Knowledge management could be defined as the systematic process of identifying, creating, organizing, maintaining, and distributing knowledge or experience with the other employees within the company you are working for.
Knowledge management has a huge role in ensuring the success and growth of a company or organization. The objective of knowledge management is to refine the efficiency of your company as well as maximizing the application of knowledge acquired by your employees or coworkers. Shared knowledge and expertise will also enhance the performance of specific sectors in a company. With the reliance on more secure knowledge and information, it may also promote better decision making throughout all the processes done. Having well-managed knowledge within an organization may also lead towards mutual understanding of how a certain process works hence preventing any unnecessary misunderstanding or miscommunication that will affect the performances of the company.
This article will provide you eleven best practices that may help your company to boost your knowledge management.
1. Assimilation of Knowledge Management Programs
Most people is not aware of the needs of being instilled with knowledge management. Employees, especially, deemed knowledge management not important because it is outside of their job scope. Hence, it is crucial to start your knowledge management program step-by-step, starting from the most focused level, individual.
Managers should approach their employees, surveying how much they understand about knowledge management and the importance of sharing knowledge. From there, you may gradually move into broader aspects, moving to the overall needs of the company. In ensuring the efficiency of the knowledge management program, it is more recommended to assimilate the program alongside the daily operation of your company instead of treating it as a separate matter to attend to. Seeing too many obligations may hinder employees’ willingness to contribute their best to the program. Thus, the program should be done alongside everyday operations.
2. Sending Your Employees to Workshops
There are countless of seminars or workshops organized by private organizations. The purpose is to expose managers or employees to effective practices in managing knowledge within an organization. Attending seminars outside may even simultaneously promote shared knowledge with different organizations who also join the course.
Whenever you are invited to any reliable workshops, it is recommended to send your employees to attend them. Some costs may need to be invested to send your employee however the knowledge gain may be beneficial in further growing your company. There are various approaches to dealing with private organizations’ seminars. You may send only a few employees to different seminars. This will maximize the acquisition of knowledge that could be brought back and shared with the other employees. Rotating the employees’ turn in attending seminars is important to prevent pressure and stress among employees. Be strategic in sending your employees.
3. Conducting Training
This is one of the most common ways to tap into knowledge sharing within an organization. It involves the direct transmission of knowledge from the original knowledge holder. It may be done in a small group or even in a larger group, depending on the type of subjects focused on.
The tutor may the ones who have more experiences in the said subject or senior employees who are knowledgeable on the subject emphasis. Besides those, asking employees who just return from workshops or seminars may also work. They can share the useful knowledge acquired from the seminars with their coworkers.
The pros of conducting training is that confusion or questioning may be attended to immediately. Real-time issues may be looked into hence brainstorming sessions may be done to think of the measures in handling the issues.
4. Documentation of All Knowledge
There are many ways to acquire knowledge such as joining courses outside or conducting coaching within a company. Many knowledge and experience are shared during the courses. However, the process does not stop there!
All knowledge gained should be followed up with documentation and reports. By doing so, the acquired knowledge could be transferred and referred to for a longer period, ensuring standardization of approaches within a company. Documenting your knowledge systematically may also help a lot during the retrieval process. The subjects emphasized may be categorized according to their importance as well as the frequency of usage. To achieve well-organized storage of documents, you should appoint a meticulous person to keep track of the archived documentation and should be kept in one accessible place.
5. Standardize Your Storage Platform
Documentation of knowledge is undoubtedly crucial to sustaining the longevity of knowledge within your company. However, what are the best method or platforms in storing this knowledge?
The best answer that suits this current digitalization era might be a cloud-based platform. There are a lot of platforms or applications to store data and documents. For instance, Dropbox, Google Drive, and many more. That aside, your company may even set up your exclusive storage platform to archive all important knowledge. Most people prefer this kind of storage due to its accessibility and smooth retrieval. This online platform allows people to access the documents with a single mouse click, without the need to rummage through every file and document in the archive store. It saves a lot of time and effort that could be invested on more important matters.
6. Foster Positive Culture
Fostering a sharing culture within your organization is also recommended to boost up your knowledge management. In several companies or organizations, most of the employees are often compared to each other and pressured with the competitiveness that exists among coworkers. Due to this reason, not everyone is willing to share their knowledge, experience, and expertise, worrying that others might surpass them in their performances. This kind of culture is unhealthy and is obviously pressuring for the employees.
