Organisational memory loss – what are the real costs?

Not many organisations understand the full costs associated with employee turnover. In fact, the price of organisational memory loss (OML) due to staff departing, can be equivalent to anywhere from one month, to several years’, salary of an employee. And so, it’s essential for a company to try and mitigate such losses – but how?

Firstly, what exactly is organisational memory?

In the broadest sense, it’s the ability of a person to acquire, retain and retrieve knowledge in a work environment. This includes the collective ability of staff members to use appropriate knowledge and information at a certain level of skill. Put simply it’s the combined experience and understanding of employees of how the business works.

Picture, for example, an executive assistant who has been with a business for 20 years. He or she has been using different versions of archives, electronic databases, filing systems, indexing and data capturing methods over the years, as the business evolved. The assistant has a bank of knowledge that has been acquired by functional, context-specific, first-hand experience – which cannot be learned from a textbook.

So, what is organisational memory loss?

It’s when someone such as the above-mentioned executive assistant finally decides to retire – taking with them their years of experience of how parts of the business has been run. And so, OML can actually damage a company’s competitive advantage because expensively acquired experience is lost overnight. Perhaps more impactful is the fact that the company has to relearn or reteach existing processes – at a further cost.

Unfortunately, staff churn is sometimes unavoidable. Fortunately, there are measures that you can take to safeguard procedures and processes in the business against OML – particularly within the administrative space.

How to minimise the impact of OML

Efficient document management can protect your business processes from OML. By outsourcing records management to a professional third party means there will be someone to help you every step of the way when it comes to protecting and retrieving important files – which will go a long way in limiting the effect of staff turnover on the central administrative functions of your business.

A professional company will assist you with the design and development of a unique classification system and tailored document management solutions, to ensure ongoing effectiveness in your business.  So, make sure you’re in a position to curb institutional brain drain by making that call today!