With the mass exodus of baby boomers leaving the work force, knowledge management should be on the top of every CEO and HR executives' mind. When your retirees walk out the door, they’re not just taking their coffee mug and other personal memorabilia with them; they’re taking years of proprietary knowledge. Knowledge transfer is a complicated task that can never be performed perfectly—no matter how many systems and managers you have in place to make sure your brain trusts pass down everything the next generations of workers need to know.
Before you begin setting up Knowledge Management Systems, you must first understand knowledge to manage it effectively. This article explores some of the characteristics of knowledge, and the tools to make the most of the knowledge assets in your organization. No matter what industry you are in—healthcare, education, corporate or government; these tips are applicable for all.
- Knowledge Travels via Language. This characteristic is particularly important for organizations that operate globally, in many languages. It is also important for high-tech firms that need to communicate complicated ideas firm-wide. Ensuring there is a single common language for all to understand is key. Global companies cannot expect all employees to speak one language so ensure your Knowledge Management Systems has translation capabilities and/or is easily converted to various languages.
- Knowledge seeks community. Knowledge is transferred in places of community and social interaction. It is vital for organizations to have both in person and online forums for employees from various departments to exchange and share ideas. Social sharing options can also be installed to mimic the Facebook environment. These can be built into your learning, talent or knowledge management system so be sure to ask your system provider if your LMS software has these capabilities.
- Knowledge doesn't grow forever. As years go by knowledge gets lost or dies. This is not necessarily a bad thing if the knowledge is outdated or extinct. Loss of knowledge can even be a great thing when it means letting go of old ways of thinking and possibly retiring whole blocks of knowledge for new knowledge to evolve. Knowledge loss becomes a problem though, when vital systems, procedures, and data get lost.
Knowledge Management Best Practices
Business today marks a dynamic time where companies must either innovate or die. Whether developing innovative products or services, the ability to learn, adapt and change is a core competency for survival. To do this effectively, past, current and future knowledge must be nurtured, maintained and shared properly. Here are a few suggestions to manage your organizations knowledge:
A North Star
Does your organization have a guiding north star? A ‘north star’ should represent the purpose, sense of identity, and core principles that guide an organization. Knowledge organizes itself around organizational purpose so it is vital that employees have your mission ingrained into their being. One way to do this is having a talent management system that aligns corporate training with organizational goals.
Formal Knowledge Management Leaders
Most large organizations employ knowledge leaders to manage the companies learning and knowledge transfer. If you can’t afford to bring someone on full time, don’t sweat it! Many talent and competency management systems make it easy for you to manage this on your own. To do the work of a Knowledge Manager, it is best to group your activities into three or more subcategories including:
- Knowledge transfer: ensuring that exiting employees appropriately document information and processes that must be handed down to ensure smooth operations once they leave.
- Learning & Competency Management: ensuring that new and existing employees are kept up-to-date with new skills and knowledge.
- Knowledge Creation: ensuring employees have the time and resources to engage in research and development.
- Knowledge Sharing: ensuring that employees have opportunities to share knowledge with one another both online and in person.
To integrate the tasks listed above, a learning management system is integral to ensure everything works in unison. Contact us today and we will provide expert advice on how to best manage the thing your company would not exist without—its knowledge.