A question for philosophers of the ages, and an increasingly important query for every CEO of every business throughout America: What is knowledge, and how do companies use it? Rather, what happens when the workers who possess critical knowledge - the professionals who have inside intelligence about crucial operations, processes and responsibilities - leave your company?
What happens when, with all due respect for the solemnity of the occasion and the tragedy of the situation, you lose a colleague to illness or death? As a matter of corporate wellness, the answer to that challenge involves having a plan - a detailed, and dynamic, program - that experts can customize for a company that must fill this void with all deliberate speed to minimize any probable damages.
That idea is solid, in theory, while accomplishing it, in fact, is something else entirely; because the difference between the two is more than an issue of following a paper trail versus recovering a series of missing files, as if the lifeblood of a major business - including its intellectual capital, as well as its workplace culture and innovative spirit - requires nothing more than the assistance of a really good home organizer, a harmonizer of the "invisible forces" of the universe.
On the contrary, this undertaking is the exclusive domain of a select few: A talented minority that is able to identify, capture, manage, improve and automate the critical knowledge and operations required for a company to remain successful.
Please note: As a scientist, and as an executive all too familiar with the avoidable crisis that often ensue involving succession planning, I can attest to Novus Origo's prioritization of knowledge; that it is the key foundation of an organization's mission and operations, and the principal way to solve a company's most difficult problem.
One firm that specializes in this process is Novus Origo, whose emphasis on strategy - namely, creating a blueprint to lessen the fallout of the departure or unexpected loss of an employee - is a prescription for corporate wellness.
"For most companies and organizations, the potential loss of key employees - or the knowledge that they possess - does not get the proactive attention it deserves," said Paul Cevolani, President of Novus Origo. This issue frequently occurs when businesses lack the time, foresight and preparation to implement plans to properly respond to these scenarios.
This threat will worsen as the knowledge gap expands - and as the retirement of the Baby Boomers accelerates - forcing companies to proactively develop the plans to safeguard the critical information that keeps their respective businesses running on a day-to-day basis. Cevolani recommends that companies perform their own Knowledge Management Risk Evaluation Test by answering the following questions:
- If a certain expert suddenly left your company, would you be OK?
- Do you have approved succession plans in place to maintain critical operations?
- Are your current processes formally documented and easily accessible to your employees?
- Do you have organizational training programs designed to support critical operations?
- Have you evaluated your operational processes every 12 - 18 months to ensure proper efficiency?
- Are your operational processes automated to reduce expenses?
A NO answer to any of these questions may reveal a serious risk to a company's existing operations! By having a more extensive definition of the requirements for corporate wellness, and by placing a greater premium on knowledge, we can better ensure the survival of - and lower the risk of compromising the integrity of - this crucial commodity.
We need, in short, to treat this subject like the complex, multifaceted phenomenon that it is. We need to plan, preserve, protect and defend the health of companies well before disaster strikes, an irreversible catastrophe develops, or a mass exodus of essential workers leaves a company intellectually insolvent and operationally bankrupt.
Corporate wellness is not just something we should aspire to achieve; it is something we must ensure we will accomplish, and will guarantee by virtue of our words and deeds. That new beginning starts now.
About the Author
Michael D. Shaw is a columnist, biochemist and protege of the late Willard Libby, the 1960 winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He writes about a variety of subjects including wellness, health care, and business leadership.