Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

October 12, 2016 

By Michelle Branigan

We’ve all done it. Spent considerable time working on a key document or spreadsheet only to forget where we saved it, and had to start again. Or gone to ask for advice from a subject matter expert in the company only to realize he /she has retired — along with the 30 years of tacit knowledge in their head that’s not all captured “in the files.”

The demographics and changing dynamics of the Canadian workforce pose both opportunity and risk for organizations. Risk comes in the form of the loss of knowledge that is unique to the business — legacy systems, innovations, trouble shooting, etc. — the loss of which could have significant implications for business competitiveness, productivity, and even health and safety.

This highlights more than ever the need for companies to look at how they manage the knowledge in their organization. Knowledge management (KM) is essentially the ability of a business to create, share and use the collective knowledge of its products, processes and people to increase workplace productivity and reduce activities that reinvent the wheel.

A knowledge management strategy is simply a plan that describes how an organization will manage its knowledge better for the benefit of that organization and its stakeholders.

Knowledge and information can leak in all sorts of ways and at all sorts of times. To make sure that essential knowledge is retained by an organization requires a range of techniques (from traditional information management tools such as shared drives, to more modern techniques such as company blogs), that can be employed to ensure that knowledge is not only stored but transferred.

Many of these tools are simple and trying them out requires nothing more than the desire to try something new. Undertaking them effectively requires effective — sometimes advanced — facilitation and communication skills. Other tools are more complex, and call for significant planning and resources if they are to be delivered effectively.

Strategies and actions to ensure that knowledge is transferred and retention efforts are a more integral aspect of workforce planning and management activities include:

  • engaging strong commitment to oversee knowledge transfer and retention activities and to develop incentive structures that promote knowledge sharing within and across work teams
  • opening up hierarchical frameworks and bureaucratic divisions and boundaries to promote horizontal knowledge and information sharing
  • creating specific opportunities for younger workers to enter into coaching, shadowing or on-the-job mentoring programs with experienced older employees and/or take on projects that stretch capabilities and transfer critical organizational knowledge
  • valuing and rewarding knowledge transfer in planned work outcomes and performance appraisals
  • using job redesign to create “special skill and knowledge transfer” roles that call on particularly skilled employees to undertake special organizational knowledge, history and skill development projects or training, mentoring or coaching based activities
  • using team based approaches to managing long term projects and good recordkeeping practices to ensure effective transfer of knowledge between existing and exiting employees

Below are four steps to implement a people-based KM/KT strategy.

1. Prioritize positions where knowledge needs to be preserved

This involves identifying positions where the knowledge held is of high strategic importance and the expected rate of attrition is high. A common gauge of importance is that a particular person or group’s absence from the workplace would be quickly noticed. Other factors that make a person or a group valuable include their understanding of organization critical procedures and methods; the holding of expert knowledge of key equipment or key business tools; their relationships with key stakeholders; their role as a facilitator of knowledge exchange already within the organization, and their specific experience of local conditions and other options.

2. Identify critical at-risk knowledge for each position

Once you have identified the positions, people or groups on which to focus knowledge retention efforts, consider the specific types of knowledge these individuals possess and what the impact will be if these are taken away (e.g., ability to perform all tasks related to management of budget, relationships with major clients, knowledge of system shortcuts, expert ability to research new information, and so on).

3. Prioritize techniques for transferring and managing knowledge

A knowledge management strategy may encompass a range of specific activities such as the coordinated development of codification based systems such as databases, internets, intranets and expert software and process mapping. More importantly for workforce managers, the strategy could include people-based activities such as mentoring, training, job shadowing, succession planning, inclusion of knowledge sharing commitments in performance agreements, establishing communities of practice, conducting social network analysis, and developing knowledge maps.

4. Build a plan of action for each potential initiative

For each knowledge transfer and retention activity identified, establish a business case or statement of organizational need that examines the cost of doing nothing and identifies a means of measuring the results for those projects that are to proceed.

Research by Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) has shown that over a third of the industry does not have knowledge transfer tools and processes in place. Don’t wait until your corporate memory is lost. Identify the needs within your organization, find a champion to lead change, establish performance indicators, and ensure that you measure the effectiveness of the implementation plan so that you can perform any necessary corrective measures through continuous monitoring and improvement.

To read EHRC’s Knowledge Management & Transfer Report visit: http://electricityhr.ca/kmat/.

Michelle Branigan is CEO, Electricity Human Resources Canada; http://electricityhr.ca.

 


 

The EPLAN AdvantageWhat is EPLAN?

One platform, multiple solutions – the Eplan Platform offers engineering software such as Preplanning for systematic preliminary planning, Electric P8 for preparing circuit diagrams and Pro Panel for 3D enclosure planning, all from a single source. Standardised interfaces and integration processes enable continuous data flows throughout the value chain, with additional links to various system solutions from Rittal.

