Archive for the ‘workplace’ Category

Capturing tacit knowledge

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Organisations have both formal and informal or tacit knowledge. The first is written down in training manuals and case studies, the second floats around in employees’ heads. The risk with this is that if those employees leave, that valuable knowledge (often practical know-how) leaves too.

A photocopier company was worried about its staff training. Their copier repair guys operated solo, going on-site to fix jammed printers without much time in the office for formal training sessions. But in this process they picked up experience of specific and how to solve them. A corporate ethnographer shadowing the repairmen found that in fact they did swap tips and tricks at the favoured cafe they met for lunch. Knowledge was being transferred, just not formally.

A famous example of deliberately ‘scripting’ knowledge transfer is Steve Jobs insisting that the Pixar toilets were placed in the centre of the building so employees would be forced to interact with each other (on the way to the toilets not inside them).

Transferring knowledge from employee to employee is a way to keep tacit knowledge within the organisation. This can be enhanced by tools, like nativeye, that allow managers to capture ideas and insight from employees whenever and wherever inspiration strikes.

That tacit knowledge is then constantly being encoded in 1s and 0s and is not at risk of being lost.

Find out more about the nativeye app

Happy to help (Part II) – Monitoring the employee experience

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Recording employee experiences as they happen

Traditional Employee Engagement surveys happen once or twice a year and therefore only give a (arguably skewed) snapshot of what employees are feeling and thinking. An alternative would be to take the temperature of the organisation throughout the year, as things happen, which would:

1) capture data while it is fresh and
2) allow HR departments to tie thoughts and emotions to events.

This second benefit would get organisations closer to understanding the impact of their actions (e.g. policy changes, hirings, firings) on employees.

A feedback loop (e.g. live publishing) would encourage response rates, especially if this data was also followed up by visible action on the part of management.

That’s the vision, how might we actually achieve it?

Step 1 – Give employees the means to record their experiences

Capture in the moment employee experiences          Tie feelings and emotions to events & triggers

The nativeye app allows employees to respond using their smartphone or via iPads strategically placed around the office.

Step 2 – Play back what you are hearing to show you are listening

See our Public Assignment, Are you being served? for an example of how to do this with a closed “Employee Experience” web page

Step 3 – Take actions based on the data

This bit’s up to you!


If you are interested in conducting this type of research in your organisation, do get in touch with Ben or check out the nativeye website for more info.