We strongly believe that if an organisation is presented a few of the most important benefits knowledge sharing can bring, they would seriously consider implementing a knowledge management platform.
Whether we’re talking about making some of the organisation’s best problem-solving experiences becoming reusable or enabling better and faster decision making, a knowledge sharing platform can easily be the answer. And that is not all: such platforms are known for stimulating innovation and growth, but also improving customer satisfaction and reducing the loss of know-how.
We’ve spoken before about how knowledge sharing can also improve your bottom line, but this doesn’t mean that it’s the answer to all of your company’s problems.
We have identified some of the most important knowledge management pitfalls, as well as the proper way to avoid them, so you know what to expect when you begin your journey into creating a knowledge sharing culture for your company.
1. Failure to set and track specific goals
What most people don’t know is that a knowledge management solution is much more than just a basic application for your team. In fact, it can be a targeted solution to a specific set of problems.
Therefore, when picking one, companies should focus on goals like decreasing the handling time, reducing mistakes, improving compliance or even enhancing customer satisfaction.
How to avoid failure to set and track specific goals?
Instead of just selecting the knowledge management solution that comes with the most features or has the smoothest user interface, consider making the final decision after you look at the features and find most of those that can really help you achieve your goals.
Then, while planning the implementation, keep coming back to the goals and metrics, in order to track your progress. And from here, it’s easy: if you’re not seeing the results you wanted, your tactics need adjusting.
2. Not focusing on the end users
Believe it or not, this is one of the most common knowledge management pitfalls. Specifically, people tend to get mired in the complexities of the new system they’re implementing, but forget about the end users.
How to avoid ignoring the end users?
Users’ needs and system usability should always remain one of your most important priorities as you develop the contents of your new knowledge base, but also the interface and the overall navigation pathways.
When choosing the content you want to include, start with identifying the biggest problems reported by employees. They come first. Once your content is on point, make topics easy to find and conduct usability testing with real end users, in order to make sure you did a good job.
3. Using a KM solution just for the sake of doing it
There are managers who know about the existence of knowledge management solutions and… that’s about it. Even if they implement one – as the idea of having all intrinsic and extrinsic knowledge from the company sounds good – they don’t use it and don’t encourage their teams to use it.
How to avoid using a KM solution in vain?
“KM leaders need to frame and communicate how KM processes and approaches can help achieve operational, performance, or strategic objectives.” The question KM practitioners must really answer is “What’s in it for me—or us?” says Maureen Hammer, Ph. D. and KM session speaker.
Keeping it short, sharing all information in a company is a means toward achieving better problem-solving skills, faster decision making, stimulating innovation and growth, improving delivery to customers and more.
4. The UI of the platform is not optimal
This happens sometimes, as not all solutions are created equal and, unfortunately, this is one of those knowledge management pitfalls not a lot of people are aware of. And they end up purchasing a solution which delivers a poor user experience which employees dislike using. What now?
How to avoid opting for a platform with unsuitable user experience
There are quite a few features which can differentiate a good knowledge management platform, from all points of view, from one that should be disregarded.
Among them, we should mention a proper Q&A engine, full mobile access, a robust search engine, allowing anybody to find what they need within seconds, as well as custom promo bars, to shorten the times needed for accessing information.
These are the most common knowledge management pitfalls we have come across. Being aware of them will help managers implement better solutions and drive better results.
Implementing a knowledge management platform can prove a valuable advantage over your competition, if used properly. Moving forward, you should set appropriate goals and constantly evaluate if your KM project is a success.