Friday, February 20, 2009

Survey: Web 2.0 and Social Media Tools May Help Knowledge Retention in Oil Industry

A survey of collaboration tools in the oil and gas industry conducted by Microsoft and Accenture finds that 53% of those surveyed reported that aging workers are retiring in increasing numbers, despite the economy. According to Claire Markwardt, a Houston-based partner with Accenture, employees are retiring because they still see more benefits in accepting the lump sum offered by several oil companies to employees that reach a certain age than in staying longer in their work and waiting to see their retirement plans rebound.

Even though 70% believe that collaboration and knowledge-sharing are important for driving revenue, cutting costs, and contributing to the health and safety of workers, according to the "Oil and Gas Collaboration Survey 2009," the tools primarily used to retain the knowledge and intellectual capital from retiring workers are largely older methods, such as electronic file shares (64%), databases or repositories (58%), and written documents/physical files (58%); in addition, "almost a quarter of respondents reported exit interviews as the tool used most often to capture knowledge from these workers."

Asked to suggest better means of transferring knowledge, the respondents overwhelmingly supported new collaboration technologies. The most beneficial social media tools cited were:
  • Internet portals (81%);
  • social networking sites (58%);
  • video or photo sharing (56%);
  • blogs or mini-blogs (44%); and
  • wikis (43%).
Sources: Accenture News Release (February 19, 2009); "Older Oil Workers Still Retiring Despite Economic Crisis" (February 19, 2009)

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