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  • Writer's pictureDealerPILOT HR

The return of the Knowledge Drain

Years ago we worried about the loss of knowledge that would come with the potential retirement of one of the largest segments of the population - Baby Boomers. We worked hard to try and ensure that there was knowledge transfer and lots of overlap in transition.

We developed a better understanding of what Knowledge drain was. It isn't just about the hard skills required to do the tasks assigned, it is also about knowing how to handle anomalies, the "quirks" that come from our niche markets or specific customers, our culture and how we function as individual businesses. It is about the small intricacies that make our organizations who and what they are, and how we do things.

Once the fear passed and we managed to transition that knowledge, how many of us kept that knowledge transfer process intact? How many of us applied it to roles in general and not just potential retirees? It turns out, not a lot of us kept those steps intact and we are not as prepared for the next wave of "Knowledge Drain" as we could be.

In addition to having solid cross-training opportunities and a career pathing program, there are a few things that dealerships can do to protect their operations from potential knowledge drain that may stem from "The Great Resignation".

  • Get a pulse on your culture. Even if you pride yourself on a great culture with lot so learning opportunity, be sure that information sharing is truly part of what your team does everyday, on the ground, in all roles. Ask yourself this- When was the last time you saw a seasoned technician doing a specialized or uncommon repair and showing someone else how to do it? This often runs counter to pay plans, job assignments and common practice, so be sure your culture has a way to encourage and support knowledge transfer.

  • Formalize knowledge transfer. Is it time to consider a mentorship program, a succession plan or other formal means of being sure that knowledge is retained in the dealership. A solid mentorship program will include clear parameters for frequency of meetings, goals and parameters. This can be a great starting point that can have huge impact.

  • Software that supports. Having software solutions in place that provide training, easy access to records and documentation that ensures all staff have the same information, knowledge level and understanding of how your dealership operates. This is also a great place to house critical knowledge information.

The risk of knowledge drain is again upon us and the time to protect your dealership is now to avoid that drain, whether it is knowledge transfer or knowledge retention.

If you would like to know more about our software and how our team can support dealerships in avoiding knowledge drain, please email us at

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