What is Knowledge Retention? Why is it Important?

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Written By Haissam Abdul Malak

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In today’s fast-paced business environment, the importance of knowledge retention cannot be overstated. Organizations are constantly looking for ways to improve overall performance and stay ahead of their competitors, and one way to do this is by preserving valuable knowledge within the organization.

Knowledge retention refers to the process of capturing, storing, preserving, and sharing knowledge within an organization to ensure that it is not lost when employees leave or retire. This is crucial for organizational success because it enables businesses to maintain their competitive advantage and sustain growth over time.

In this article, we will explore different strategies that businesses should use to optimize their knowledge retention practices and ensure that they preserve learned knowledge to help drive business growth faster.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 4.25 million people quit their jobs in January 2022, up from 3,3 million in 2021.

Why is knowledge retention important?

Knowledge retention is essential for maintaining the long-term success of an organization because it enables businesses to preserve their competitive advantage, maintain productivity and quality standards, and avoid the costs associated with losing valuable knowledge when employees depart.

Knowledge retainment should be part of an overall KM plan that define clearly how knowledge should be acquired, transferred, and documented within your organization to make sure that employees can benefit from previously learned subjects and reduce the time needed for other colleagues to get on board.

In addition, businesses that are serious about optimizing their process should always look for the latest KM trends that can impact them in the future.

How do you ensure knowledge retention?

Effective knowledge retention strategies involve creating a centralized hub to access and document knowledge, developing training programs, establishing KM guidelines, plan to overcome related obstacles, and encouraging a culture of knowledge sharing and collaboration.

Here are the steps to ensure knowledge preservation in an organization:

1- Create a centralized hub

One of the most important steps to ensure that knowledge retainment is optimized include the creation of a centralized portal where employees can access to read, share, and collaborate on topics related to their field of expertise.

An effective knowledge retention strategy clearly prioritizes having a main hub for employees to look for topics that interest them and doesn’t exist outside of their organization.

2- Develop training programs

For employees to be encourage to keep on sharing their knowledge, organizations need to develop comprehensive training programs and make sure that regular meetups and sessions are being conducted to ensure the efficiency of the KM process.

3- Establish mentorship programs

One of the most important knowledge retention strategy and techniques is having veteran employees educate newer ones about the initiative to ensure knowledge continuity.

The role of having such programs is very essential to any organization as it helps newer employees to get on board fast and they are being mentored about the most efficient way to retain their newly acquired knowledge.

4- Encourage knowledge sharing

If employees can’t see the value of having their knowledge transferred and shared by other colleague members specially in their department than most likely the initiative will fail. That is why it is essential to create an environment that foster sharing information learned and maybe reward such behavior.

5- Monitor and evaluate knowledge retention efforts

In my previous organization, the Knowledge Management (KM) department closely monitored the knowledge preservation strategy and efforts of each department and intervened whenever necessary to ensure that the knowledge flow was proceeding as expected.

What is the impact of poor knowledge retainment?

Poor knowledge retainment is typically caused by the lack of an effective program, the absence of a centralized hub for knowledge creation, closed communication and collaboration environments, the absence of a clear knowledge retention strategy, and employees resisting knowledge sharing for fear of being easily replaced.

It can have significant negative impacts on an organization including loss of valuable knowledge and expertise, reduced productivity and quality, increased costs, decreased innovation, and risk to safety and compliance.

In our experience, employees resist and try to delay sharing knowledge because of their fear to lose their job to another colleague. This is one of the most critical factors that can affect your implementation plan and requires careful actions to address it.

Believe it or not, organizations are full of employees with such behavior. The next time you are in the office, take a closer look and you will find plenty of examples.

When organizations fail to address these factors, they risk losing critical knowledge and expertise, which can have significant negative impacts on their performance and long-term success.

The role of technology in knowledge retention

Technology can play an important role in such efforts by facilitating the capture, storage, and sharing of knowledge within an organization. With the advancement of technology, the process of implementing a knowledge preservation strategy has become easier.

There are many technologies and solutions available in the market to help you including:

1- KMS

A (KMS) knowledge management system is a tool that organizes and manages the information that is created in an organization. It helps organizations capture, store, and manage knowledge and information. It provides advanced capabilities that enable employees to access, share, and collaborate on knowledge assets, such as documents, articles, and videos.

2- LMS

A learning management system is a type of application that will help organizations develop and train employees on specific subjects to become experts.

3- Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)

We are in the era of AI where all kind of tools available are having some sort of integrations to improve their capabilities. And knowledge retention is one of them. For instance, these can be used to facilitate the process of knowledge sharing making it easy for employees to execute.

4- Online storage and computing

Cloud-based solutions can provide organizations with secure, scalable, and cost-effective storage for their knowledge assets. This can help ensure that knowledge is easily accessible and available to employees whenever they need it.


Knowledge retention and preservation should be an essential practice for any organizations to help drive future growth, reduce the time needed for employees onboarding, and reduce the time needed for employees to solve already encountered matters.

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