Knowledge management is essential for any organization ready to compete in today's digital economy.
This entails all the processes and systems companies use to efficiently capture and store their data. It encompasses two crucial aspects: creating new knowledge through effective collaboration and storing it for future reference.
But how do you know if your current knowledge management strategy is effective? What makes one organization stand out from the rest in this area? To answer these questions and more, we've outlined a Knowledge Management Framework to help you achieve your goals.
What is knowledge management
Knowledge management is a strategic function that focuses on improving organizational performance by identifying, capturing, analyzing, and sharing knowledge.
As an information-driven world grows more connected and digitized, the value of knowledge as a competitive advantage has only increased.
Knowledge management framework is a strategic initiative that every organization needs to adopt if they want to remain relevant in today’s fast-changing business environment.
The framework encompasses the content needed for a business, like learn-how tips for customers and would-be employees and market research for high-stakes decisions.
The benefits of adopting a knowledge management framework are innumerable for any organization. However, the framework must consider all the key components to be effective. These are:
- Processes and Procedures.
- Relevant Content.
As per statistics, Seventy-one percent of workers in the U.S. say that effective job training and learning opportunities increase job satisfaction.
Nearly half are willing to leave their current jobs for employers with higher-quality pathways to knowledge. So, what does this tell us about knowledge management?
Understanding the knowledge management framework
A knowledge management framework is designed to help you map, create, distribute, scale, and optimize your company's knowledge and resources. Imagine a case whereby your organization hires a new employee with all the skills and experience necessary to perform their task.
But shortly after a few months of orientation and settling in, they get tempted by other companies offers and resign. This means you'll have to go back to the drawing board, recruit new employees and train them to perform the task.
Unfortunately, this is a common situation in most companies. HR statistics reveal that nearly 30 percent of employees likely quit in the first six months, and more than half leave in the first two years. As such, businesses need to prepare for such cases by creating new knowledge through effective collaboration and storing it for future reference.
But there are many moving parts to effective knowledge management — and it goes far beyond just creating documents that live in a static database or drive. If you plan on promoting a culture of proactive and motivated employees, you need a framework that helps you anticipate and provide the resources your team needs to meet KPIs and performance goals.
How to create an effective knowledge management framework
A knowledge management framework ensures that every team member knows the best practice for any given task.
This way, losing one person won't mean having to train someone on your team in another method. You'll generate more confidence among colleagues, customers and partners because they know they'll get the same quality content no matter who is helping them.
We'll help you create a framework for efficient knowledge management. This includes aligning your strategy and prioritizing future maintenance. Let’s take a look!
Identify key stakeholders & get leadership buy-in
It's important to get leadership buy-in before you start writing your strategy. You need to identify the key stakeholders likely to have a stake in your knowledge management framework. Who are your knowledge management efforts affecting?
Several people have a hand driving the direction and execution of various processes. These include your audience, leadership, and customers or partners who rely on the team's productivity. Once you have identified them, they must understand why this project is important and why they need to be involved.
Building trust with these stakeholders is also essential, so they feel comfortable sharing their ideas with you and letting their voices be heard throughout creating a knowledge management framework.
Define knowledge management goals & establish guidelines
Define knowledge management goals and ensure the goals are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timebound). You should ensure they align with your organization's strategic objectives.
Establishing guidelines right from the beginning is also important for the success of your knowledge management framework. As your strategy comes together, you're ready to share the guidelines for how your team will share knowledge.
Remember that your business strategy is uniquely tailored to you and your team, which means that your guidelines will be as well. However, there are some general guidelines you can consider. These include expertise to leverage, resources you have access to, and motivational drivers that encourage team members to succeed.
- Knowledge lifecycle: Knowledge management encompasses all stages of information-sharing within your organization, from creating documents to distributing them and keeping them up to date. A knowledge lifecycle will provide a more holistic framework that covers best practices for each stage.
- Accountability: Your framework should have clear oversight to ensure processes run smoothly. Identify an individual or group to help monitor quality and measure progress at each stage of the knowledge lifecycle.
- Investments: If you want your team to invest in new processes, you need to make your investments. One area you should invest in is knowledge management software which makes data more accessible and user-friendly for employees. Find a knowledge management software that adheres to your guiding policies and supports how your employees work while meeting their most pressing needs.
Assess existing knowledge
To begin, you should assess your organization's existing knowledge assets. This will help you establish how much of the right information is available and whether or not it's structured in such a way that others can use it.
Next, assess knowledge gaps. What do employees know they don't? What might they need to know to do their jobs better? Identifying gaps allows you to focus on areas where training will be most effective and efficient while at the same time minimizing costs associated with training.
