According to a McKinsey report, an average employee spends 28 percent of their time managing emails and 20 percent looking for important company information or tracking down coworkers who can help them with specific issues. That means, employees spend a quarter of their time writing emails, looking for information, and seeking help from their coworkers.
Elevating employee knowledge management can have a big effect on your organization’s productivity. Moreover, when information is correctly organized and easily accessible, it helps unlock the value of the collective knowledge of your workforce and allows them to perform their best.
But effective knowledge management does not need extra tools that can be expensive and time-consuming to set up. A digital workplace platform can help streamline knowledge management within your organization in just a few clicks.
What is knowledge management and why is it important?
Knowledge management defines, structures, retains, and shares the knowledge as well as the experience of employees within an organization. The main goal of knowledge management is to retain all the knowledge within the company to improve the overall efficiency.
With knowledge management, it becomes possible to maintain and build upon the internal knowledge present in the organization. It not only helps employees in developing new skills but also ensures that knowledge is dispersed and available throughout the company.
An ideal knowledge management platform should:
- Foster decision making, problem-solving, and strategic planning
- Allow employees to get a better understanding of their colleagues’ experiences
- Protect all intellectual assets from decaying
- Building upon the existing organizational intelligence
Knowledge management is important because it helps boost the organization’s decision-making ability. When employees have access to the available expertise within the company, you get a smarter, more skilled workforce that has the capability to make informed, quick, and accurate decisions. It also becomes easier to foster innovation within the organization.
Some of the many reasons why employee knowledge management has become important to organizations include:
- Employees know where to go whenever they need relevant information and resources related to their work
- Knowledge is retained by the organization even when employees leave and move to a different company
- It avoids duplicated efforts
- It standardizes the process for employees to share their expertise
- It increases overall collaboration
- It optimizes onboarding process since new employees already have all the resources they need to get started
Three main obstacles to effective knowledge management
Just shooting an email to all the employees and asking them to share their knowledge will not work. Your employees might want to protect their knowledge and skills, or they just might be reluctant to learn from their colleagues.
It is important for organizations to create a culture of collaboration and flexibility where employees feel encouraged to share their knowledge and they actually want to talk about their past work experiences with their coworkers.
Instead of encouraging everyone to start sharing their knowledge, you need to identify the experts within the organization that possess certain knowledge that can be useful to their peers.
You can use it as the foundation of knowledge management and then slowly add more employees to the mix. It’s a huge challenge in itself because not only do you need to choose the most skilled employees within the company but you also want to make sure that their colleagues don’t feel neglected or left out for not being chosen as experts.
Determining how to store and manage knowledge
In order to make the most out of employee knowledge, you have to store and organize it in the right way so that it is visible and easily searchable. Document management is a whole challenge in it still because if it is not handled carefully, you will end up with a vast amount of knowledge which is not even useful to anyone because it will become impossible to locate information.
You will have to create a strategy to decide how the employees can access already stored knowledge. You need dedicated resources to continuously update and optimize the information in order to make sure it is always up to date and helpful to the employees.
A digital workplace platform can streamline knowledge management
There has been an explosion of applications in the workplace with every company using over 16 SaaS apps on average. The number has only increased in the last few months as a majority of the workforce has been working remotely due to the ongoing pandemic.
While enterprise applications can boost individual productivity for the short term, they become counterproductive when it comes to sharing information. The more apps you use, the more siloes get created and the more difficult it becomes to access content within the company.
A unified digital workplace offers a central platform that facilitates and encourages knowledge transfer. It’s the place where all the data, documents, and conversations happen, making it perfect for knowledge management.
Since employees don’t have to use a separate application just for knowledge sharing, they feel more encouraged to share information. A digital workplace increases the visibility of all types of knowledge, reduces the overall time it takes to find relevant documents, and also decreases the back and forth between employees.
Knowledge management is important for the success of companies
Information can only become knowledge when it is made actionable and insightful. In other words, the information should be available in a form that helps employees solve their everyday business problems.
A unified digital workplace platform with a strong and centralized search function can serve as the perfect knowledge management solution and improve your company’s overall efficiency and productivity.