Knowledge management is a collaborative process that enables the sharing and retention of knowledge within an organization. When done well, it can increase employee productivity and reduce training costs. But what is the first step in facilitating knowledge management? This article will introduce 9 important steps involved in establishing a knowledge management process.
How can we define knowledge management? And what is the process behind knowledge management?
For starters, knowledge management is about how knowledge is created, shared, used, and managed within an organization. The goal is to maximize an organization’s productivity by letting employees exchange success stories and best practices.
One of the greatest benefits of successful knowledge management is that it can improve efficiency and productivity while cultivating innovative thinking and collaboration among employees. This can push employees’ performance to higher levels by cutting down the repetition of mistakes, which ultimately helps reduce training costs. It also minimizes the halting impact of knowledge loss when employees move on from your business.
Your organization’s best practices and resources are its greatest assets. These lend the organization an edge over competitors. The amount of data organizations see on a day-to-day basis continues to grow in tremendous numbers by the day. Having a knowledge management system can help navigate this data better and leverage it to improve your organization’s well-being.
A successful knowledge management process can improve efficiency and productivity while cultivating the space for innovative thinking and collaboration among employees. This can push their performance to greater levels. It also minimizes the halting impact of knowledge loss when subject matter experts move on from your business.
Discover how companies like Danone and Sodexo implemented knowledge sharing best practices to maximize their L&D resources.
The amount of data in organizations grows daily. Knowledge management can help navigate this data better and leverage it to improve your organization’s well-being.
The first step towards establishing an effective knowledge management process is identifying the knowledge that needs to be captured. Determine where and how you lose data and information within your organization. Understand where the most indispensable information lies and where you can gather information about the business’s best practices.
Your efforts during this step will ripple across the rest of the steps, so it’s essential to spend as much time and attention to detail as possible here.
It’s impossible to successfully implement a knowledge management process if stakeholders and employees are not on board. Ensure they are ready to participate and believe in the benefits it has for the organization and its employees. You may have to jump some hurdles to get your stakeholders there. Try to overcome barriers by pointing out the benefits of knowledge management.
Recruit employees who are willing to set an example and are good at encouraging their colleagues to share their knowledge. When they do, reward them, so everyone in your organization sees that it’s fun and engaging to participate in knowledge sharing. And most importantly, that there is something in it for them.
It’s important to know where and how you lose knowledge within your organization, and what information or practical knowledge employees need to execute their tasks. Think about what the ideal situation for your organization would be. Based on that, define and document both short- and long-term objectives. These help you address your organization’s challenges and solve them.
Specifically, short-term objectives enable you to check in and validate whether your process is getting you where you want to go. With long-term objectives, you can create and communicate the big picture within your organization. Both help you to get to the next step: outlining a knowledge management process.
Your objectives are not the only things that help you realize the implementation of knowledge sharing in your organization. Along with that, it’s important to outline your knowledge management process and strategy. These two things help you to make necessary improvements and aid you in getting where you want to go.
Also, a solid knowledge management process and strategy are crucial things to have in order to get funding from stakeholders within your company. And to make sure that all stakeholders who will be involved are on board and kept up to date. The success of sharing knowledge depends on them, too. Relevant subjects that can be a part of your process and strategy are the identification, classification, capturing, creation, validation, sharing, maintenance, and measurement of shared knowledge.
Tools, systems, and platforms facilitate the process of knowledge management. It is critical to choose the right one for your company. Roughly put, there are closed and open knowledge-sharing tools. Closed tools are great for creating and sharing files, but if you want your employees to capture and share their knowledge, they aren’t ideal. Open knowledge sharing tools are a great solution because employees can capture and share knowledge themselves, and access resources anytime, anywhere.
Our authoring tool enables Employee-generated Learning, a collaborative approach to sharing knowledge. It empowers employees to partake in knowledge sharing. Apart from this, Employee-generated Learning has proven to be a powerful approach as it is rapidly scalable. It draws data from the most significant data source possible – your employees. Quality can be maintained efficiently. It taps into real-life knowledge and expertise within your organization rather than the perspective of third-party vendors.