If there's no data on this topic yet—or even if there are incomplete data sets— you'll need some way for people across your organization (including employees who aren't directly involved with customer service) to contribute their thoughts. This allows everyone to benefit from those observations when designing new programs or policies related to improving one aspect (such as promptness).
Finally, identify opportunities for sharing knowledge across different groups within your organization (e.g., sales vs. operations). Consider how this could lead to cross-functional teams where all members can contribute toward shared goals rather than working independently on isolated pieces of work without coordination.
Design knowledge management strategy & actions
Now that you understand what a knowledge management framework looks like, it's time to start thinking about how you'll implement it.
- Define the problem before starting on a solution. Don't consider this step optional, as it's crucial to the success of your knowledge management framework. For example, if your main goal is to improve employee health and well-being, then defining the problem will help ensure that your strategy is tailored to their needs.
- Set goals before starting action steps or activities (such as creating a knowledge management framework). The goal should be ambitious but realistic—you don't want it so lofty that no one can achieve it or so low-level that it seems impossible to achieve within your timeframe framework.
- Implement knowledge management systems, tools, processes and change initiatives. These may include a repository for the organization's most recent research, e.g., an internal knowledge base. This will serve as a single source of truth for your entire organization.
Now that you've identified what needs to be done to achieve your goals, it's time to proceed with the next part of your plan -- creating high-quality content.
Content is key to your marketing strategy. But creating high-quality, insightful content can be challenging with so many ideas to manage. Here's what to consider when deciding the type of content to create for your marketing strategy:
- Who is your audience: It's important to determine which tones of voice and writing styles are most impactful for each department, job function or seniority level. Your document should also be optimized depending on whether your audience will use it immediately or when they have time. For example, step-by-step guides employees refer to while conducting a task need to be shorter and easier to digest than documents that people can review on their own time.
- How does your team want to learn: As a company, you must look for ways to optimize your knowledge for modern learners. You can learn more about Scribe and Scribe Pages at our knowledge center to find out how you can help your team learn in the best way available.
This is one of the best practices of knowledge management. And without the right distribution efforts, the knowledge you create may not get absorbed and retained. The best way to increase your team’s efficiency is to include repetitions in their day-to-day workflows.
Here are three simple steps:
- Creating an easy-to-navigate knowledge base. The search functionality should also include category management.
Scribe top tip: Use knowledge management software like Scribe to easily share and integrate content via URL links to reach your technology stack, company wiki, or internal communication channels.Measuring knowledge management results
7. Measuring knowledge management results
Measurement is key to any knowledge management framework
It's important to measure the results of your efforts so that you can see if it's working and adjust accordingly.
You can use standard metrics like conversion rates or time spent on content. Alternatively, measure the success of your knowledge management initiatives by:
- Creating interactive quizzes and games to test knowledge comprehension as part of training processes.
- Setting a few minutes in performance reviews to ask employees to what extent they're utilizing internal knowledge. You should also seek to know if the knowledge is helping them conduct workplace processes better.
The last process in effective knowledge management is maintaining quality by regularly updating the knowledge.
Design annual reviews of knowledge management databases and assign roles on your team for editing and approving documents.
Why invest in a knowledge management framework?
Knowledge management provides a framework for your company. It establishes standards and expectations, such as how to document different procedures, distribute knowledge to departments and keep databases up-to-date.
A knowledge management framework can help solve any knowledge-related issue you might come across.
It should communicate your team's vision and goals, illustrate how the process works, and provide relevant examples for everything going according to plan. Other benefits include:
- Improve operations: A good knowledge management framework will help you to improve your business operations, improve the quality of products, services and processes, increase efficiency, save time and money and reduce the risk of litigation.
- Promote growth: Provide your employees the information they need to grow and improve their skills. When teams are confident in their abilities, they'll be motivated to work harder and achieve team goals.
- Create a culture: Knowledge management isn't just a duty for one department. When your team embraces knowledge management, it positively affects team morale and productivity. Plus, you can be sure that teams are communicating and working together better when they can learn and ask questions without any unnecessary hassle.
- Employee training: It will help with training new employees, so they know what's needed before they start working with their team (so they don't waste time getting caught up on things they already know)
A detailed knowledge management plan highlights a series of steps you have to take to achieve an outcome. However, a framework is an underlying structure that governs organizational management tactics, such as communicating intended values and habits without restricting teams from making their own decisions.
Develop and foster a culture of systematic knowledge creation by creating a robust framework for your business via the above-shared tips.