Make Optimal Use of Informal Learning and Tacit Knowledge:
- Strengthen the Bank's mechanisms for capturing, disseminating, and using tacit knowledge (for example, on-the-job mentoring, hand-over, team learning, peer-to-peer learning, and peer review) to ensure that suitably qualified staff, especially those with substantial experiential and tacit knowledge, provide their best advice to other staff at critical junctures (including about operational approaches that have worked in the past, what the lessons from failure point to, and how best to adapt global good practices from within and outside the Bank to specific local contexts).
- Strengthen the behavioral skills of staff so that informal learning both by individuals and project teams is maximized.
Bank staff report that learning by doing and person to person conversations are the most important sources of learning in operational work. A high value is placed on mentoring and learning from peers. There is concern about the learning discontinuity involved in weak handover arrangements between incoming and outgoing task team leaders.
WB: Agree. Management is committed to strengthen the use of informal learning and tacit knowledge through, for example, more systematic mentoring opportunities, increased opportunities for bite-sized learning, and strengthening staff's ability to apply knowledge about informal learning, mindsets and group effects in their day-to-day operational work.
Action 2a: Improve the capturing and dissemination of tacit knowledge
Indicator: Launch and use of Library of bite-size learning on the Open Learning Campus
Baseline: No repository of curated staff and client bite-size learning
Target: Library of bite-size learning is launched all Global Practices and Cross-Cutting Solution Areas contribute to and use bite-size learning on the Open Learning Campus
Timeline: Q2 FY17
Action 2b: Increase mentoring opportunities for staff
Indicator: Formal adoption of mentoring framework, including central coordination function, and existence of specific mentoring initiatives
Baseline: Fragmentation of mentoring programs and lack of coordination
Target: 1) Framework for mentoring is formally adopted 2) 3 mentoring programs are operational and valued by staff 3) a central coordination function for mentoring is operational
Timeline: Q2 FY17
Action 2c: Strengthen behavioral skills of operational staff to promote informal learning
Indicator: Prospective TTLs and Managers who receive relevant training
Baseline: Beyond Leadership Development Programs, behavioral skill-building is mostly ad-hoc
Target: In FY16 and FY17,400 prospective TTLs, 600 supervisors and 500 Managers are trained through modules that cover behavioral skill-building
Timeline: Q4 FY17
KM Action Plan launched to accelerate progress in the area of tacit knowledge capture and curation
Expansion of support for Communities of Practice to ensure sharing, capturing and codifying of tacit and experiential knowledge by leading experts
Expansion of Operations clinics as a forum for peer learning
Investment in social collaboration platforms to improve communication and collaboration across boundaries
KM experiments that enable more comprehensive handovers are being piloted.
The Bank has taken several measures, including the strengthening of the mentoring program, that can enhance the use of informal learning and tacit knowledge among Bank staff. While the Bank points to positive preliminary results, it will be helpful to systematically monitor the various measures and determine how meaningful and widespread their impacts are.
Excellent progress has been made on recommendation 0359. One of the primary objectives of the forthcoming Knowledge Management Action Plan (KMAP) is to accelerate progress in the area of tacit knowledge capture and curation--e.g. through improved or new project hand-over checklists, practitioner notes and peer reviews. As highlighted in the 2017 MAR Update for the Knowledge-Based Country Program evaluation, and noted in the Management Evaluation for Recommendation 0358, the KMAP will be launched in FY18, and proposes actions to address issues of Content Flow, Incentives, Connectivity, Tools and Technology, Roles and Responsibilities, and Leadership. Management will provide further updates to the Board on the KMAP and overall learning agenda in FY18.
The Open Learning Campus (OLC) now features a curated library of over 4,000 pieces of bite-sized learning compiled through direct collaborations with operational teams across all GPs and CCSAs. In particular, great strides have been made to capture tacit knowledge as bite-sized lessons that are captured systematically during the project cycle. OLC will continue expanding the curated library by packaging World Bank Group tacit knowledge into actionable learning, and incorporating external knowledge through cooperation with global development partners.. Informal learning assets are also curated and presented through WBTalks, one of three "schools" of learning within the OLC, and can lead interested learners to other programs, both formal and informal. To encourage ongoing learning, collaborative learning is supported through WBConnect and its communities of practice and peer-learning programs. Promoting access to informal learning was further enhanced in February 2017 with the launch of the OLC Mobile App on Apple and Android devices, bringing Talks content and the Learning Catalog directly to hand-held devices. Other relevant features of the OLC include monitoring and reporting on mentoring programs by integrating Chronus with OLC. Ongoing work includes a new staff learning menu to make it easier to find learning and other innovations to improve learning effectiveness provision of pedagogical and packaging support to the 7 pillars of learning endorsed by the LSG with a focus on both formal and informal learning curricula aligned to emerging business priorities, collaboration with all GPs to design curricula for joint client and staff learning, and revitalization of the M&E system to reflect industry best practices.
