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A.C. Almeida, L. Teixeira, M. Oliveira

University of Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
A big concern in seeking to understand the importance of knowledge management initiatives (KMI) within organizations is shown by the wide range of existing literature on the subject. There is thus a wide range of literature that discusses different approaches when it comes to identifying, capturing and transferring knowledge in a company. In all, there is a common shared belief concerning the importance of knowledge management as a strategy for the efficiency of processes, including those linked to innovation. These initiatives are becoming more and more popular so as to ensure more effective decision making and to ensure also that important knowledge is kept within the business even when employees leave. Knowledge management is important for taking advantage of existing expertise and/or for stimulating growth and innovation. In fact, knowledge is considered the most important criterion for success and competitive advantage in the XXI century. In effect, the need to implement KMI with strategic methodologies is becoming a reality when it comes to obtaining an advantage and the good results that an efficient implementation can bring.

This study aims to implement a knowledge academy in an industrial company (named in this work as company A) and learn the best practices for future implementations. The investment made to implement this knowledge academy that aims to identify, collect and transfer knowledge is based on responding to the challenges felt in recent years, in industrial organizations:
• Exit of skilled employees with deep business and specific operational knowledge (due to restructuring);
• Risk of losing additional key knowledge holders due to retirement in coming years;
• Knowledge is mostly resident in key peoples’ minds instead of in a knowledge repository;
• Difficulty in passing business specific knowledge to younger people because of a lack of formal transfer programs and a willingness to teach by senior employees;
• The departure of qualified employees with operational and critical knowledge of the organization;
• The risk of loss of senior employees due to retirement who have key knowledge for the success of the organization are reasons that allied to the fact that this knowledge is only resident in the minds of people, there are no formal transfer or capture programs.

The knowledge academy implementation aims to:
• Align talent management with the business;
• Retain and minimize the loss of constitutional knowledge and memory;
• Predict gaps in critical skills and competencies;
• Design more effective development programs and recruiting strategies based on accurate profiles of the needed critical talent;
• Develop employees to be fully equipped with the right technical and behavioral skills;
• Assure the transversal and standard knowledge sharing for all employees in all regions where a company is represented.

This study gathers relevant information about the topics of knowledge management, contributing both from a theoretical point of view as well as for industrial applications (practitioners). The methodology used to capture and transfer knowledge, taking into account the main lessons learned during the implementation of a knowledge academy into company A, is presented herein and best practices in all the phases are mentioned and discussed. The implemantation of knowledge academy is based on capturing knowledge, documenting knowledge, developing training materials, training the trainers and evaluating the training.