Knowledge management enables companies to transform their employees’ knowledge into structural assets or capital. It decentralizes knowledge and makes it accessible to all employees. If done right, it accelerates the onboarding process.
Knowledge management is the strategic process of gathering, organizing, sharing, and analyzing institutional knowledge.
A well-organized knowledge base ensures employees won’t have to reinvent the wheel, prevents repetitive mistakes, and quickens learning processes.
The process of gathering and documenting data and transforming it into knowledge (that is not only accessible but understandable for everyone) normally takes place along with daily tasks and projects and needs to be thought through and planned. It is important that your knowledge management strategy ensures you use an adequate amount of resources, that no important knowledge gets lost, and that knowledge is organized in a way that leaves no space for misunderstandings.
In this blog post, we want to share some best practices on how you can make information management more effective for your organization.
#1 Transform information and knowledge into wisdom
In the best-case scenario, your knowledge management strategy enables your employees to make the right decisions faster. But for this to be the case, you need to find a way to transform data into wisdom. Normally, at the beginning of a strategic knowledge management cycle, you'll be dealing with raw sets of facts and figures that are hard to interpret. When data is systematically organized, contextualized, calculated, and summarized, it becomes information stored in files, documents, PDFs, etc.
Knowledge means a deep understanding of the information that is gained through learning or experience. There are two types of knowledge: explicit and tacit knowledge.
Explicit knowledge is knowledge that is easily codified and conveyed to others, such as reports, articles, datasheets, and whitepapers.
Tacit knowledge is more subjective knowledge based on personal experiences, such as skills and ideas.
A lot of your employees won't even be aware of the fact that they are in the possession of tacit knowledge. Even if they are, documenting and sharing this knowledge is more complicated than sharing explicit knowledge.
But your knowledge management framework shouldn't end with transforming data into knowledge: ultimately, you want to turn it into wisdom. Wisdom means being able to use gained knowledge and experiences to make good decisions and judgments.
We found that our app is very beneficial when it comes to turning knowledge into wisdom. Audvice helps you record valuable information and knowledge with your voice and organize it in perfectly structured playlists you can share with your employees afterward.
How can this help with knowledge management?
Well, it helps us increase two things during the cycle: context and understanding. Often, your employees won't be able to turn information into knowledge simply by reading a document. But, imagine if an expert recorded a playlist about the document and gave more information and insights about it: then, a link to the recorded playlist would add more context and will help your employees to gain a better understanding when listening to it.
Sharing knowledge via playlists is especially beneficial when it comes to tacit knowledge.
Transferring tacit knowledge often requires personal contact or regular interaction. But regular interaction takes up a lot of time, which sometimes you just don't have. Listening to a playlist from an experienced team member, simply talking about their experiences or sharing personal opinions and problem-solving approaches gives a very personal touch to the listener, as voice can transmit real and contextual thoughts from a real person. Plus, they can listen to the playlists repeatedly, whenever and wherever they want.
This will also help them to internalize the knowledge and ultimately turn it into wisdom, to make more accurate and informed decisions.
#2 Facilitate Knowledge Management for everyone
Generating a knowledge base that is accessible to everyone isn't something that can just be handed over to a project team or HR and left solely up to them.
Your knowledge base and knowledge management depend on your company's biggest asset: your employees. Without their participation, you won't go far.
That means the whole process must be as efficient and easy as possible for everyone.
First, you need to find the right tools for organizational knowledge and strategic knowledge management. You will need technology that helps you to document, store and especially organize and categorize all data and information that you want your employees to have access to. The right choice obviously largely depends on your organization and current circumstances. You will also have to figure out over which mediums you want to transfer knowledge. The tools and processes that you set in place should be user-friendly and easy to manage. After all, if documenting and sharing knowledge isn't easy, people won't do it.
Once the technical tools are set up, you need to activate your employees to use the implemented knowledge management tools and actively participate by sharing their knowledge.
First, you need to make them aware of how they can access the knowledge management tools and where they can find what kind of information. If they see that you have a whole knowledge management system in place, that helps them to find information and gain knowledge quickly and easily. Moreover, they will be willing to participate in documenting and sharing their own knowledge. Also, if you communicate that documenting knowledge with the tools in place only takes a short amount of time and resources, your employees will almost certainly want to get involved.
This is another use case for our app that we love. Sharing knowledge via a playlist provides the right context, is super easy and saves a lot of time. Almost everyone knows how to record voice messages, and most of us do it daily. Not only is the process of recording playlists easy, but the additional context given by voice as opposed to text means that fewer questions will come up for the listener. The person recording doesn't have to spend eternity explaining the same thing over and over again once it is documented in a playlist.
#3 keeping the knowledge management system up to date
Your company is continuously growing, changing, and evolving. Your corporate knowledge too. This is a fact that you need to keep in mind when designing your knowledge management strategy and structure. If you don't keep your knowledge base up to date and regularly check and maintain it, your employees will be left with outdated information, which may lead to wrong decisions. Again, pay attention to the technology you use.
Editing and changing the knowledge that is documented needs to be easy. It also makes sense to categorize and structure your knowledge base in a way that makes it easy to find everything with just a few clicks, so that you don't have to spend much time finding the information you want to change or edit.
Of course, you also need to encourage your employees to keep the knowledge they have documented and stored up to date. One way to hold them accountable is to include “updating the knowledge management system” in reward and recognition mechanisms. If everyone maintains their documented knowledge, no one makes outdated decisions, and your documented corporate knowledge turns into a huge advantage for the whole organization.
Audvice is a knowledge base that grows and evolves as fast as your company. By using the search function directly via our app, you can access any playlist, track, or group that you like in no time. You can remove and add tracks to your playlists at any time, making it easy to change, edit and maintain knowledge. If you simply want to change the way your knowledge is structured, you can easily combine existing tracks with new playlists or change the order of your tracks. Want to see audvice in action? Click the button below to watch the video.
All in all, your knowledge should be stored not only as raw sets of data but with the needed context such that your employees can gain knowledge most efficiently and turn it into wisdom.
Knowledge management should be integrated with your daily business operations. Make sure to use the right tools and software and only an adequate amount of your employees’ time and resources during the process. And lastly, make sure that the knowledge you have documented is maintained and kept up to date when things change.
If you want to know more about how audvice can help you with knowledge management and organization, check out our use cases.