As managers or higher-ups, you have to set the right example by developing a warm and positive culture for your company members. Competing with each other may be important to promote personal and company growth but there are boundaries to how serious it is. Promote healthy competition and encourage them to share their knowledge as much as possible. Avoid stirring the emotions of your employees by pressuring them with irrelevant individual goals that may hinder them from collaborating effectively with one another.
7. Creating New Knowledge
Some knowledge can be passed down from the previous board or knowledgeable and experienced employees. Aside from those people, it is also helpful to discover new knowledge once in a while.
New discovery may be found in the most unexpected places or scenarios. Due to this reason, it is crucial to attend to your employees’ voices in case they discover a new connection or approaches that may smoothen or improve your company’s processes.
In most cases, employees from similar majors or expertise are partnered up to hone on specific processes or operations. You may even try to partner employees from different expertise so that they could brainstorm or innovate new knowledge from their existing experiences. Experimenting on this may bring you unexpected improvement or methods that could further boost the growth of your company.
8. Appreciation and Recognition of Knowledge
In managing knowledge and conducting knowledge sharing programs, it is important to affirm employees of the benefits they could gain from contributing to the knowledge growth of the company. By doing this, they are aware that the company does not necessarily need new knowledge from the more experienced employees only. Other employees are also encouraged to provide to the growth of knowledge while minimizing their reliance on the more expert employees.
Provide appreciation for employees who contribute to boost their motivation. The appreciation could be as simple as a bonus, or even acknowledgment. To add more formality and security, you may even implement ownership of the knowledge that is contributed. In the documentation of knowledge, clearly attach the names of the contributors. This will not only show recognition to their efforts but also help in case other employees need to inquire or clarify matters with them.
9. Balancing between Managing and Exploiting
So far, we have talked about several ways of gaining new knowledge, from attending workshops to even developing new knowledge. These steps should be followed with the implementation of the knowledge.
It is suggested to begin utilizing the knowledge in a smaller range first. When the effectiveness of the new implementation is guaranteed, it is recommended to gradually widen the scale and eventually standardize the system in the company as a whole. Other than that, you could even experiment by utilizing several approaches at the same time. After a certain timeframe, evaluate the performances of each approach and choose the one that promotes the biggest growth in your company operations.
There are multiple ways to collect data and information regarding the implementation of this new knowledge. You may appoint someone to conduct case studies experimenting with the new knowledge. The other common and feasible data collection is by conducting surveys, collecting opinions from the employees involved in the exploitation.
10. Setting Up Metrics for Knowledge
In every process or operation conducted in your organization, they should be accompanied by certain metrics to measure the effectiveness. Before initiating any management, it is important to establish KPI as the measurement references to be used by managers or employees.
The evaluation process of knowledge may be quite tedious and complicated considering the differences in operation processes behind it as well how they are designed. Hence, the provision of brief but holistic KPI and standards may serve as the guide in evaluating either the knowledge implemented provide any improvement in certain operations.
11. Enforcing Knowledge Exchange Policy
Have you ever encountered a situation when an ace player leaves a group, the flow of the team is disrupted? We cannot deny that different people are equipped with different knowledge and skills in different subjects. Some may be experienced in one sector than the other. Hence, when an employee retires or transfers to a different workplace, the gap left by the person may be a huge influence to your company. In worse occasion, some people may even bring the vital knowledge to their new workplace. To make things worse, the newly hired employee could not reach the same level as the previous employee in the same position.
To counter this issue, it is crucial to enforce a formal knowledge exchange policy. Implementing this policy will ensure that the employees who wish to leave the company are obliged to share the vital knowledge with their team members. Receiving this important key knowledge may prevent your company from suffering a huge blow over losing an ace employee.
One of the goals in having knowledge management is to enable better performances within a company aside from ensuring shared and mutual understanding among all employees. Many benefits could be gained if a company practice effective strategies in refining their knowledge management. One of them is ensuring better and faster decision making as well as boosting cooperation among team players. Besides, organizational knowledge would also be guaranteed and optimize the performance of employees as a whole.
There are a lot of processes underlining knowledge management in a company. It is substantial for the managers to encourage as much shared knowledge as possible so that every sector in a company can promote the efficiency of their jobs by applying the knowledge learned. Hence, managers must underline the best approaches to enhancing knowledge management that may work within their company.