Knowledge Management: The No-Frills Guide to Company-Wide Improvement
Another new employee has joined your business, and he does not understand how to perform a task.
Adam, who just joined accounting, has asked the same question Anna asked when she joined two months ago.
Now you have to show Adam the same process all over again.
It’s not easy. You have work on your plate, with looming deadlines.
What if you could create a system that could take care of onboarding new hires?
What if that system could make the work of your customer service department easier and make them more effective or help you retain the knowledge of your employees when they leave?
Knowledge management systems are the key to managing knowledge and disbursing it throughout your company.
In this concise yet comprehensive article, we’ll explore what knowledge is, and how you can manage it using efficient knowledge management systems.
Definition of Knowledge Management
In 1994, Tom Davenport, professor at Babson College and senior advisor at Deloitte Analytics, gave the most succinct definition of knowledge management. He said, “Knowledge management is the process of capturing, distributing, and effectively using knowledge.”
For your company, this can mean any process that is used to gather, analyze, share, and effectively use knowledge in a way that is easily accessible to all your employees. If you have found a way to effectively gather resources like frequently asked questions (FAQ), training documents, and other technical resources, then you are managing knowledge correctly.
Knowledge is a valuable asset. Learning to manage it properly will bring visible and measurable real-world successes to your company. Knowledge management usually involves the use of data mining to sort through large data sets to find patterns and other valuable information.
In this case, the data to be sorted through are pieces of knowledge.
It helps in the classification and clustering of usable knowledge into different groups. Finally, after data mining, the company uses a system or method of operation to move the required knowledge and make it accessible for all employees to use.
History of Knowledge Management
Various forms of knowledge management have been available throughout history. However, the clear idea of managing knowledge within a company started in the early 1990s in the management consulting space.
Two critical factors encouraged the rise of the popularity of knowledge management.
The first was organizations understanding the importance of their information and knowledge assets, and the second was the emergence of the internet as a knowledge and information-sharing tool.
Management consulting organizations soon discovered that they could use the intranet—a small subset of the internet created in-house—to transfer information within their organizations. They also discovered that they had created something of value, something they could sell to other companies, especially large organizations, to help them manage their knowledge assets.
McKinsey, a global management consulting company, first coined the term during an internal study on information handling and utilization in 1987.
In 1993, knowledge management went public at a conference in Berlin. Since then, many companies have adapted and used the term to describe the process of gathering, analyzing, and sharing data with their employees.
The Evolution of Knowledge Management
We can trace the evolution of knowledge management using several timelines.
Before the mid-1990s, people used knowledge management without using that exact term. For example, Stone Age people showed their children how to hunt; during the industrial age knowledge was shared through different forms of apprenticeship, and so on.
In the mid-1990s, the term began to get more attention. People attended conferences about sharing knowledge with their colleagues within their organizations.
By the late 1990s, many IT companies, realizing the potential of knowledge management, adopted the concept to create new products and services as “KM tools.” Around the same time, many companies began to create new, formal positions like chief knowledge officers. They also made several new programs and positioned existing programs under the knowledge management umbrella.
In the early 2000s, KM had spread out to different aspects of the industry and also became a recognized academic discipline, with several universities offering it at the master’s level.
Many companies found success using different models of knowledge management, but around the same time, several other companies disbanded their KM units. Many believe these setbacks were due to the economic downturn of the early 2000s.
Since then, web-based and content management technology have become more commonplace, taking its place in organizations of different sizes. As a result, more IT companies have profited from knowledge management software, and people are more open to the human aspect of knowledge management.
Objectives of Knowledge Management
Some objectives of knowledge management are:
- To gather, analyze, share and utilize data and information productively within an organization.
- To identify essential knowledge, categorize it, and share it with those who need it.
- To promote the dissemination of knowledge and enhance the smooth flow of knowledge in an organization.
- To ensure that staff has a clear understanding of the organizational goals and how their use of knowledge can influence the attainment of such goals.
- To transform personal knowledge into tangible assets for organizations or firms.
- To help staff understand the value of the services they render and how those services are directly tied to benefits offered to customers.
Benefits of Knowledge Management
Every organization can benefit from their staff sharing and using information. It helps them “stand on the shoulders of giants” who have tried many processes before them. Furthermore, it helps them improve existing processes and prevent mistakes.
