Title: Reducing risk: building the business case for investing in knowledge retention

Authors: David W. DeLong

Addresses: The AgeLab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 339 Heaths Bridge Rd., Concord, MA 01742, USA

Abstract: Research shows that executives are increasingly concerned about an ageing workforce and the increased impacts on performance due to lost knowledge. But surprisingly few initiatives have been implemented to directly manage this risk. This article contends that a major barrier to improved knowledge retention is the failure to develop an effective business case or Return on Investment (ROI) analysis for investing in solutions. It outlines six principles that will increase the chances of effectively evaluating threats and acquiring the resources needed to retain critical organisational knowledge. One important distinction made is that workforce analysis and workforce planning are not equal to an effective cost/benefit analysis that evaluates potential talent management, knowledge management, or mentoring solutions.

Keywords: lost knowledge; knowledge retention; business case; knowledge management; workforce planning; ageing workforce; risk management; talent management; workforce analysis; ROI analysis; older workers; return on investment; critical knowledge; organisational knowledge; mentoring.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHRDM.2009.023457

International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 2009 Vol.9 No.2/3, pp.294 - 299

Published online: 24 Feb 2009 *

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