Following on from our webinar last week (you can find the recording here), we wanted to show that improving knowledge management doesn’t always have to cost a great deal of time and money. Here are seven easy-to-implement changes and smart investments you can make to improve knowledge management systems.
1. The future is search-powered
If your search tool is developed properly, it has the potential to bring knowledge that employees might not even have known their organisation possesses, into the light. Your KMS needs to have a search architecture that is comprehensive and predictive, as well as being easy to use. The search tool should draw on similar searches in order to enable employees to gather information they may not have known they had, but which may prove useful to them nevertheless.
2. The future is profile-led
All too often, we think of a profile space as ‘ours’, rather than a place other users can come to find out about our capabilities. An informative KMS profile page should offer information about curated experiences and result in applicable insights. It should also allow users to collaborate and get in touch, adding a ‘human’ context to this information. A profile that’s comprehensively filled out will boost a user’s reputation at their organisation; gamified features such as a dashboard, will also encourage users to complete their profiles and help users to take responsibility for their role in knowledge management.
3. Make your KMS easy to navigate
Your KMS has got to be easy to use. A massive reason why knowledge management initiatives fail is because they simply aren’t user-friendly enough. Scrambled URLs or pages embedded in iFrames make it harder for people to note exactly where useful information is stored. A KMS that is browser-based and offers straightforward URLs is far easier to organise, curate and share.
4. Organise content in other ways, instead of by ‘top-level category’
All that this really entails is thinking in a more pragmatic and ‘semantic’ way about categories for content. Top level categories like ‘ERP’, ‘SharePoint’ and so on aren’t as helpful as a larger number of more focussed and contextualised categories. Categorising information available according to roles might be helpful. For example, ‘new starter’ or ‘returner’ pathways could contain induction or refresher content. Categories of this sort would depend on a variety of variables, rather than just one, in order to find the most appropriate course to make sure that insight is applicable.
5. Implement a content creation framework
Users nearly always find it difficult to work out whether knowledge is current and relevant or not. Make sure that all pages within the KMS are built around a framework that answers the ‘Who, What, When, Where, Why’ questions for all users. This information can be filled in as part of a ‘contribution form’ so that will be readily available to users.
6. Invest in analytics
Analytics are the single most important thing you should invest in for your knowledge management system. For a system that’s so dependent on people contributing, having a dashboard based on analytics that will make your KMS easier-to-use and make content curation easier. When in place, analytics can act as a force multiplier, leveraging the information you’ve already got access to and making it easier to apply the insights this data can offer.
7. Make participation in knowledge management mainstream and incentivise contributions
Company-wide webinars and events could be very useful here in terms of triggering an overall cultural shift in attitudes towards knowledge management. Gamified elements can be built into your KMS to reward top contributors etc. but in the short term, offering prizes and making knowledge management part of your performance expectations will be necessary in order to shift people towards making contributions on a regular basis.
Want to talk more about improving knowledge management in your organisation? Get in touch.