Most organisations recognise the need to train employees, which equips them with the proper knowledge and skills to perform optimally. Regardless of this great investment in the workforce, employees still resign in search of better opportunities. When high-performing individuals leave, they take away institutional knowledge, expertise, and skill, leaving the organisation stuck and putting a hold on critical processes within the business or perhaps leading to reinventing the wheel.
Organisational knowledge can be Explicit, Implicit, or Tacit. Explicit knowledge refers to knowledge easily communicated and documented, Implicit knowledge refers to the knowledge gained while performing activities on the job, and Tacit knowledge refers to the wealth of experience gained from completing a job over time and resident in the head of employees. Institutional knowledge should be readily available as a resource within the organisation if they are to remain relevant and continually outperform their peers. When capturing information, some areas organisations should focus on include.
- Organisational Information and Processes
- Organisational Culture and Values
- Best Practices for Executing Projects/Activities
- Lessons Learnt from Past Projects
- Employee Expertise
Why Knowledge Management?
Knowledge Management is a familiar subject worldwide, albeit not yet pervasive in Nigeria and much of sub-Saharan Africa as in Europe and America. Technology has been disrupting the business environment and evolving into a digital sphere, and Knowledge Management is part of this evolution. Therefore, organisations in Nigeria and Africa must give this the attention it deserves, facilitating the process for businesses in these regions to effectively capture and store the vital knowledge needed for business success and continuity.
Why is Knowledge Management critical for organisations that desire to outcompete their peers?
- Unified Knowledge Repository: Warehousing your intellectual assets in a central location aids knowledge preservation and real-time access to information. It also shortens the path between employees and organisational knowledge. Employees across different geographical areas can easily access the information needed to carry out their daily tasks and are guaranteed uniformity. This access to existing knowledge increases employees’ productivity and reduces the need to reinvent the wheel. With a unified knowledge repository in place, organisations can reduce the loss of vital information critical to the survival of their business.
- Streamline Onboarding of New Hires: A well-designed and executed onboarding programme is vital to new hires’ success within the organisation. It involves providing new employees with relevant information needed for success in their respective roles. This information is usually a lot to consume quickly to hit the ground running. A new hire can quickly be brought up to speed with the organisation’s codified institutional assets by leveraging a Knowledge Management System (KMS), making it easier to access information when needed. Utilising a knowledge base for warehousing an organisation’s knowledge empowers employees to take ownership of their professional development. It brings about employee alignment as the knowledge base provides real-time access to the organisation’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Employee Handbooks, and Organisational Charts in an interactive learning medium that facilitates knowledge compliance.
- Drives Innovation: Knowledge Management allows organisations to develop and enhance their workforce capabilities to innovate in response to the ever-changing business environment. When an organisation is constantly innovative in its outputs, this improves business performance. Knowledge Management also allows other employees to access information codified Tacit knowledge by internal experts, facilitating internal innovation opportunities.
- Improves Business Operations: To remain relevant and competitive, an organisation must leverage its institutional information to deliver value. Employees with full access to the organisation’s wealth of knowledge can churn out work of great quality and enhance the decision-making process.
- Enhances Workplace Collaboration: Collaboration is one of the 4 Cs needed for organisations to succeed in this fast-paced business environment. According to a Salesforce study, 88% of employees surveyed felt that a lack of collaboration and ineffective communication were responsible for workplace failures. In addition, 97% of employees and executives believe that the absence of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project. A Knowledge Management System provides transparency on the resources available, which facilitates decision-making on optimal usage towards achieving better results and increasing productivity. Employees can effectively store information on their areas of expertise to educate others within the organisation.
- Reduction in Errors: A recent workplace productivity study by Panopto and YouGov found that employees’ mistakes result from insufficient access to information and cost businesses about $47 million annually. A Knowledge Management System (KMS) seamlessly captures information that aids business efficiency and reduces errors.
How to begin your Knowledge Management Journey
- Assessment (Inventory): This is the initial stage in a Knowledge Management journey, where organisations assess their specific knowledge management needs and define the goals and objectives. This stage, sometimes called the ‘knowledge audit,’ is essential for setting a clear direction and identifying improvement areas.
- Capturing: At the knowledge capturing stage, organisations aggregate the existing knowledge residing in employees, documents, and processes to codify, thus making it easy to share with the entire organisation for optimal use.
- Organising (Codification): Once the organisation complete the knowledge-capturing stage, it is vital to define, classify and categorise the information for employee ease of access and identification. Some organisations further codify (digitise) the knowledge into eLearning assets to facilitate easy consumption by employees and compliance monitoring by knowledge officers.
- Sharing: Now that the organisation has captured, organised, and codified its knowledge, the next step is to share it with employees (most organisations warehouse this in Knowledge Management Systems or Learning Management Systems), which allows them to promote and improve communication among team members.
- Application: The knowledge Management process only works when employees can apply the knowledge effectively. Knowledge application is about utilising knowledge to make informed decisions, improve organisational processes, and solve problems.
When knowledge is easily captured and made accessible to employees, it positively affects the employees and the organisation. Ultimately, Knowledge Management is a journey that requires continuous improvement.
At pcl., we have over two decades of experience in helping organisations across various industries capture and warehouse intellectual assets vital to the success and continuity of their businesses. We have achieved this through our Bespoke Content Digitisation services and Digital Learning Platforms.
We have successfully developed 100+ interactive and engaging eLearning courses and implemented easy-to-use, safe, and secure digital learning platforms across Africa.
Please speak to one of our consultants via email@example.com, and let’s help future-proof your organisation to outperform your competitors.
Learning Experience Consultant