Operational clinics, which have recently experienced a major surge in demand, are viewed as very effective peer learning opportunities because of their relatively focused topics compared to longer courses, and their emphasis on practitioner issues and questions.
A WBG Staff Mentoring Roadmap was developed and endorsed by Management in FY16. The Roadmap outlines mentoring priorities both at corporate and unit levels, and increases access more broadly across the Bank. It also defines the role of a central function to maximize impact, and determines the incentives and success measures for delivering an effective program. Since FY16, a number of corporate mentoring priorities have been identified, including: - Mentoring for new managers program (MLM) (On-going) - GE Readiness program (February 2016) - Diversity & Inclusion Mentoring (PRISM) program (Launched in January 2017) - Cross-VPU mentoring program in Finance (Launched August 2017) - Young Professionals and Analyst programs (Design complete launch Fall 2017) - Design of mentoring materials for Directors identified by the Executive Talent Review Team (Delivered in February 2016) Feedback from program coordinators for the programs already launched suggests that the orientation and training sessions are equipping both mentor and mentee participants with the knowledge and skills to build and sustain successful mentoring relationships. As part of the program implementation, mid-cycle feedback will be sought from participants to assess progress with relationships. Feedback from the MLM mentoring program resulted in continuing the mentoring program post-pilot to 4 additional cohorts. Data from recent unit-level (demand-driven) program evaluations reveals high levels of mentor/mentee engagement, satisfaction with matches, setting specific learning goals, achieving majority of set learning goals, learning new skills useful in work from the relationship, motivation to improve performance at work. For the third year running, mentoring was included in the Talent review process as an official developmental action - for both mentors and mentees and is one of the primary mechanisms for identifying mentors and mentees for the corporate priority programs.
The central WBG Mentoring team continues to provide support and advisory services for the design and implementation of corporate priority and unit level programs, and maintain a strategic focus on mentoring in the WBG. The team also manages the online mentoring platform Chronus, which is an important vehicle for scale, tracking results and refining matches. In addition to supporting corporate and unit-level programs, the Mentoring team began work on the design and implementation of MentorConnect---a "self-service" approach to expand mentoring and provide access to individual staff who do not have the opportunity to participate in formal mentoring programs. The online Chronus platform enables the institution to scale mentoring and provide structure and training which increase the quality and outcomes of mentoring across the Bank. The pilot of MentorConnect was launched in August 2017.
Consistent with the goal of developing a stronger mentoring culture, the WBG Mentoring team sponsors annual initiatives to increase visibility and recognize mentoring contributions and excellence. The WBG once again celebrated a WBG-wide Mentoring Month (January 2017), and held its second Mentoring Matters! Awards event in June 2017.
In FY18, the Mentoring team will implement a new three-tiered Measurement and Evaluation framework. At the individual level, it will continue to gather just-in-time feedback on the value and effectiveness of training and mentoring events and programs. At the program level, it will introduce standardized mid-point and end-of-program surveys to provide better insight into what is working well - both within and across WBG mentoring programs. Finally, at the corporate level, the Mentoring team is working with the WBG Employee Engagement Survey (EES) team to determine the organizational impact of mentoring using results from the 2017 survey.
Communities of Practice are another important mechanism for capturing and disseminating tacit knowledge, and the Bank has been a leader in the development of these structures: internally among staff, and externally with our partners and other leading practitioners. See, e.g., the 2017 report "Capturing Solutions for Learning and Scaling Up: Documenting Operational Experiences for Organizational Learning and Knowledge Sharing." https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/27570. Also, see the upcoming article in the September issue of the KM4Dev Journal titled "Incentivizing Online Engagement in Communities of Practice - What works in World Bank Group Communities". There has been a substantial investment in Communities of Practice, which now exceed 250 in number, including Knowledge Silo Breakers (a GSURR initiative) and the Global Solutions Groups (formalized at the corporate and GP level).
Communities of Practice are an integral part of knowledge flows that ensure the sharing, capturing, and codifying of tacit and experiential knowledge by leading experts in the field. Members of communities of practice can ask practical questions and receive answers from their peers. They can engage in co-creating tools and templates to help others and contribute to the betterment of their field. The most successful and mature communities have developed quite complex operating models, that rely heavily on a facilitator/organizer for their activities, a recognized expert providing the direction and vision, and a core group of committed members functioning as a sounding board. To replicate this model across communities, and ensure alignment and vibrancy, a framework and a Community Management Training have been developed and implemented to prepare these key figures for their role. A community for those staff who are currently working on or are interested in starting communities of practice has also been created and developed, thus providing a fundamental aspect of peer-learning, which contributes to the strengthening of communities across the institution.
