There are some businesses that just don’t know enough about knowledge management. Such companies are not willing or capable of utilizing the expertise and knowledge of their employees. It is unfortunate that these companies suffer losses in terms of financial and business opportunities as well as losing face.
As concerns training, one company expressed trust in the old motto “knowledge sharing is king.” However, they paid nothing more than lip service to this motto.
The truth is, it all boiled down to your asking a colleague for help when you’re stuck and, if you got help, you were fortunate. Frankly speaking, the management mostly used the motto to rationalize the act of denying employees’ requests for advanced training off-site.
In this company the result of this was a low morale and a worsening of the already poor expertise. In the end, because a few key people left, the company found itself struggling to adequately support its customers. The rest of the employees just lacked the knowledge and expertise required to provide emergency assistance to customers who, as a result, suffered significant losses.
Here is a list of simple tips that can be used to establish knowledge management within your organization in order to prevent such problems from occurring in the foreseeable future. If you have ever harboured the idea of keeping a record of the employees’ knowledge and rendering it available – centrally and business-wide – you should learn the principles of knowledge management.
WHAT IS KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT?
Knowledge management involves attaining, maintaining, and sharing knowledge with the goal of enhancing the efficiency of a business. Let’s take a closer look at this concept. The purpose of knowledge management is to enhance these four areas:
- Increase knowledge
- Retain knowledge
- Share and communicate knowledge
- Apply the knowledge
Increasing and retaining knowledge are well-designed and well-recognized projects. Along with the details of their implementation these are your responsibility. Choose whatever way is most effective to increase and retain knowledge that will work best with the kind of knowledge that your organization is already working with. If you are willing to invest in establishing good quality training courses, we would recommend creating your own platform on Coursmos for the development and retention of knowledge, killing two flies with one swap.
Item # 3 (sharing and communicating knowledge) deserves closer attention. Communicating knowledge in an organization is only feasible under the following conditions:
- The knowledge provider can explain the knowledge to be communicated.
- The recipient of the knowledge receiver must know that the information exists and is available, and
- that he has access to the provider of the knowledge.
All of the above conditions you can easily, efficiently and cost-effectively meet with Coursmos solution. If these three conditions are met in your company (or, at the least can be worked on), you are ready to go.
The application of knowledge is just as important. Learning new things is all well and good. However, it is wasted if you neglect to apply the obtained expertise in real life situations. You lose the skills and knowledge that are not applied. Therefore, for knowledge management to work in your organization, it is very important to share and apply the knowledge you have accumulated.
It is normal to expect that a lot of the challenges you’re going to face will be related to the company’s employees. The human factor is difficult to predict, so make sure that you are prepared for these problems that are commonly encountered:
1. REFUSAL TO SHARE
Some people are happy to freely share the knowledge they acquired with diligent work. Many individuals are afraid that sharing their “know how” would make them redundant, and so they think that by hoarding their proficiency they make themselves indispensable. You should persuade them that sharing their expertise will benefit them and everyone else, that sharing cultivates growth and will not diminish their value within the organization – in fact, it will make them more important.
2. MOTIVATION ISSUES
After reading this far, you’re probably eager to hurry to your workplace and implement knowledge management immediately. But wait. It won’t work unless you motivate your personnel to earnestly and actively be involved in knowledge sharing. To better understand how you can better motivate your employees, I suggest that you read about the self determination theory. In a nutshell, you can find three keys to a person’s self-motivation:
This is the desire to reach some specific outcome, or attain a certain level of proficiency. Getting positive feedback from supervisors and colleagues supports their desire to work and excel in their chosen speciality, and it confirms a person’s competence and professionalism.
Once you give employees a greater level of independence in deciding their training path, you boost their motivation. Extrinsic motivators such as bonuses and pay increases, reduce the emotions of personal responsibility and stump their intrinsic motivation.
Make your employees feel like they are part of something important and bigger than themselves. This feeling does wonders. Every employee must feel that their work brings delight to people, and that their colleagues welcome and appreciate them.
3. THE SEARCH FOR A KNOWLEDGE PROVIDER
In the end, it all comes down to 3 components: People, Processes and Technology. You can solve the “People” challenge on your own (motivate your employees, help them share knowledge). But what’s next? How to get the process going and break the deadlock? Well, if such question had arisen 20 years ago, you would have called your senior employees and elaborated the plan how to deliver knowledge across all employees. However, it’s so time consuming and it slows down company’s processes, because you distract from work your key staff to train others.
Good news is that nowadays we can take the advantage of technological breakthrough and let it simplify all the processes and bring more effective and productive results. Your company can save a fortune by moving all your training to online. You just need to choose the right provider. Some of them offer corporate course packs, some their LMS system, others offer both of the above and even more. Compare all the pros and cons and invest your money wisely to get the best interest. If the decision about the right provider may take time, one idea should be very clear now: “Move all your training to online!”.
Interested in corporate learning? Request your free trial of Coursmos LMS today!