Here are some of the benefits of using knowledge management in an organization:
It quickens the decision-making process.
When you have enough information about a process or a system, it helps you determine the best course of action to take in a shorter period.
You can go through decisions that have worked well, failed decisions, and decisions that could work in situations similar to your own. With good knowledge management, you can spend less time arguing and deciding which direction to take for tasks, and more time doing the job.
It helps improve the efficiency of tasks and processes.
Well-documented knowledge can help with strategies if your team finds it difficult to complete a task. You can use the knowledge available to you to find actions that have been taken to complete the job and improve on those actions to get a more efficient process.
If someone else or another team did it in two days using a particular process, you can find a way to do it in one day by looking at things they could have done differently, and making provisions for your team to do it differently.
It fosters innovation and growth.
Like Newton said, standing on the shoulders of giants can help you see further than you would if you were standing on your own. Likewise, your employees can develop innovative ideas by leveraging past knowledge with new information or technology.
A classic example of this was the making of the world’s thinnest watch, the Piaget Altiplano. In the search to hold the prestigious title of “world’s thinnest watch” and beat competitors like Jaeger-Lecoultre, head watchmakers made plans to make this watch in the 1950s.
But the available technology could not be used to make the watch.
They revisited plans to create the watch in 2014. This time, using the technology available, they were able to build a watch with a 3.65 mm–case thickness.
The motor vehicle was a life-changing invention, but it would never have happened without the design of the wheel thousands of years before.
Likewise, past knowledge about solving organizational problems could give current employees new ideas about solving existing problems or building more efficient systems that lead to more growth in the organization.
It increases customer service efficiency.
The innovation from shared knowledge will help companies build better products to improve customer satisfaction. Also, shared knowledge helps shorten response time and increase customer service efficiency.
Improving your customer satisfaction will make your company more competitive in the marketplace.
It helps in training new employees.
When new employees come on board, they must be inducted into the company’s current operating process and trained to work within that framework. Accumulated knowledge will prepare them to get used to how things are done and what to expect when working within the company.
Without prior knowledge of things that have worked and what has failed over time, you risk leaving tasks to the whims of the new employees.
It helps in keeping existing employees updated.
New employees are not the only ones who need training. Sometimes, you need to keep your old employees up to date with new systems that have been created as a result of knowledge accumulated over time.
Without good management of the knowledge acquired over time, it could be difficult to train your existing employees to conform to new methods.
It helps with personal employee growth.
It should be the goal of every organization to improve their employees and make them better individuals. Knowledge management allows sharing information that could help employees develop while working.
It saves cost.
Xerox Holdings Corporation is a 100-year-old company, but it has one of the most efficient knowledge management systems, called Eureka.
Eureka helped Xerox save over $40,000 when a Brazil-based employee checked the system that showed that instead of replacing a $40,000 copier, he could solve the problem by replacing a 90-cent part. The correct solution had been documented by an engineer in Canada.
Xerox reports that Eureka helped them save over $100 million in service costs in 2016.
Types of Knowledge
Before creating any sound knowledge management system, you need to understand the various types of knowledge and how they can affect the final goal of creating a knowledge base.
There are three types of knowledge.
Explicit knowledge is the easiest to explain and understand because it is easily transferable. It is measurable and structured, and it covers topics that are easy to document. In simple terms, explicit knowledge is the knowledge you can get by reading about something in a book or undergoing a training program.
If you pick up a book on how to fly a plane and read it cover to cover, you have gained explicit knowledge on how to fly a plane.
Explicit knowledge can be found in FAQs, charts, diagrams, strategy slide decks, raw data and related reports, and so on. It is easily accessible, and anyone looking for it can get it.
Benefits of explicit knowledge
- It is easily accessible, and anyone can refer to it.
- It acts as a source of collective knowledge in the company.
- It helps with quick decision-making.
Examples of materials containing explicit knowledge include:
- Onboarding materials that help new employees learn about the company and quickly adjust to their new roles.
- Code of conduct that helps both new and old employees know how to conduct themselves appropriately within the organization.
- Financial statements that help the company get new investors by demonstrating their solid financial standing.
