Knowledge Management Best Practices

Knowledge is an asset. But, you can’t manage something you can’t measure. When you implement the following best practices, your organization will get the most out of its knowledge management system.

1. Your company’s organizational culture.

What is the driving force behind how employees perform their job duties? Before selecting a knowledge sharing system, it’s vital to assess your company’s current organizational culture. If it is an organization that prides itself on excellent customer service, then they may already understand the need for consistent improvements across the board.

With any knowledge management system, you’ve got to be able to effectively distribute important knowledge to all of your employees, and in a timely manner. So, for example, if the company currently uses an email system as their only source of data, then deploying a complex KM system might not make sense. On the other hand, if your company is forward-thinking, then they may be more open to the implementation of a state-of-the-art knowledge management system.

2. Set clear objectives and measurements.

If you know where you’re going with your KM system, then you’ll know what you need to do to get there. Defining your organization’s goals can be challenging if you’re considering a new knowledge base. To this end, it helps to create a reminder of the many knowledge management benefits.

But what’s the difference between a goal and an objective? Goals are intentions, while objectives are actionable steps your company can take to reach its goals. Thus, your objectives should have measurable timetables. You can enhance your KM objectives by following the SMART outline:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

3. Review current content usage.

There are a myriad of questions your organization should ask itself in its knowledge management journey.

  • What types of databases does your company already use?
  • What types of knowledge are stored in these databases? And are they organized?
  • Are there differentiators between tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge?
  • Do your key employees have easy access to valuable information?
  • Are your current tools and technologies up-to-date?
  • Are there quick methods in place to share information such as lessons learned?

Take a look at how employees are using knowledge, using surveys as needed. Then, identify any bottlenecks. The answers will help with crafting your intended outcome.

4. Move in carefully planned stages.

Most people don’t like change, especially if it’s poorly executed. It’s vital to create a step-by-step process for implementation. Given that most people will feel intimidated by a new system they might not completely understand, you want to serve deployment in digestible bites. This also gives your organization time to work through any minor issues along the way.

5. Create a knowledge management map.

Creating a knowledge management map can ensure your system aligns with strategic business objectives, and answer key questions, such as, Which areas require the most focus? or What are your organizational knowledge priorities? This is where you identify any potential gaps and configure the right resources to fill them.

6. Designate a knowledge management champion.

Choose a champion who has credibility within the organization. This individual should necessarily comprehend the company’s aims and business drivers. The chosen champion should also be on the front lines, working with both departments and everyday employees. They should be available during all phases of the KM project.

You might look at this person as a champion of change. But, they must be considered an expert by others. Even if you know this person is a SME, credibility can be subjective. So, think of the person’s tenure at the company, job title, background, and experience.

Passion and perseverance are also essential prerequisites for your knowledge management champion. You’ll want someone who can create an infectious, positive influence. Sheer passion is often necessary to incite lasting change.

7. Galvanize interest with rewards and incentives.

If, despite your organization’s best efforts, your employees aren’t exactly motivated to use your new knowledge management system, or if they don’t yet comprehend KM’s benefits, rewards can go a long way. Consider offering tangible rewards to produce high-impact results. Each time an employee successfully uses the KM system, they should feel valued and appreciated.

8. Create easy-to-understand policies around knowledge sharing.

Many companies experience detrimental setbacks when a departing employee takes valuable tacit knowledge with them to a competitor. With a knowledge base, you can ensure that all staff share knowledge with the intended community. As a result, both remaining employees and the company will feel far less negative implications related to staff turnover.