Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Don't Let Your Most Valuable Workers Become Bottlenecks

As a management consultant who has worked with many companies to improve processes, I have found that some of the most respected people at work are employees who share their knowledge with their co-workers.

Over time, many long-term employees become subject matter experts in a certain area.  Everyone turns to them when there is an issue in their area, and they are considered valuable to the organization. 

Some of these employees hoard their knowledge under the mistaken impression that it creates job security. Since there are only so many hours in the day, they become a bottleneck in the organization.

However, the really respected co-workers take the time to document and share their knowledge with their more junior co-workers.  The result is a win-win for everyone.  The organization develops redundancy, can get tasks done in a timely matter, the junior associates build their knowledge / skills, and the experienced co-worker benefits too.

By sharing information, they enhance their expert reputation, and they are still the first ones to be approached when there are challenging problems in their areas.  At the same time, they are relieved of having to deal with more routine tasks.  The result is that the expert also grows in his job by shedding mastered tasks, and gets to work on interesting new problems.