- Market research reports help organizations create efficient sales, marketing, and customer service strategies.
Just because you have read ten books on flying a plane does not mean any reputable airline would let you try flying one of their planes. You need to combine the knowledge from the flying books with practical applications before being considered fit as a pilot.
Implicit knowledge is knowledge gotten from combining explicit knowledge with practical application. For example, organizing training programs for your employees is not enough. They have to apply this knowledge before being experientially knowledgeable about that particular thing.
Implicit knowledge is hard to teach because it is not easily documented or measurable. By bringing their own unique talent or approach, your employees can complete tasks using steps not included in your standard operating procedure (SOP).
If you find that your employee’s method of operation is more efficient than your SOP, you can have them document this knowledge for future use by other employees. This is helpful, especially if you’re focused on improving quality throughout your business.
Another issue with implicit knowledge is that you could lose knowledge when an employee leaves your company. Despite these challenges, implicit knowledge still has many benefits.
Benefits of implicit knowledge
- It leads to personal employee growth and development.
- It stimulates employee collaboration. When employees have to learn from each other, they become more unified.
- It boosts innovation among your employees. When your employees get explicit knowledge, they can add their flavor with practice and make it implicit.
Over time, implicit knowledge can evolve to become tacit knowledge. Many people use both terms interchangeably, but there is a slight difference.
Tacit knowledge is the knowledge acquired over time due to experience. It is usually informal and specific to a particular thing. A person with tacit knowledge can understand many things without being said or written. In simpler terms, it is pure wisdom gotten over time.
A negotiator who has tacit knowledge knows when to turn the heat up in negotiation and cool things down. Likewise, a customer service representative who has tacit knowledge knows the exact words to calm a specific customer where other representatives have been struggling.
Tacit knowledge is the highest level of knowledge a person can have, but it is impossible to attain without explicit and implicit knowledge. Therefore, a person has to read or listen to understand the basic principles and apply them before they can master them.
Benefits of tacit knowledge
- It helps employees learn from one another and grow in the process.
- It helps employees understand the value of learning from different perspectives.
- The returns on tacit knowledge to a company are usually exponential.
The Knowledge Management Process
The knowledge management process is a company’s set of steps or procedures to manage knowledge effectively. It allows for adequate knowledge capturing, sharing, and analysis when done right.
How Do You Develop a Knowledge Management Process?
Before you can develop a knowledge management process, you need an understanding of your existing business processes so that you can integrate knowledge management steps where they make sense.
Steps in the Knowledge Management Process
Here are the steps you should follow to create a solid knowledge management system:
This is the first stage of the knowledge management process. It involves the extraction of information from data that could be used in building strategy in your organization. You could use data mining for this extraction.
Data mining helps sort data and identify patterns within large data sets in an organization. The entire discovery process involves finding out what data sets would be necessary for managing knowledge.
Capturing is the process of acquiring the knowledge you possess as an organization. This includes personal, team, and organizational knowledge of processes, methods, and conducts. When you capture knowledge, you can document it to benefit future operations in your business.
You can capture knowledge by conducting an audit to know where there are knowledge gaps and encouraging your staff to fill up those gaps with their knowledge.
The rules for organizing knowledge depend on the organization. For example, you could organize all sales-related knowledge in one database and all engineering-related expertise in another.
You could break it down even further by teams or units within the same department or by programs, equipment, tools, and processes various groups work within a given department.
The organization stage is also where you sort through all pieces of knowledge and cut out duplicates so that the information doesn’t appear daunting. Knowledge organization makes it easily accessible to people who need it most.
You need to verify every piece of knowledge you have acquired at this stage. This validation boosts your confidence in the available knowledge and helps you make reliable business decisions.
Validation of your gathered knowledge usually involves working with experts to verify that your documented knowledge is correct, sound, and up to date.
Sharing knowledge involves making knowledge available to everyone within the organization. You could use a knowledge management software for this stage.
As you work on this stage, the goal should be to ensure the available knowledge is easily accessible to everyone—not just top executives but everyone who needs to use it.
Knowledge reuse or application happens when an employee takes the documented knowledge and uses it to solve a problem, complete a specific task, communicate better with teammates, or build even better processes or strategies.
