The way knowledge is managed impacts every organizational aspect – people, processes, products, or services. And like anything else, the way it’s stored matters.
Today we’re taking a look at the ways a knowledge management system makes the difference between a productive and an unproductive workforce.
Information and knowledge can be - and mostly are - used for collaboration. Sharing them is at the core of collaboration – it’s where the discussion starts, where ideas get generated, tasks get assigned, and everyone starts contributing. That’s coming up roses when people have access to the same information, but oftentimes they don’t.
With hundreds of document versions floating around and team members not being sure which one’s the latest, collaboration can (and most likely will) become messy (to say the least). Information silos are another obstacle to building a collaborative culture, preventing team members from making fully informed decisions.
An information silo is a piece of isolated information that can’t freely correspond with related information flows. It’s also the knowledge management challenge that 54% of organizations face and can cost them up to $1.5M a year. Communication and collaboration silos can also lead to:
- Employee misalignment
- Team members having different priorities
Knowledge management systems help you create a culture of knowledge sharing where knowledge is available to everyone within the organization. It keeps knowledge ready to facilitate collaboration – it makes it easy to find, the information is organized, and everyone can hit it off from there.
- Decision-making process
Did we mention something about making informed decisions? Knowledge management software distributes information to make it accessible to everyone in the organization. So...what’s the impact of knowledge management on decision-making?
- It creates a single source of truth that provides up-to-date information used in the decision-making process.
- It makes processes agile by speeding up access to information. Having multiple document versions floating around without clear order creates confusion. That saves time people would rather spend on being productive.
The difference it makes? Better decisions are taken faster.
- Making your Internal Comms a single source or truth
When you hear “knowledge management”, you probably get the feeling it’s all about organizing dry pieces of information. But it’s not only about file storing and sharing, it’s also communication that revolves around it. Whether it comes to static or dynamic communication, sharing knowledge equals transparency.
What does transparency look like in top-down knowledge sharing?
- Knowledge stays location-independent
- Resources are accessible to everyone at any time
- Democratized content creation
- Simplified project management
- Department pages and automate onboarding: if Susan from Marketing is new to the team and isn’t familiar with the HR policies yet, she can find them on Pages, where static information goes. She wouldn't waste time scrolling endlessly in Slack hoping that someone posted about it.
To make sure it's not only the organization communicating with its people, but also employees communicating their thoughts and opinions with their company, knowledge management systems as co-communication hubs also need bottom-up communication. So what’s the impact of bottom-up communication on knowledge sharing?
- Channels with dynamic communication are the place where employees can share knowledge and form discussions around it in the comments.
- Employees voice their opinions, provide feedback and insights.
- When employees feel connected and up to date with what’s going on in the company, they’re more productive.
- Channels with dynamic communication are the place where employees can share knowledge and form meaningful discussions around it in the comments.
- A shift from "Ask" culture to "Search culture"
We bet you’ve had (or currently have!) that one person in your company that always asks you to drop them a link to docs to folders because they never know how to find it, and you always help them out because that’s what being nice means, but now imagine that’s the approach of your entire workforce. That’s when you’re dealing with an “ask” culture as opposed to a “search” culture.
Search cultures thrive where information is organized in a way that makes it fast and easy to find; as a result, people don’t need to ask around because they know how to find what they’re looking for on their own. It’s the best culture to build when it comes to knowledge management, but it’s also the hardest one – and the knowledge management system is here to help you impact that cultural shift:
- It serves as an organization’s own wiki tool, making the knowledge your people need easily discoverable, so everyone can focus on their thing. In other words, knowledge management has a direct impact on productivity.
- It prevents knowledge attrition. Knowledge is still available after people leave the organization. Without a proper knowledge base, when an employee leaves, their knowledge leaves with them.
- It helps you say what you want to say. You want your values, your culture, and resources to be strong and constant. The best knowledge management system will be a tool for your company to control the narrative and offer one single source of truth to all employees.
Here's what it comes down to
When the business grows, so does the knowledge shared. The way you manage it is impactful — it determines how information gets found, shared, and stored in your organization. Your people are involved in this process, and the way they interact with knowledge can be seen in their work: from day-to-day tasks all the way to their motivation and engagement with the content.