7 Essential Knowledge Management Practices

Joseph Stubblebine
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Knowledge management involves the creation, capture, protection and shared use of organizational information to benefit your business. With an increasing amount of information available from many different sources to all of your company's employees, quality knowledge management procedures are essential to retain company knowledge, help with employee decision-making and protect knowledge from privacy breaches. Follow these best practices in knowledge management to proactively manage your company's information stream.

Encourage Knowledge Sharing

All too often individuals and departments within a company store up knowledge for their own personal use. Instead, cultivate interdepartmental collaboration and reward shared information. When employees talk, new ideas are born and your company's knowledge base grows. Transparent internal communication at the management level forms the basis for a strong culture of sharing. When knowledge sharing is valued, information flows throughout the company creating new ideas that lead to innovation and growth.

Foster a Culture of Social Learning

Develop strong mentoring programs to allow seasoned employees to share their knowledge with newcomers. Carry out regular employee skill inventories, and have strong employees teach those with weaknesses. Create employee-to-employee on-the-job training programs to promote internal knowledge transfer.

Utilize the Cloud

Cloud-based collaboration provides employees with the opportunity to share knowledge across distances. Pair up creative minds from different cultural backgrounds for new idea generation with fewer boundaries. Cross-cultural communication helps employees develop sensitivities to cultural differences that further grow your company's knowledge base.

Set Up a Knowledge Management System

Formal knowledge management systems consist of software designed specifically to store and disseminate organizational knowledge. Employees share knowledge through presentations and papers stored in the system.

Use Metrics and Reports for Continuous Improvement

Many managers suffer from information overload. Best practices in knowledge management include utilizing a system of regular information review. Follow up these reviews with visual presentations of the most valuable data to keep department leaders informed and help in decision-making situations.

Monitor to Prevent Privacy Breaches

Modern technology makes it easy for security breaches to occur. Effective knowledge management includes properly training employees on the safe use of technology in the workplace and monitoring employee behavior to prevent data loss.

Focus on Employee Retention

Employees are the foundation of your company's knowledge base. Every employee who leaves your organization takes some of your knowledge along with him. Consider each employee an investment in your knowledge future, and work to improve problem areas before they get worse. Conduct regular employee satisfaction surveys, and follow through to make changes when necessary.

These essential knowledge management practices form a strong foundation for knowledgeable decision-making, a learning-centered environment and innovation-driven business processes. Proper knowledge management leads to few privacy breaches and better idea generation. Better ideas develop into company innovations for higher company profits.


(Photo courtesy of (Pakorn)/ freedigitalphotos.net)


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