A key element in the CoP system is the Global Lead role established two years ago, which focuses on pooling and curating relevant country and global knowledge in the main solutions area, including tacit and experiential knowledge. There are currently over 90 Global Solutions Groups (GSGs) led by the Global Leads. To ensure that Global Leads would share their experiences in this new role and learn from one another, a peer-learning community was created and facilitated, which convenes primarily online, around a regular newsletter and video interviews of leading Global Leads. To assess their impact, a pilot survey was sent out to a small number of GSG members in May 2017 (operational staff in GPs). The survey results indicate that Global Leads and GSGs provide valued help through peer reviews and answers to challenges shared with peers. On-demand advisory services are provided by a corporate team and are available to those Communities of Practice and Global Leads who want to strengthen aspects of their engagement or operating model.
Finally, online social collaboration platforms are widely-recognized as an important productivity tool, improving staff's communication and collaboration. Two platforms, SPARK (internal) and Collaboration for Development (external), have been provided and broadly adopted by staff for knowledge sharing and dissemination purposes, in addition to collaboration. In addition to supporting team collaboration and information discovery, these platforms: provide virtual convening venues for communities of practice (helping to overcome geographical barriers), enable institution wide crowdsourcing of ideas and solutions, make it easy for staff to share their experiences/lessons learned and ask questions to a broader audience, and facilitate serendipitous discovery and connectivity for tacit knowledge sharing. A central corporate function has been established to ensure adoption and to highlight role models, also taking care of moderation and monitoring of the activity on the platforms.
IEG notes the progress made on building a 3000-piece "bite-sized learning" library through the Open Learning Campus (OLC) and the many steps taken to strengthen the Bank's mentoring program. Evidence that the 'use' of tacit knowledge is occurring, in addition to its capture and dissemination through OLC would be helpful. Also, each of the various channels through which informal learning takes place and tacit knowledge is conveyed (e.g., project hand-overs, peer reviews, and other forms of team and peer-to-peer learning) need to be strengthened, not just the mentoring program.
Excellent progress has been made on recommendation 0359.
On Action 2a, the Open Learning Campus (OLC) ecosystem was launched in January 2016 as an online destination for development learning that builds the leadership and technical capabilities of all development stakeholders. The OLC features a curated library of over 3,000 pieces of bite-sized learning compiled through direct collaborations with operational teams across all GPs and CCSAs. OLC will continue expanding the curated library by packaging World Bank Group tacit knowledge into actionable learning, and incorporating external knowledge through cooperation with global development partners.
On Action 2b, implementation highlights include:
Target 1: Framework for mentoring is formally adopted.
A WBG Staff Mentoring Roadmap was developed and endorsed by Management in FY16. The Roadmap outlines mentoring priorities both at corporate and unit levels, and increases access more broadly across the Bank. It also defines the role of a central function to maximize impact, and determines the incentives and success measures for delivering an effective program.
Target 2: 3 mentoring programs are operational and valued by staff.
In FY16, corporate mentoring priorities were identified and included:
- Mentoring for new managers program (MLM) (On-going)
- GE Readiness program (February 2016)
- Diversity & Inclusion Mentoring (PRISM) program (Design complete launch Fall 2017)
- Young Professionals and Analyst programs (Design complete launch Fall 2017)
- Design of mentoring materials for Directors identified by the Executive Talent Review Team (Delivered in February 2016)
Feedback from program coordinators for the programs already launched suggests that the orientation and training sessions are equipping both mentor and mentee participants with the knowledge and skills to build and sustain successful mentoring relationships. As part of the program implementation, mid-cycle feedback will be sought from participants to assess progress with relationships. Feedback from the MLM mentoring program resulted in continuing the mentoring program post-pilot to 4 additional cohorts. Additional data will be collected by a survey in Fall 2016.
Data from 3 recent unit-level (demand-driven) program evaluations reveals high levels of mentor/mentee engagement, satisfaction with matches, setting specific learning goals, achieving majority of set learning goals, learning new skills useful in work from the relationship, motivation to improve performance at work.
Target 3: A central coordination function for mentoring is operational.
- A central program team was convened to support implementation of the WBG Mentoring Program. The team consists of a program manager, a lead consultant on mentoring, and other consultants with experience in communication and other technical skills. The role of the team is to support and provide advisory services in the design and implementation of corporate priority and unit level programs, and maintain a strategic focus on mentoring in the WBG. The team also manages the online mentoring platform Chronus, which is a potentially important vehicle for scale, tracking results and refining matches.
- FY16 marked the launch of key WBG-wide initiatives: Mentoring Month (January 2016), as well as the first ever Mentoring Matters! recognition and awards event (June 2016), both designed to increase visibility of mentoring, recognize mentoring contributions and program excellence.
- For the second year running, mentoring was included in the FY16 Talent review process as an official developmental action - for both mentors and mentees and is one of the primary mechanisms for identifying mentors and mentees for the PRISM program.
One of the goals of the recently launched Agile Pilots initiative and forthcoming Knowledge Management action plan will accelerate progress in this area.