Effective communication is vital for the success of every organization, regardless of the size of your business. The larger your organization, the more crucial it is to ensure that the right information percolates down to the right people. If the communication flow is not spot-on in your organization, many problems can result – such as loss of productivity, poorly informed employees and frustrated customers – ultimately leading to a loss of business and a slump in profits.
That is where knowledge management comes into the picture. To avoid these issues, you need to have in place a system that ensures effective communication and collaboration. A knowledge management system allows you to do just that with ease.
So, what is knowledge management?
The method of creating, using, sharing, and managing the knowledge and information within an organization is called knowledge management. It allows employees to make the best use of knowledge, thereby helping them to achieve larger organizational objectives.
Just like knowledge management, knowledge transfer also relates to creating, organizing and distributing knowledge within the organization to make sure that it is available to all employees in the future.
Therefore, if you want to do well as an organization, it is vital to pay special attention to knowledge management. Let us try to help you understand the benefits of knowledge management – how to develop and evaluate a knowledge management plan, how knowledge increases productivity, and why knowledge is power.
Developing and evaluating a knowledge management plan
In order to understand knowledge management and knowledge transfer, it is important to understand the types of knowledge and how they are shared.
There are two types of knowledge: explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge. Explicit knowledge is information that you can easily transfer to others through speaking and/or writing. You can pick up the information easily by speaking to someone, reading a book or searching the internet. Tacit knowledge, on the other hand, is difficult to transfer because people acquire it through experience, observation, and insights, and you can transfer this knowledge only through shared activities.
There are various methods that you can adopt to effectively transfer knowledge across your organization. Effective knowledge transfer involves the following:
- Identifying the knowledge to be shared
- Collecting knowledge
- Organizing knowledge
- Sharing knowledge
- Adapting knowledge to meet the need
- Using the knowledge
- Creating new knowledge/information
You need to employ various methods and technologies to transfer knowledge to those in your organization because different people have different skill sets. But if you want to transfer knowledge effectively to your employees, you need to ensure that you develop and create a knowledge management plan.
While a robust knowledge management plan will be different for each business, there are some basic steps that every business needs to follow.
For an effective knowledge transfer plan, identify people in your organization who possess institutional knowledge about your organization. Motivate those having the knowledge to share. Encourage people to share the knowledge they have, and give them a platform to do so. To effectively transfer knowledge within your organization, you can promote the culture of mentorship, offer simulation programs, promote work shadowing, encourage paired work and offer e-learning and instructor-led training.
Make sure that sharing is not cumbersome or inconvenient. Use knowledge management tools so that it is easy for them to share. Monitor results consistently. It is important to monitor progress in order to set benchmarks. Make sure that you communicate the results and be willing to adapt to change.
Apply the acquired knowledge. If you cannot use the knowledge within your organization, then what is the point in acquiring it? Encourage your team members to be innovative and motivate them to take the initiative.
Ensure that knowledge-generation becomes a constant practice in your organization. Encourage your employees to participate in training programs, hold brainstorming sessions and schedule training sessions with industry experts. Always explore ways to use your resources more effectively.
How knowledge increases productivity
In today’s world, if you want to get over the competition, make sure that you utilize your resources efficiently. Knowledge management and knowledge transfer will greatly assist in achieving this goal.
Imagine what would happen to your bottom line if the most depended-upon person leaves your organization. You understand pretty well that the person possesses critical knowledge, and if he or she leaves, it will be difficult for you to fill the void. You get into a huddle with all your remaining employees to formulate a plan so that you can extract the most you can from the person who is leaving your organization. But acquiring the same level of critical knowledge will take time, training, and resources. And, if you are unable to fill the gap in time, your productivity is sure to take a hit.
However, if you have a knowledge transfer plan or knowledge management system in place, the departure of a single critical employee won’t have an adverse effect in keeping productivity intact. With a knowledge transfer program, you can groom any or all team members to acquire critical knowledge in equal measure.
A knowledge transfer program not just helps you cope with employee exits, but a strong knowledge sharing process can also positively influence your onboarding and internship programs – as well as employees transitioning to new roles.
Knowledge transfer and knowledge management can increase productivity, agility and adaptability, which, in turn, boosts your profitability and growth. It improves your decision-making capabilities and helps to ensure sustainable high performance.
That is how knowledge increases productivity.
Knowledge is power
We all know that knowledge is power. However, these days, there is an overload of information. Therefore, you need to streamline the knowledge sharing process so that the right information reaches the right people at the right time. The flow of knowledge in your organization should be steady and consistent so that all employees can benefit. One way of making sure that every employee in your organization remains connected to the information flow is to use your corporate intranet to disseminate knowledge sharing.
A robust knowledge management strategy increases the accumulation and dissemination of information/knowledge across your organization. It ensures that everyone remains connected to shared knowledge, as well as prevents communication bottlenecks. It allows employees to experience the value of sharing knowledge in delivering high-quality service to customers – as well as enjoying professional growth and recognition as valued team members.
Knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer also improves your company’s culture, enhances your quality of service, improves your business processes, increases your efficiency, boosts productivity, and helps you to use your resources more efficiently.
When you use a central knowledge management tool, it ensures that all your employees access the information quickly and with ease. For example, it helps you publish all your company information, knowledge, and data on a broader spectrum. You can publish all your policies, manuals, procedures, FAQs, etc. Everyone can access the company information, but if you want a specific team to access a piece of particular information, you can use site permissions. But if you want your employees to quickly and easily access the information, you need to index the information properly and use the advanced search functionality. Also, you need to ensure that the information you publish is up-to-date.
A central management tool is useful in the following ways:
Sharing knowledge at the company level – You can connect your employees with a staff directory. You can add details about the area of expertise of your employees, their brief synopsis, and a photo. When your employees know who to connect with for a particular subject, it becomes easy for them to gain knowledge.
Promoting knowledge collaboration – Knowledge collaboration is also called communities of practice, and it helps your team members work together to achieve common goals. You can bring together staff from all across your organization or even from other offices to work on a knowledge collaboration project, and share the results.
Empowering your employees – They can contribute and share their knowledge and expertise in different ways with ease. When your employees contribute to the growth and development of the organization, they feel more valued. And when they get their due recognition, they are bound to feel more empowered. An empowered workforce means you have an engaged staff.
However, as an organization, it is important to make sure that the information you share within or outside of your business remains safe and secure from a data breach. Knowledge sharing without security measures in place can lead to data loss. Businesses can lose their proprietary data, which can cause reputational as well as financial losses. That is why you need a secure content delivery platform.
eServe is a secure content delivery platform designed to ensure security for proprietary content. With eServe, you can deliver e-learning material to your employees and share sensitive data internally or externally – from any device, to any location in the world. Contact us to learn more.