Come to think about it, the amount of knowledge that passes through an organization in a lifetime is humongous. However, the question is, do organizations make the most of it?
Knowledge should never be allowed to leave an organization, especially when it is unutilized. It should stay within the organization, passed down from generation to generation, and updated as people come and go. That is why knowledge management is very important for an organization.
Ideally, knowledge management involves collecting, defining, structuring, storing, and sharing knowledge and experiences of current and past employees and leaders within an organization. If done well, it brings about an organization that is knowledgeable, innovative, and quick in decision-making. It also helps enhance new employees’ onboarding process, business processes, and employee engagement among others.
Here are some best practices that you can adopt to improve knowledge management in your organization.
Communicate the importance of knowledge management
Knowledge management can easily slip off employees’ minds if they don’t have a good reason to practice it. It is good to communicate the importance of knowledge management to your workforce, highlighting what they stand to gain from it. Employees will be compelled to practice knowledge sharing when they understand the concept better. You can also introduce knowledge management practices within the workforce. For instance, you can encourage employees to document what they have learned at the end of the day, week, or month. Have a defined way of how to structure it in the knowledge database. Employees should also be allowed to add on to it or air their opinions on the same.
Employ a reliable knowledge management tool
The ultimate objective of knowledge management should be to create systems and techniques that can be used to put the collected knowledge to good use. This should be done in a manner that aligns with the company’s business strategy.
However, Knowledge management is not as easy as it sounds. Many organizations struggle with passing knowledge within the workforce, leading to process redundancies. Adopting a reliable knowledge management tool helps organizations to better manage the information.
For better business processes, employees should be able to access knowledge whenever they need it. This tool can act as a centralized location where knowledge is easily accessible to all.
In addition, workforces are shifting to a remote setup for many organizations. Knowledge sharing should be extended to individuals regardless of where they work. For instance, if part of the workforce is working remotely, whereas the other part is working from the office, employers should ensure that employees have access to an adequate coworking space. Coworking spaces are knowledge hubs as they are a place that experts meet. If an employee working there learns something, he or she should access tools that help disseminate the acquired knowledge with the other part of the staff working remotely. Having a knowledge management tool facilitates this effectively. If you’re looking for coworking spaces in Chicago, for instance, you can partner with a contractor, such as Upsuite, or other local alternatives, that can help you make the right choice.
Extend training on the use of the tool
Having a knowledge management tool is one thing, but knowing how to use the tool is another thing. As said above, employees should be able to access this knowledge at any given time. However, if they are not able to find what they need due to a lack of knowledge of how to use the centralized location, processes will delay.
The tool should be easy to use, and adequate training should be extended to ensure that employees are able to search and find what they need easily.
Appoint a knowledge manager
Some knowledge articles could be outdated, requiring updating. Others could be obsolete, requiring to be deleted from the database. While it is important to let everyone have access and a say to the knowledge database, allowing everyone to manage it can only lead to confusion. You need a knowledgeable individual to act as a knowledge manager. He should be able to gauge the effectiveness of knowledge articles to identify those that need updating or deleting.
Improve employee engagement
Employees can withhold knowledge from the rest of the team if they don’t feel engaged in an organization. That is why it is important to improve employees’ engagement at all levels.
You can start by appreciating their contribution to the overall goals of the organization. Listen to their feedback and deeply care for their welfare. In addition, create a sense of community by bringing employees together in meetings, celebrations, and functions. Foster an environment of open communication and socializing. Employees will be willing to share and collaborate when they feel a sense of belonging.
Each piece of knowledge is important to an organization. However, it becomes useless if it is not retained, shared, and reused. It is important to capitalize on areas of knowledge gathering. As employees leave the organization, it is important to pass the best processes to the incoming individual in those positions. Make every effort to store this knowledge and to foster a culture of knowledge sharing.
Christian Kruse is an economic in marketing specialization, Strategic Consulting. With over 20 years’ experience working at the intersection of marketing and technology. A transformational leader, Kruse has held a raft of executive positions throughout his career including Chief Strategy, Data, Strategic Director for Oracle Marketing Cloud, and Responsys in America.