvious home to a certain store of knowledge.
The answer, more often than not, is to consolidate.
Our client Joules was able to retire its document management system, and move all documents to Fuse where they could more easily be shared. Joules’ employees were using Fuse as a hub for learning, internal comms, community-building, and wellness support, and that naturally rendered its document management system redundant.
Our client Seasalt uses Fuse as an L&D platform and Knowledge Intelligence Engine as well as a supplier hub.
With fewer systems that get used more often, knowledge can live amongst a better organised information structure and strategy, fighting corporate amnesia every step of the way.
3. The Search is Over: Never Misplace Knowledge Again
Even amongst companies that claim to be on top of their information architecture, there’s still a risk of corporate amnesia because the knowledge is not tagged correctly, or the search functionality in a given application simply isn’t good enough.
Don’t believe us? In 2019, Josh Bersin and Marc Zao Sanders ran a survey with Linkedin to find out more about the ‘flow of work’ surrounding knowledge workers. It turns out that they spend 19% of their time gathering information (searching for data) - that’s nearly a day a week! What he didn’t confirm was how often they had to give up on searches lost to corporate amnesia.
Fuse is fighting search-fail corporate amnesia in a few ways
Our AI-driven technology has serious search intelligence. We have a great content methodology that allows us to break down content into micro pieces of learning, which makes it easier for you to find the piece of learning that will help you to do your job and to avoid corporate amnesia.
As great as our search functionality is, we don’t just rely on it to work unexplained magic. We encourage companies to curate content, which means that they assemble libraries of content that is relevant to individual users. This means that when you search Fuse for the information that you need, it gives you information back based on what your role is in the company, what programmes you’re involved with, or what projects you may have on.
We wouldn’t blame you for thinking Fuse search is magic however: more often than not, it’s better at searching third party content libraries than the search functionality contained in third party content libraries.