How can you get management buy-in? According to Perry, it would first be useful to try to document the impact of the anticipated retirements and the consequences of migration of knowledge and expertise that this is likely to create. Second, if you have an opportunity, benchmark with companies that are already engaged in successful knowledge transfer strategies, such as mentoring programs. Third, take this information, put it together in a plan, and furnish this to management with some kind of projected return
Brown agrees with the importance of creating a business culture that values and promotes knowledge transfer. "One thing you really need to put into place is a culture change that values knowledge capturing and sharing," he emphasizes. "When I began my career as an engineer, it was quite common for a senior engineer, when you asked him why we'd done something, to respond with, 'Because I said so.'" The reason for this cagey reply, he soon discovered, was that people were fearing for their jobs, and they didn't want anyone else to know what they knew. "These days, though, you really need a culture that encourages knowledge transfer and knowledge sharing — to make it a part of everything they do," he concludes.