This is the stage where the documented knowledge comes to full use.
This is when employees or teams add what they have learned through information exchange, practice, and other experiences to the knowledge management system. This information can then be analyzed, verified, and reused by other employees and teams in the organization.
The Knowledge Management Life Cycle
When new knowledge is born, it is largely untested and unverified. It has to go through the process of analysis, verification, and reuse before it is considered sound knowledge. The knowledge management life cycle shows the phases knowledge has to go through before being regarded as good knowledge within an organization.
The knowledge management life cycle is related to the knowledge management process. Here are the specific stages a knowledge management process has to go through in the knowledge cycle.
Knowledge is created as people find new ways to do things or gain more experience as they practice old knowledge. At this point, explicit knowledge is shaped to become more implicit or tacit.
At this stage, only a few people (or just one person) are aware of the knowledge being created and may find it hard to describe it in clear terms. The knowledge created is still at its early stages and would need some refining before it can be adapted.
Companies need to be open to receiving knowledge at this stage, or many innovations will die. Do not dismiss knowledge created at this level because the people involved are having a hard time defining it.
To create an environment where employees feel free to build knowledge, companies and organizations should set a few things in place:
- The management of an organization should create rewards for people who are willing to develop new knowledge. Also, there should be training programs for people looking to adopt new knowledge.
- There should be knowledge-based tools used remotely by the company and accessible through its intranet or internet to allow employees to share their new knowledge with other staff.
- The company should hire people who are willing to adopt new knowledge.
Knowledge mobilization is the stage where you take the knowledge created and put it to use in your organization.
By doing this, you improve the value of the knowledge, build on it and make it more usable and valuable in the company. The refining process of knowledge takes place during this stage, and companies should be careful to guard their intellectual property.
At this stage, the company should:
- Engage experts to use the created knowledge and determine if it is usable. These experts can also suggest areas to work on or build upon.
- Expose the created knowledge to more staff using collaboration-based tools.
The knowledge created and mobilized will be spread even further at this point. This knowledge will be diffused out to firm customers who value attaining said knowledge.
Some things to note before and during this stage:
- It is easier to transfer and adapt standardized knowledge, so organizations should be more involved in employee training and ensure they apply this knowledge.
- The information should be accessible using external knowledge databases to diffuse the knowledge.
- Brands can use this stage to improve their image and competitive advantage by launching PR campaigns to share product and service values.
At this stage, the created knowledge has diffused completely, and the organization must work to maintain it. Even at this stage, there is still a good chance to extract value from the already diffused and commoditized knowledge.
Knowledge Management Tools
Knowledge management tools are systems that organizations use for sharing and analyzing knowledge.
Some examples of knowledge management tools are:
Document Management Systems
A document management system is software used for capturing, organizing, tagging, approving, and completing tasks with your business documents. Most document management systems also help with history tracking, i.e., storing all modified or edited versions of a document.
With history tracking, people using the system can tell what has been changed and edited in a business file, and this helps them make better, more informed decisions.
Some benefits of using document management systems for knowledge management are:
- They help the organization save paper. Companies make a lot of modifications or changes to their business file, and trying to keep all of them physically would mean more paper and storage space. Document management services help reduce the amount of paper required to store knowledge in business files.
- They help the organization save money. For example, less paper and less storage space mean less money spent on keeping knowledge records.
- They increase the ease of access to all documents. They are easier to access and go through than paper files.
Content Management Systems
Content management systems (CMS) include software used to create, manage and distribute content within the company’s local network.
Content management systems usually have essential characteristics that make it easy for knowledge to be created in content form and shared throughout the organization.
You can delete, edit, and modify content on the internet or intranet without knowing a single thing about how to code in HTML, CSS, or other coding languages.
With content management systems:
- You can create, edit, delete and modify content without knowing how to write code.
- You can tag content with metadata to make it easier to find and retrieve.
- Your team can collaborate to build content for your knowledge management system.
- You can use templates provided by the content management system to create and publish your content.
The kind of CMS you use for your business depends on your business needs. For this reason, you must have some features you look out for before you start using any software as your CMS.
