Do your Employees Contribute to Knowledge Management?

knowledge sharing employees
Marie-Hélène Couette
June 21 2022

Who truly holds the knowledge in your company? Your employees.

Workers who perform the tasks everyday are necessarily in the best position to identify good practices and pitfalls to avoid. Some even become in-house experts!

However, they won’t stay with your company forever – and their departure could have serious consequences if their knowledge leaves as well. 

That’s why you should turn your employees into champions of process documentation!

Here is a 6-step guide to engaging your employees in organizational knowledge management.

What is Knowledge Management?

Knowledge management is the entire process of documenting, centralizing and sharing internal knowledge. It includes all activities that contribute to protecting and nurturing the organizational memory, from production to content publication.

Knowledge can be documented in several ways:

  • Tutorials or instruction manuals
  • Internal procedures
  • Online training
  • Case studies
  • Webinars
  • Etc.

Knowledge is any piece of information or expertise that allows you to perform the work of a position in the company. It can be knowing how to operate a machine, or mastering methods to sell products.

The important thing is that this knowledge should not only belong to one person!

Your business must be able to function efficiently even when there are unexpected absences. To ensure its success, you should create an internal knowledge management system.

Benefits of a Good Knowledge Management System

A knowledge management system is a collection of organizational knowledge that allows you to classify and centralize the information, as well as to control who can access it. It could be a physical binder, but efficient companies usually opt for digital solutions, such as:

  • Database (Excel…)
  • Document management system (Google Drive…)
  • Learning management system or training platform (Didacte LMS…)
  • Intranet, forums or other internally developed exchange systems

A good knowledge management system should be easy to manage, accessible at all times and allow for content creation and update in a few clicks.

But why should you consolidate all the knowledge into a single system?

Health and Safety

Documenting work methods is first and foremost a way to prevent risks and injuries. This is especially true in factories, warehouses and construction sites, where many machines and equipment are used at the same time.

And if an accident does happen, having a clear procedure for managing incidents could save lives and prevent headaches!

Psst… Folks HR is the all-in-one software that any manager can easily adapt for the HR needs of a manufacturing company or employee safety management in the construction industry.

Productivity and Efficiency

In a case study published on ResearchGate, the author reports a 286% return on investment (ROI) for a call center that implemented a knowledge management system. The greatest impact was measured on call response time, which decreased, and customer satisfaction, which increased.

Sharing knowledge also allows us to learn from the trials and errors of our coworkers. Rather than repeating the same failures, your employees can save time by understanding the pitfalls to avoid!

Employee Retention

Your employees like to feel supported daily. They also like their expertise to be recognized, appreciated and valued within their team.

Knowledge sharing activities, continuous training and skills development actively contribute to the motivation of your staff. And motivation means loyalty and retention!

 

Employee Departure Prevention

If an employee is absent or leaves the company, you don’t want your operations to be negatively impacted. Documenting your employees’ knowledge protects your company’s organizational memory and prevents departures.

With clear procedures, it will be easier for a colleague or a new hire to take over the specific tasks of the exiting employee.

 

Customers’ Perception of Product Value

Standardizing work methods and optimizing the production line always has a direct effect on the quality of the products and services offered. The more you provide the same information to all your staff, the more uniform and consistent the finished product will be.

And the better the product is, the more satisfied your customers will be!

Potential Investors’ Perception of Company Value

A knowledge management system is not only a tool for operations: it is also a strategic ally in the growth of your company.

For a potential investor or buyer, demonstrating that your processes are efficient and do not depend exclusively on your employees increases the perceived value of the company. It therefore becomes a facilitator for your negotiations.

How to Involve Your Employees in Knowledge Management?

Educate on the Importance of Processes and Training

For many of the reasons listed above, knowledge management benefits all levels of management. However, it takes leadership and communication to ensure that your entire team understands the benefits of procedures and training.

A good starting point is to include professional development and knowledge sharing in your corporate values. If you believe in it and set an example, your managers and employees will follow suit!

Simplify Your Knowledge Management System

The choice of a knowledge management tool is important, because it will greatly influence the success of the tool and its acceptance by your team. If you select a complex or underperforming solution, no one will want to use it and it will quickly become obsolete.

You may also want to provide your employees with a documentation template. This will provide a clear set of expectations for each new procedure created, and will make it easier to find the information later.

Create a Knowledge Sharing Routine

Don’t expect your employees to create procedures or training if you don’t give them time to do so!

You should budget time for documentation and set up a space that encourages knowledge exchange. This can be done in a Lunch & Learn context, a free period between production cycles, multidisciplinary meetings, etc.

In a retail business, for example, it could be as simple as having employees come in 30 minutes early once a week. This time can be used for self-study, exchanges or presentations from coworkers.

Set Individual Documentation Goals

During your annual or one-on-one evaluations, determine with each employee 2 to 3 skills that are specific to them. You can then add to their ongoing improvement plan the procedures to be documented by your next meeting.

This is a way to minimize the fragility of the tasks and responsibilities arising exclusively from their role. It is also a way to recognize their expertise!

Recognize Employee Contributions

Speaking of recognition, knowledge management offers you many opportunities to highlight the skills of your team. With all the value they bring to you, it doesn’t take much to take the time to recognize their efforts.

Encourage them to actively contribute by implementing a point system or bonus for content creation. You can also get everyone who participates throughout the year a gift or a reward.

Develop a Learning Culture

When documenting knowledge is finally part of your values, recurring business activities and individual employee goals, then you’re on the right track!

All you need to do is keep up the pace so that knowledge sharing remains a reflex and then a standard for the organization. It’s a 4-step cycle:

  1. Discover a new concept or learn from an experience
  2. Record what you have learned
  3. Create and refine a process, or update an existing one
  4. Share the benefits and the process with the rest of the team

And it starts at step 1 every time an employee participates in an external training, reads a new blog post, listens to a podcast related to their expertise, etc.

Maximize Organization Knowledge Sharing!

Make knowledge management a priority in your company.

Discover effective solutions, such as Didacte LMS, which allows you to create and manage training courses as well as procedures in a simple and minimalist interface.

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