Employees’ combined knowledge is your organization’s most valuable asset. And managing that asset effectively is one of the critical conditions for success. Yet, in many cases, company leaders overlook the importance of knowledge management. That is a shame, because there are some significant benefits of knowledge management in organizations.
What is knowledge management?
To begin, let’s be clear about what knowledge management means. Every employee within an organization possesses valuable job-related knowledge. Knowledge management enables companies to capture, organize and leverage that knowledge to the greatest possible benefit. Ideally, it enables more experienced employees (which we can refer to as “subject matter experts” or “SMEs”) to record and share their knowledge with other employees. This ensures that all employees within the organization can benefit from lessons already learned by their more experienced colleagues.
In reality, knowledge sharing has been taking place in the business world for as long as people have been working together. We all know we have benefited from knowledge passed down to us from our more experienced colleagues. However, the difference with knowledge management is that it creates a structured, effective environment for optimally capturing and spreading useful knowledge.
The 7 business benefits of knowledge management
1. Lower costs
Do your business decisions ultimately come down to a cost-benefit analysis? In the case of knowledge management, organizations save money when they enable employees to create and share knowledge through a knowledge management system. Here at Easygenerator, we call that Employee-generated Learning. It’s one of the biggest advantages of knowledge management. With the right tools, this significantly cuts down on the costs of centralized learning and development (L&D) and reduces reliance on third-party training service providers.
2. More effective learning
Knowledge management, especially in the form of knowledge sharing, produces better learning outcomes. That’s because the knowledge comes directly from the real-life experience of employees. It is very practical and, when provided in an easy-to-access, on-demand format, gives employees a chance to apply what they’ve learned immediately. Hence, they internalize new information even faster.
3. Improved decision-making and smoother workflows
Do you feel like your company needs a firm knowledge base that you can rely on to make better decisions and do your jobs more effectively? In that case, you would love the advantages of a well-structured, easy-to-use knowledge management system. It provides precisely the foundation you are looking for. Such a knowledge base gives employees direct access to the content they need.
This way, they can find the information they need right at their work station, and they can do their jobs more effectively. They don’t have to interrupt their workflows or ask a manager or colleague for help anymore. With the right technologies, this is also possible on mobile devices. That gives employees access to knowledge from wherever they are.
4. Preventing brain drain
By capturing knowledge in a knowledge management system, you ensure that future employees will have access to the same information, even if an employee leaves the company or department. This is particularly valuable in high-turnover areas, such as sales and customer service.
5. Creating a collaborative knowledge sharing culture
Two heads are better than one. When businesses provide an effective knowledge sharing platform, they can tap into the synergies that exist among not just two, but all of their employees. This leads to a more creative, collaborative, and open working environment, with a sharper focus on teamwork and mutual support.
6. Easier scalability
Unlike conventional methods for educating employees (like classroom training or one-on-one mentoring), knowledge sharing enables organizations to reach far greater numbers of employees all at once. By giving all employees online access to the relevant knowledge they need (including on mobile devices), you can serve the entire organization’s needs, even if employees work from multiple locations.
7. An agile, responsive knowledge base
Modern knowledge management based on knowledge sharing gives organizations a competitive advantage. Because knowledge originates among real employees working on the business side of the organization, it is much more in touch with actual market conditions. It can also be continually updated as those conditions change, so it is far more agile and responsive than past training methods, which may have taken months to update.
As long as the right tools are provided, Employee-generated Learning and knowledge sharing can sustain themselves. This greatly reduces the strain on L&D teams, enabling them to play a more strategic role within the organization. The result of knowledge sharing and knowledge management, as you can see from the benefits discussed above, is a more effective, better-educated workforce. That is an asset that will benefit any organization in the business world today.