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20 February, 2013 by

Making the most of knowledge management

Imagine you are a frontline rep.  You’ve just solved a complex customer issue that you’re sure not many others would know how to solve.  But—what are your incentives to share this knowledge with others through Business Woman Climbing a Pile of Filesthe company knowledge base?

Let’s see…

  • It’ll take up more of your personal time to log in the information.
  • You won’t be recognized for your efforts and someone else might take credit for your great idea.
  • You’ve never really gotten any personal benefit from great wisdom left by other people.
  • No one is checking to see if you’re contributing so you won’t get in trouble if you don’t.

…wait a minute…something is wrong here.

What’s the problem?  Your smart, experienced employees have each gained expertise on just a couple topics through their own experience and knowledge, and yet they don’t share these best practices with others beyond their own cubicles and close networks.  Throw in the fact that customers’ problems are constantly changing and becoming more complex and you’ve limited the amount of knowledge that each person has access to dramatically.

So how do you get people to share knowledge and contribute to the knowledge database?

Simply put, you build an exceptional, cross-functional knowledge management system that is easily accessible, highly consumable, and is continuously growing with valuable input from all your employees.

Often times, organizations think the secret is in technology.  However, our research tells us that the real secret is in your people.  Because at the end of the day, your technology does not hold knowledge, your people do.   Here’s what do do:

Hold employees accountable to contributing high-quality, useful information

Hold employees accountable on knowledge value reuse – not simply knowledge creation – and incorporate contribution to the database into daily workflow.  By doing so, you ensure that you have high-quality, useful information to which you can drive customers, leading to significant cost savings.

Integrate the knowledge database into workflow and reinforce its use

Integrate your knowledge database into your new hire onboarding class so that new employees learn practical skills by navigating through the database.  Reinforce the use of the knowledge database throughout employment through ongoing experiential self-learning programs.  This strategy not only helps employees become familiar with the database, but also provides experiential learning for new employees.

Organize information on desktops to optimize performance and utility

Increase engagement around your knowledge management system by building desktop design to optimize utility and functionality.  This way, your employees are equipped with knowledge and expertise, which leads to more first call resolutions, decreased average handle time, and higher customer and employee satisfaction.  What more could you ask for?

What challenges have you faced with your knowledge database?

What have you done to encourage your employees to contribute to your knowledge database with high quality, insightful advice?

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One Response

  • Gordon Vala-Webb says:

    You suggest – and I couldn’t agree more that organizations need to “an exceptional, cross-functional knowledge management system that is easily accessible, highly consumable”.

    I would say don’t build such a thing but, instead, buy one of the social networking platforms that are now available and thoughtfully design and roll it out. Build it, instead of email, into the way work is done.

    To be successful you will also need a change in the way organization leaders lead: from command / control to engage / structure; from fault-finding to trust-building; from mass communication to shared conversation.

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