Keep in mind that CMSshould be:
All your team members should find your CMS easy to use, even without being tech-savvy. If you use a complex platform to operate, you will have difficulty getting your team members to document their knowledge, stifling the knowledge creation process.
Your content management software should have customization options like themes, plug-ins, etc., so that you can customize it to suit your company’s taste. Fortunately, many CMS have this feature.
Your chosen CMS should be mobile-friendly to allow your team members the opportunity to create, modify, and edit on the go. If your CMS only operates on desktops, you will have a knowledge creation problem because people only make updates when they are in the office.
A CMS should have many other features, like easy scheduling and improved security.
Examples of standard content management systems include WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, and Joomla.
A wiki is a piece of software that helps people create, edit, collaborate, and share content in an organized way within the internet or an intranet. It acts as a central knowledge base for all employees where anyone can collectively store knowledge and edit it if need be.
You can find important documents like FAQs, checklists, training records, company policies, and shared logins on wiki tools.
Importance of Wiki Tools in an Organization
- Wiki tools allow for quick onboarding of new employees.
- They boost communication and collaboration among employees in the organization.
- They help retain knowledge for people looking to learn a few things to complete a task.
It is estimated that employees spend almost 20% of the average workweek looking for knowledge to help them complete a task. Wiki tools make it possible for employees to share knowledge and boost productivity.
Examples of standard wiki tools to consider in your organization include Confluence Wiki, Bit.ai, Helpjuice, and DokuWiki.
An intranet is a vital tool in knowledge management. It is a small-scale version of the internet within the firm. Simply put, it is the internet that only members of an organization have access to.
An intranet plays some critical roles within the organization, some of which are:
- It provides remote news about the firm to the staff of an organization.
- It allows for seamless navigation between documents and documented knowledge on tools in the organization.
- It will enable staff to record knowledge that other members of the team can easily access.
A data warehouse is an extensive collection of data companies use to make important business decisions.
A data warehouse is a data repository where information comes from three or more sources in a structured, unstructured, or semi-structured manner. The data warehouse stores all the information in one database for ease of access.
A data warehouse is suitable for organizations that need simple technology to access knowledge, teams that use customized and complex processes to obtain data from multiple data sources, and companies that need to analyze large data sets and find hidden patterns in data flow and groupings.
Benefits of using a data warehouse include:
- It makes it easier to access critical data and knowledge from all sources in the same place.
- It helps to integrate all sources of knowledge in one place.
- It reduces turnaround time for knowledge analysis.
Examples of data warehouses are MarkLogic, Amazon RedShift, Oracle, and Big Eval.
Real-World Application of Knowledge Management
Knowledge management is not just conceptual. It has real-world applications.
This section will go through some real-world knowledge management applications in companies.
Employee onboarding is the process of integrating a new employee with the company culture and giving them all the tools and information required for them to settle in and be productive in their new position.
The employee onboarding process has many benefits. One study shows that organizations with a good onboarding process can improve employee retention by 82% and increase productivity by up to 70%.
For this reason, you must be careful about how you provide knowledge to new employees, as that could affect how well they adapt to their new position. Knowledge management, when done right, can make the onboarding process smooth.
How knowledge management helps employee onboarding:
- First, it ensures that the information needed to align your new employees with their new roles is well documented, updated, and easily accessible. This information includes SOPs, mission and vision statements, core values, etc.
- It also ensures that the information required by older colleagues to assist the new employees is available and easily accessible to them.
- It empowers new employees to contribute to the knowledge creation process.
Internal communication is a crucial factor in building your organization’s productivity. When your teams can communicate and share ideas, your company will solve more problems and increase innovation.
Knowledge management is critical in building internal communication between team members. If you can create, analyze, and share knowledge the right way, you can boost the internal communication between sections in your company.
You can boost internal communication using knowledge management in the following ways:
- Encourage everyone to put down ideas. Make it clear that every opinion is welcome, even if you are not in a particular team or unit.
- Make knowledge accessible to everyone within a team.
- Be open to innovation, even from the most unlikely places. Do not discriminate among lower-level employees. Instead, give everyone a chance to make innovations if they find an opportunity.
Customer service is another critical driver of organizational growth. Being customer-friendly will help your company attract more customers and make you more competitive. Having the proper customer service process will make this easy.
