Knowledge Management: Who knows the answer? Where is the answer?
Knowledge and skill in every aspect of your business exists in your most valuable asset - - your employees! How do you locate who has the knowledge or skill needed to speed the solution of a particular problem?
Knowledge that can assist your team to become more expert is also in documents, reports, training systems, and even email. How do you find that kernal critical to an effective solution of a particular problem?
It is a truism that nearly every employee knows 'what' to do in terms of the tasks they are trained for and the responsibilities they are charged with.But when the operational needs suddenly extend beyond the 'typical' task and there is a need for more expert insight where do your employees turn? Can they quickly query the collected documentation to find the key to move forward with confidence? Do they have a way to find out who has expertise, who to turn to for advice, assistance, guidance?
Effective Knowledge Management focuses on building strategic tools to uncover resources, make them readily available, and put access to the resources into the hands of your team. Key 'tools' are:
- A Document Management system with well-defined retention and cataloging policy and processes.
- A flexible easy to use 'Skills' database system to capture individual employee knowledge and skills, internal contact information and a well managed updating process as your team members skills change over time, and keep track of where they can be reached as they move within the enterprise.
- Employee time is valuable, it is the foundation of the productivity calculation. One frequently overlooked aspect of knowledge-sharing is a managed approach to sharing. To be effective there must be a way to find out who is available, when are they available and what is the best channel to contact them through: phone, email, instant messaging, face-to-face. Contact systems need to integrate smoothly with existing scheduling systems such as OfficeTracker, Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, etc.