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Knowledge Management Systems: Four Steps to Getting Team Buy-In

by | Nov 6, 2019

A successful knowledge management system (KMS) implementation requires thoughtful planning, as even the best technology will carry the occasional hiccup. Thankfully, once the new tech is successfully deployed, the right knowledge management system will quickly turn any hurdles into distant memories, delivering easy-to-find data and surfacing subject matter experts (SMEs) within your organization. 

To ensure that your KMS is running at full capacity, the organization has to be on board with the tool. However, you can’t expect your team to adopt it if they don’t understand the benefits of using such a system.

1. Keep knowledge accurate and up-to-date. 

If your team members understand that the KMS provides access to knowledge that they otherwise would have to search for, it could motivate them to use the tool on a consistent basis. However, if the information in the knowledge management system doesn’t apply to their work or is outdated, the tool presents little to no value to them—which creates a low adoption rate. 

Pro Tip: Give specific team members the responsibility of updating information or cleaning the system on a regular basis to ensure the tool always provides accurate information. For example, at Capacity, we call these human-in-the-loop users “CoPilots”. 

2. Take precautions to make sure the system is secure. 

Though security measures can be an extra step for users, it’s important to protect your organization’s critical knowledge. It’s better to be safe than have your sensitive data in the hands of competitors or hackers. When your team knows that a tool is a secure haven for their tacit knowledge, they’ll be more comfortable to share it with the entire organization via the knowledge management system. 

Pro Tip: Having a secure system means your organization can add more levels of knowledge. Rather than simply sharing surface-level knowledge with users, you can leverage more of the information that they value. 

3. Stick to one tool. 

Many KMSs are available, so it’s important to do your research and find one that meets all your organization’s needs. Implementing a new tool and training users on how to operate it can take time, and repeated onboarding can burn out your team members. When you overload your team with too many tools, there’s a chance they won’t want to adopt any of them. 

Pro Tip: Find a tool that not only meets all of your organization’s needs with useful features but is also easily implemented. A knowledge management system that doesn’t match the way your company works will be a waste of time and money. 

4. Make sure leadership endorses the new software. 

Sometimes it isn’t enough to find a tool that benefits your workforce. If your organization’s executives bypass it, the team members may start to wonder if the tool is really necessary. Knowledge management systems should benefit everyone across the organization. Basically, the more people who use it and add knowledge, the more helpful the tool will be. And who better to add knowledge than the leaders of an organization?

Pro Tip: Find a knowledge management system that leadership not only endorses but actually uses in their own workflows. The more adoption from the top, the more your company will value and nurture knowledge.

Your team will be doing its best work once everyone—from intern to exec—is on the same page about the KMS.

Are you kicking the KMS tires? Stay on the lookout for our in-depth analysis of knowledge management systems, “The Ultimate Guide to Knowledge Management.”