Some typical key performance indicators (KPIs) that knowledge management improves are first call resolution rate and average handling time. Improving these KPIs will boost your competitive advantage and improve your customer retention rate.
How does knowledge management make this happen?
First, it prevents information overload. For example, suppose you run an organization that offers hundreds of services or sells many goods. In that case, you want to ensure your customer service representatives have access to all the information and can sort through them quickly to give the customer the information they need promptly.
Next, it prevents conflicting information from reaching the customer. Inconsistent information dissemination is reduced when the same kind of knowledge is accessible to all customer service representatives.
Finally, it ensures that old, unusable information is taken out so that customers are always given updated information.
A Short Customer Success Story
Jacob Syrytsia, chief executive officer at AEJuice, supercharged his productivity using the power of a robust knowledge base.
His company specializes in video production, providing a drag-and-drop feature that simplifies the video creation process.
They weren’t getting enough buy-ins from customers because of knotty unstreamlined business processes.
Customer service is a big part of his business. But in the absence of a knowledge base that his team could refer to, Jacob was always explaining things to his team. His explanations, however, only sprouted more questions.
Jacob said, “We had the support team and it was growing. We didn’t have any documented procedures for internal processes and it was pretty painful when somebody joins and you have to explain it all over again.”
Luckily for him, a tutor in his online course recommended SweetProcess. By creating assets using SweetProcess, he was able to go on a vacation for the first time without the roof caving in.
Onboarding time was reduced drastically.
Whenever someone new joined their team, he would just point them in the direction of the content they needed, and this made onboarding much easier for him.
Jacob said, because of SweetProcess, he “can now spend more time on bigger problems.”
Stakeholders involved with knowledge management
There are two kinds of stakeholders involved with knowledge management: primary and secondary stakeholders.
The primary stakeholders are the knowledge workers, management, and customers.
The knowledge workers are frontline engineers, customer service representatives, or analysts who have to use that knowledge every day to solve problems or attend to customers’ questions.
Management staff members are key stakeholders because they help retain knowledge and effectively educate new employees. When employees leave, the management is tasked with retaining knowledge for the following employees.
The customers are primary stakeholders because they are directly impacted by the use of information in the organization. They get good products and services when the right knowledge is passed through the organization.
Secondary stakeholders are the investors, competition, and government.
The investors are impacted if the company’s bottom line is affected due to the management of knowledge within the company.
The competition can learn from the success or failure of knowledge management in your organization. Likewise, your organization could learn the same from another organization.
The government also indirectly benefits from the increase in productivity that comes with the proper knowledge management process. More revenue for the company means more tax revenue for the government.
Other Departments That Benefit From Knowledge Management
Usually, the IT and HR departments are the major players responsible for knowledge management initiatives. However, other departments can benefit from knowledge management.
Technically, every department that uses knowledge to solve daily problems and finish tasks needs good knowledge management.
That means every department in an organization benefits from knowledge management.
How to Build a Knowledge Management System
Some main points to consider when building a knowledge management system are:
Sourcing for Information and Data
Before you can start collecting information, you need to know what you are looking for. Look through support tickets and other feedback channels to see what your customers and other key stakeholders are having issues with.
After you have determined what you want to collect information about, you can start collecting data. Then, you can get your experts to weigh in on different situations based on your data. Also, encourage your lower-level staff to add their input.
You can do all these using the knowledge management tools listed above.
Organization of Information
Organization of information is also called segmentation. You put data in different segments where they can be easily located to answer questions. This can only be done after the information has been analyzed and verified as authentic.
Knowledge management tools also come into play in this stage of organization and segmentation.
You can organize by creating umbrella topics and putting bits of knowledge under those topics. You can also ensure that there are quick links to popular segments and issues so that people can find them easily.
Analysis and Optimization of the System’s Performance
At this stage, you must analyze the system’s performance as a whole. Use surveys and other feedback methods to determine if the system works perfectly to provide solutions. Also, get experts to test it.
Look closely at the system’s speed, bounce rates, and page session times to determine what works well and what doesn’t.
Updating the System Regularly
Knowledge increases and grows over time. You need to update your system with the newly acquired knowledge as these changes occur.
