Emergency Knowledge Transfer process:
When every hour counts.

What It Is

A customized version of our 3-step Knowledge Transfer Solution—maximized for speed—to achieve quick, clear, and measurable reduction of the risk of critical knowledge loss when an employee departs.

Uses and Benefits


  • Create an hour by hour plan to guide your departing expert’s remaining time for knowledge transfer
  • Break down complex and technical knowledge into digestible chunks that can be learned by a replacement in 1-hour sessions
  • Teach your departing employee simple techniques for running a successful knowledge transfer session—real-time, on the job
  • Assess and prioritize the employee’s critical explicit and tactic knowledge
  • Provide the replacements and their managers with a simple metric to test if knowledge was transferred and is usable
  • Facilitate a knowledge transfer session and coach the replacements to drive as much as possible
  • Measure and track results—for accountability and clear risk-reduction – starting at the end of the first day

How it works


When your expert suddenly announces an impending departure, you need a quick and accountable process to capture and move critical knowledge into the heads and hands of remaining workers. First, we engage your team in a simple Q&A—honed over two decades of experience within numerous industries and job roles—to identify your departing worker’s unique knowledge areas (“knowledge silos”).

Within an hour we can chart these results in a simple framework—a modified Knowledge Silo Matrix (KSM)—so that you can prioritize which knowledge silos present the highest risk to your business. The prioritization drives what will be transferred first.

Then we work with your team to analyze how many available hours the departing expert has left. A standard 30-days’ notice may sound like a lot of time, but subtract vacation days to be used up and the wrap-up of other projects and the hours fall fast.

We break down the high priority knowledge into specific tasks and skills (defined as something a replacement can do and can be taught to a capable “apprentice” in about one hour). These skills get deep into the expert’s valuable tacit knowledge and wealth of experience. We write a date-driven Skill Development Plan (SDP) that lists these skills line-by-line in priority order to guide your team’s knowledge transfer actions.

Within as little as one business day, you gain a thorough plan that effectively uses each available hour between our kickoff and the expert’s last day to transfer high priority knowledge.

And—as knowledge transfer experts—we then teach your expert how to transfer knowledge and your replacement how to drive their own learning. With our techniques and planning tools, the ability to run a successful knowledge transfer session is independent of your departing employee’s social skills. We find our knowledge transfer process typically appeals to even the most introverted technical professionals, because it is methodical, logical, repeatable, and clear.

We give your remaining team a set of knowledge transfer test questions—a hallmark of our process—that quickly measures whether knowledge was transferred and can be used by the apprentice. These test questions ensure accountability. They reveal if the apprentice meets the expert’s standard of understanding needed to perform that skill independently. They also help the expert develop a list of existing resources (i.e. documentation, wikis, samples, templates, etc.) that could be available after the expert’s last day.

Managing Your Risk


A common problem for teams is that most apprentices don’t even know what they don’t know about assuming the departing expert’s responsibilities. Often, neither does the expert’s manager. With our process, by the time your expert leaves, you and your team will not only know what high priority skills and knowledge were transferred to assigned replacements, but also know what lower priority skills were not covered. The remaining risk is known and isolated. You can form a plan to address it or deem the risk at an acceptable level. Either way, no one is left guessing.

Contact us to get started now.

Read more in our blog articles:

Before It’s Too Late – Using Emergency Knowledge Transfer to Manage Talent Risk
What To Do When Critical Expertise is Departing–8 Steps for Emergency Knowledge Transfer
Emergency Knowledge Transfer (EKT) in Action: Avoiding a Common Pitfall
Retiring Workers Can and Will Take It with Them—5 Points toward an Action Plan