This year, EPLAN has introduced its new EPLAN Platform 2022 to help address challenges in the design, engineering and manufacturing phases of the panel building process...

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Changing Scene

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The Ontario Electrical League (OEL) is celebrating 100 years of reliability within the electrical ...
ECAO and NECA have announced that on January 1 ECAO officially joined NECA as their 119th Chapter. ...
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British Columbian organizations developing low-carbon building solutions can now apply for a third ...
More and more businesses, industries and people are going ‘grid independent.’ This means Licensed ...
CSA Group, a global leader in Testing, Inspection and Certification, has announced the opening of a ...
Sense announced a new standards-based open source effort to enable software to ...
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EIN NECA ECAO 400ECAO and NECA have announced that on January 1 ECAO officially joined NECA as their 119th Chapter. Executive Director Graeme Aitken joined NECA CEO David Long on LinkedIn Live to announce the partnership.

Given the similarities between the two organizations, ECAO is looking to create more opportunities for its electrical contractor members and this further collaboration will allow them to facilitate that. As well as drawing on the educational opportunities that NECA can offer.

“What we’re looking for is integration, professionalism, but most importantly to expand our community."

Read more


 

Canadian Electrical Contractor Discussion Group: Can You Count the Deficiencies?

EIN CECD 400Have you ever been called to fix the work of a 'handyman'?

"Was supposedly done by a"certified ' electrician....told the homeowner that he got a $266 permit....no record at TSBC. Can you count the deficiencies?"

"There is a second panel change in the triplex also.......even more deficiencies. Think the guy was a glorified handyman. Ones not obvious: 240 BB heat hooked up 120....drier on 2p20....range on 2p50....water heater fed with 2c14 Bx on 2p15."

Go HERE to join the discussion

 


 



 

 ESABy Blake Marchand

This technical Q&A was done as part of ESA’s annual Licence Holder Meeting on November 18th. A recording of the entire meeting is available online. The technical Q&A began with a general overview of ESA’s top 5 changes provided to the 2021 Canadian Electrical Code by Malcom Brown. 

Following that, Brown goes through a number of questions submitted by LECs (Licenced Electrical Contractors), covering several topics, including EV energy management systems, GCFI and AFCI protection, nuisance tripping for washing machines and microwaves, smoke alarm requirements, and common inspection defects.

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Product News

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Mercmaster™ LED Luminaires deliver exceptional efficiency, performance and advanced engineering. ...
The SSW Series of Sealed Screwless Wall Plates from SensorSwitch™ is designed to protect wall ...
The Fluke TiS75+ thermal camera offers features to help tackle almost anything teams face in the ...
The M18 FUEL™ 1/2" Hammer Drill is one of the industry's most powerful brushless battery powered ...
Klein Tools introduces the KTB1000 Portable Power Station, providing up to 1500W of continuous ...
Eureka announced the release of its Billie large-scale architectural luminaire. With its ...
The Amprobe BT-250 Circuit Breaker Tester works on powered systems from 90 to 250 V AC and is ...


Gator Hard CutterGreenlee, part of Emerson’s professional tools portfolio, introduces the new ESG45LX Gator Hard Metal Cutter, a tool solution for the high-voltage industry, featuring an industry-first shock-load damping system that minimizes released energy while making cuts.

The ESG45LX is ideal for overhead one-handed operation and cuts up to 1/2-inch Rebar (Schedule 60) and EHS Guy Strand and 5/8-inch Ground Rod and Standard Guy Strand. It has a compact, lightweight design, weighing less than eight pounds with battery, and is 33 percent lighter than an earlier model thanks to a redesigned flip-top style latch that reduces overall weight.

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Peers & Profiles

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As of February 2021, Martin Stephenson is the new President and CEO of Signify Canada.   ...
This past July, Kerith Richards, who has worked for Service Wire Company for the last seven years, ...
EngWorks was formed in 2004 as an electrical engineering and consulting firm by Allan Bozek, “After ...
Headquartered in Concord, Ontario, Mercury Lighting services national retail, ...
Among the recipients of the 2021 Clean50 Awards announced last month is Carolina Gallo, Vice ...
Sarah Silverstein is a principal with Liteline along side her two brothers Mark and Daniel. ...


Watt's The WordBy Blake Marchand

Watt’s the Word is a recently launched Electrical Industry Podcast hosted by Zack Hartle and Jason Cox, who are Electricians and Electrical Trade Instructors at SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology).

Cox is a Calgary based Alberta Master Electrician; he’s been an instructor for the past 15-years with a Master of Education, specializing in adult education. He also gets on the tools volunteering every year for the Calgary Folk Festival electrical crew. “I’m interested in education obviously, and we’re hoping to connect our industry, its such a large vast industry,” he said about the podcast.

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