As your team finds new ways to solve old problems, as your executives find new methods of training employees, as your customers request new information, or as your competition implements new systems, ensure you keep your system updated on all required changes.
Challenges of Knowledge Management: Why Knowledge Management Sometimes Fails
Knowledge management can sometimes fail when it is not done correctly. There are a few challenges every organization must be aware of, and managers must tackle them to operate a smooth, accessible, and reliable system.
Adopting New and Ever-Changing Technology
The nature of technology is that it is constantly growing and evolving, and it will continue to be that way. As a key manager in an organization with knowledge management, you should be willing to adopt new and evolving technology for ease of use and better operations.
Failing to adopt new technology means that your organization misses updates to make the knowledge management process faster and easier.
Motivating Your Employees to Share Knowledge and Learn New Things
If employees refuse to share knowledge, you can’t have a complete knowledge management system. Many employees find it challenging to share their processes with others, and some don’t think their knowledge is worth sharing.
Also, some people are okay with what they are used to and don’t want to change it. Therefore, as a knowledge manager, you have to motivate your employees to share knowledge and adopt new processes.
Securing Your Organization’s Knowledge
You wouldn’t want your company’s data to fall into the wrong hands. You want your company’s knowledge to be shared within the proper channels.
To do this, you can use permissions and various levels of security to ensure information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
Making Information Easily Accessible
Many knowledge management systems are too complex for staff in an organization, so many of them just avoid it altogether.
As a knowledge manager, you should use management tools and software that your staff can easily use and understand.
Constantly Updating Information
As time goes by and things change in the organization and industry, you need to update your knowledge management system.
Choosing the right knowledge management tools and software makes it easy to update knowledge as a knowledge manager constantly.
Knowledge Management Best Practices
To ensure that your knowledge base is efficient and that you get the best results, you should be aware of some best practices.
The best practices include the following:
Content Management Systems
Content management systems are software that makes it easy to create, edit, publish, archive, and distribute content.
Some of the best practices to adopt when using a CMS are:
- Set a clear goal for the system.
- Encourage your staff to update the system.
- Verify and validate the content.
- Choose a good web host.
- Use the proper security measures.
Expertise locators are systems used to find experts on particular subjects, using documents like employee resumes, employee self-identification of areas of expertise, and algorithmic analysis of electronic communications from and to the employee.
Some of the best practices to adopt when using an expertise locator are:
- Upload the correct documents and information.
- Create forms for employees to fill out and identify their areas of expertise.
Lessons learned databases are databases that capture specific tasks from more experienced employees who have done them before.
Some of the best practices to adopt when using lessons learned databases:
- Encourage your experts to share information on the database.
- Verify information uploaded on the database.
Communities of Practice (CoPs)
Communities of practice are groups of individuals who come together virtually to discuss, share ideas, and talk about lessons learned.
Some of the best practices to adopt when using CoPs are:
- Create ways to keep the CoP fresh and vital.
- Decide on rules that keep an item in a CoP and what causes it to be removed.
How SweetProcess Helped pLink Leadership
Established in 2013, pLink Leadership, an entirely virtual team, had its members spread all across the United States.
Although the leadership had a vision, there were many moving parts, and they quickly became overwhelmed.
Jennifer Schneider, chief design officer at pLink Leadership, enthusiastically tasked herself to create assets that would improve how work was done in their company.
Her enthusiasm would be doused.
She wrote an 85-page document, only for the procedures she had written to soon become obsolete.
In desperation, she did a Google search for software she could use to create assets that could handle her team’s fast-paced culture. She stumbled on SweetProcess, signed up for a free trial, and just like that, she was able to transform her team’s efficiency.
Right away, she said SweetProcess’s user-friendly interface stood out for her.
The benefits, apart from an intuitive user interface?
The team was able to drastically cut down onboarding time. Rather than waiting until new employees “caught on,” leadership could simply point them in the direction of the instruction they needed to complete their tasks more confidently and more quickly.
The knowledge base she created helped to save time, and Jennifer readily admits that SweetProcess will help their business become scalable.
What would it feel like if you could improve your customer service experience using SweetProcess?
What would it feel like if you could be more productive and answer fewer questions from new employees?
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Also, here’s a free guide to help you choose knowledge management software.