Suppose you pick Employee-generated Learning as an approach for your knowledge management process and have chosen a tool that employees can easily use. In that case, they can start capturing and sharing their knowledge. The next step is to determine how you will manage to capture and maintain the knowledge you have deemed necessary. Your knowledge management system must group and record information in the most proficient way possible so that your employees can benefit.
While it’s essential to identify the necessary knowledge and have a systematic method to achieve that, a poorly planned system in disseminating the knowledge can make this process futile. Reflect on who stands to benefit from the knowledge the most. From there, you can determine the best and quickest way for that group of individuals to access it.
There is only one way of knowing whether your efforts are paying off: collecting qualitative and quantitative data. These give you balanced insights into what is working and what isn’t. Examples of qualitative and quantitative data are the number of courses made, the number of courses completed, the number of new users, how often courses are shared, NPS, and outcomes of surveys. Based on your collected data, you can take the necessary steps to improve compliance, performance, quality, and value gaps to improve your knowledge management effectiveness.
Knowledge management is a process; it needs to be ongoing. Consistent reviews, revisions, and evaluations need to be made to keep it at the optimal level. The knowledge you capture can inform the policies and procedures you structure for your organization as well. Moreover, it will encourage a culture where employees feel encouraged to make a difference. A good knowledge management example here would be to allow time or, better yet, establish it as the company’s policy to schedule this in a working week regularly.
Ultimately, each organization will have a slightly different knowledge management process depending on its unique goals and needs. That said, taking these 9 steps can help you form a strong framework for knowledge management, helping you keep a lookout for important tools and best practices.
Read our full guide about knowledge sharing.
To help you visualize how you can implement knowledge management in your organization, here are some examples of knowledge management frameworks to consider:
Many organizations rely on a content management system (CMS), not only to create content but also to store and manage it. Some well-known examples include WordPress and Squarespace, both of which offer website building and hosting services. Apart from creating content in the tool, you can also upload your own audio, video, or image files to use and store directly on the platform. This makes it easy for organizations to keep track of all the content that’s been created and introduced by employees over time.
A Learning Management System (LMS) is similar to a CMS, in the sense that both tools allow organizations to upload, store, and manage content. The main difference is that an LMS focuses on managing learning content. For example, many Learning & Development managers rely on LMS to host and distribute training courses to employees. There are also e-learning authoring tools with LMS-lite capabilities – like Easygenerator. These are tools that specialize in content creation, but offer LMS capabilities, allowing you to manage your content directly on the tool, share it with your learners, and track their progress. Easygenerator is an example of a tool like this.
Project management is an important skill to have in many roles, but without the right tools, tracking progress can be a challenge. Tools like Monday.com, Asana, and Trello, specialize in enabling teams to collaborate on projects. Tools like these typically allow you to add tasks, see what your team members are working on, monitor each other’s progress, and even add comments along the way.
Not all knowledge management processes take place within a specialized tool. You can also build online communities that invite members to share their success stories, exchange best practices, and discover tips.
Easygenerator is an all-in-one e-learning solution. Built for subject matter experts, our tool makes offers a user-friendly course creation interface that makes it easy for anyone in your organization to share their knowledge in the form of engaging content. That means they won’t need any prior background in instructional design.
Most importantly, it allows you to implement Employee-generated Learning (EGL), a learning approach where employees create learning content for each other instead of having to go through a central learning department. This significantly speeds up the circulation of knowledge throughout your organization while cutting down your e-learning creation costs in the long run.
And with our LMS-lite capabilities, not only can you create courses but also host and manage them within our tool. Our data-driven results tracker also makes it easy for you to monitor your learners’ activity and gain insights into their progress.
If you’re ready to unleash a powerful culture of knowledge sharing and management, get started with a 14-day free trial of Easygenerator. No credit card is required.