Many employers can relate to having few staff members who are overflowing with corporate knowledge. But what happens when they go on holiday, leave or retire?
One great way to make sure all staff have unlimited access to corporate knowledge is by creating and maintaining an up-to-date knowledge management system. Knowledge management systems can be anything from your already established intranet to a collaborative online workspace.
To make sure your knowledge management system is current and can provide your staff with the tools and resources they need, here are four ways to improve your system.
1. Invest in search functionality.
As content is king, the search is the ruler of knowledge management systems. An effective search function will allow your employees to quickly and easily find and share information from your system and will also improve productivity.
In simple terms, the staff won’t use your knowledge management system unless it has an excellent search function. After all, when using tools like these, there’s nothing worse than not being able to find what you’re looking for.
A few easy ways to improve your KM systems search function is to:
- Introduce an advanced search option – advanced search provides several fields to further define and narrow down search results.
- Encourage the use of tags in your documents. Tags are keywords that enable someone to search for all the documents on a topic.
- Conduct a document audit of their tags and search terms – completing an extensive audit of all document tags and search terms can help you discover what keywords and phrases need to be included and what tags and terms are unfamiliar to your staff when they are searching for information.
- Create a good indexing system – once you have finished your audit make sure all documents in your KM system are listed against keywords that staff associate each document with. Try and stay away from technical jargon when doing this.
2. Categorize content
Most businesses can relate to their intranet pages quickly becoming unruly with documents, templates and business plans. Re-organizing how this content is categorized however can help your staff find the knowledge they need, faster.
Keep in mind that there really isn’t a one size fits all approach to segmenting your system content, but some ways you could reorganization the content on your system is by:
Location – this can be beneficial for businesses that have offices or staff situated across different states and territories, with different operational roles and functions.
Projects or services – this can be beneficial for businesses that run multiple projects or services.
Whichever way you decide to categorize your knowledge management system, be sure to tackle business needs and make it clear, logical and easy to navigate.
3. Encourage staff to create content.
Encouraging staff to create and share content can improve your KM system by creating a database of collective organizational knowledge. Boosting staff involvement in this process can also help ingrain in them that strong leadership is at all levels and that every staff member’s work is important and valued.
A simple way to encourage staff to create and share content is to provide them with a space to upload their current work project achievements and lessons learn. Spaces could include an internal forum or blog. Content sharing could also be in the form of interactive events such as webinars or live Q&A sessions. The key is to make it interactive and enjoyable, so you can gather as much knowledge as possible.
4. Develop a community of practice.
An easy way to improve your current knowledge management system is to ensure its content is always relevant and current. To do this, however, can be a huge task and can require a high level of staff engagement and organization.
One way to keep your content fresh is to develop a community of practice. A community of practice is a group of staff from across your organization who will share the responsibility of maintaining and improving the system. They also could be tasked with the job of identifying and managing what new resources, tools or technology could be applied to the KM system to continue it to grow with your business’s needs.
Developing this type of practice also ensures that your system continuously has several different knowledge experts to author, publish and review content.
If your organization is looking to develop or improve the knowledge management system, the ContCentric team would be happy to help! Please feel free to approach us for a free consultation of the high-level requirement understanding.