Tribal Knowledge is a Barrier to Effective Onboarding

Many businesses are experiencing the impacts of a coming economic growth period. I was in a regional meeting of business leaders the other day where ITR Economics predicted growth for 2021.

In a breakout session after the presentation, we discussed what business leaders are doing to prepare for this growth forecast.  Almost half the people in the breakout session said they are adding capacity in the form of new hires.

They went on to describe that in bringing on new team members, they realized something profound.

For organizations that are steeped in tribal knowledge, onboarding new hires became very manual and time intensive. 

How can you train a new person to perform tasks that are not documented, and that everyone is doing differently?  Then the new hire does it the way “so-and-so who trained me” teaches them to do it, regardless of if that is the most effective way to do things, or even the way that the management team would like it to be done.

At AJC, we have a lot of experience helping companies sort through Tribal Knowledge.  It is hard to grow when your basic operating processes are not standardized and documented.  Further, if you want to improve your processes, how can you measure improvement when there is no baseline for comparison?

Are you at risk for Tribal Knowledge

If so, get an accountability partner, and start mapping your processes.  Here are some things AJC has been doing to help companies standardize, document, and align their processes, where before they relied heavily on Tribal Knolwedge:

  • Use MS Whiteboard for virtual mapping sessions to get teams aligned to their Current State processes,
  • Incorporating “Quick Wins” to improve processes while documenting them 
  • Listing more complex and systems-related issues to gather improvement opportunities for medium and long-term process improvement that will help companies continue to grow

This case study illustrates on Process Improvement and Systems Selection with Power Systems West describes how AJC works with your team on Process Improvement.

Once your operating processes are standardized and documented, you can do the same thing for your onboarding process itself!

Try this using our 5 Steps to Accelerate Growth by Streamlining your Onboarding Process

After all this is done, your organization will be able to bring team members on board and ramp them up quickly to add capacity as you prepare for growth.