We’re close to the first half of 2019 and we’re gathering more and more evidence that a knowledge management solution is a must for any company that wants to reach the next level. In order to achieve that, you need a proper KM strategic plan and a firm grasp on knowledge management best practices.
However, implementing a KM platform is not an easy feat. You can run into quite a few knowledge management challenges, which we’ve already talked about on our blog.
For example, a lack of training and/or development can be one of the major setbacks for successful implementation. Sometimes, management can tend to focus more on maintaining staff training than continuously develop knowledge management practices. It’s essential for a company to do more than just embrace knowledge sharing to enjoy its benefits.
Creativity is needed to make it significantly easier for employees to add content, generate a great database of problems and solutions, and help them quickly find the piece of information they’re looking for.
Let’s take a closer look at the most important knowledge management best practices in 2019 and how they can ensure the success of your KM project.
1. Map and structure your knowledge assets
First and foremost, put some boundaries around what you’re trying to achieve. Correctly identifying and mapping strategic knowledge can be considered iterative. Or, to be more specific, you should start by assembling your Avengers – a multifunctional team – and ask the members to identify the key dimensions of the business’ competitive performance, but also the knowledge that underpins them.
After this, map your assets on a grid, considering two ‘filters’: unstructured versus structured and undiffused versus diffused.
2. Disseminate knowledge within the company
One of the most common knowledge management best practices – but, at the same time, essential – is to share knowledge with the entire ‘gang’ at the office.
There are situations in which a division is dealing with a problem that has been already solved by another division, so why not avoid wasting time looking for a solution when the solution is already within the company?
You can start with a written document with all the knowledge, but a complete management platform for all the information is definitely a better option.
3. Contextualize knowledge
Theoretically, codified knowledge can be applied in less structured spaces in a lot of ways. However, sometimes, it’s just about applying well-established routines to new businesses.
Contextualization can be extracted from combining both structured and unstructured knowledge. And, naturally, in order to apply codified knowledge in a new setting, it must be contextualized.
In order to better understand how this works, let’s say that a huge company in the US introduces a new production process, then sends the knowledge to China, as supporting documents. In this situation, the Chinese engineers will assimilate the knowledge and adapt it to their very own context. Simple as that.
4. Discover new knowledge
Of course, when it comes to knowledge management best practices, something to focus on is also spotting new connections between disparate areas of expertise. Simply put, discovering new knowledge.
There are situations in which you can discover knowledge in the most unexpected places, like when Rolls Royce’s engineers were able to find new performance data from their jet engine’s sensors. Eventually, they figured out that it’s more profitable to forget about selling engines outright and sell power by the hour instead.
And this is just an example of how can you find knowledge.
5. There’s much more than just technology
As soon as you put your knowledge sharing plan into action, you also need to make sure that the right tools and technology are used. Also, observing if the right cultural change appears is also essential.
Each and every member of your organization should be involved in the change associated with the implementation of the knowledge management platform, starting with the executive level. Without the right people, it’s impossible to start using a KM platform properly and achieve important goals.
6. Implement a former knowledge sharing policy
Many organisations tend to ignore this, but a knowledge sharing policy can be vital, as it helps a company avoid losing all the information an employee takes with him or her when leaving the company.
With this policy implemented, they would need to pass knowledge to other members of the team. And recovering such information can ensure that the company won’t be affected at all by the change.
7. Motivate employees
Last but not least, let’s talk about one of the most overlooked yet most important knowledge management best practice: gamification. It’s definitely important to have a platform where employees can share information, but some KM systems don’t get as much traction because they don’t offer any incentives to top contributors.
Offering various employee benefits, or even simple badges and title updates within the platform, can completely change a contributor’s attitude and encourage them to share even more valuable information.
One thing is certain: knowledge management solutions are becoming more and more accessible and functional. If you’re at the beginning of your journey with implementing a KM solution, make sure to check the essential features that a knowledge sharing platform should have.
Some of the top businesses in the world are already using one and their results reflect that. When are you going to join them by harnessing the full potential of your organization’s information assets?