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How Knowledge Management Improves the Training and Onboarding Process

Jon Hill
4 mins
Light bulbs representing better knowledge management

There’s no denying organizations pour a large amount of time and resources into training new hires, but have you ever stopped to calculate just how much? According to Statista, organizations spend an average of $1,308 per employee for learning and development every year. Additionally, employees spend an average of 42.1 hours per year on training initiatives.

With this investment of time, money, and resources, it’s essential that organizations make their training initiatives as impactful as possible. And that’s where a knowledge management strategy can help.

Knowledge management is about capturing, distributing, and preserving intellectual capital in a way that encourages knowledge sharing and collaboration in the organization, and this type of learning makes a world of difference to successfully training new hires. That’s why better knowledge management is crucial. Make sure your money is well spent and commit to a better knowledge management system (KMS) that enables more effective training.

Easily Connect New Hires to Existing Knowledge 

Asking a new employee to find a specific piece of information can be a bit like asking someone to find a vegetable peeler in a kitchen they’ve never been in before. They may find it eventually, but they will likely spend a significant amount of time searching across various locations first. However, this challenge can be remedied by establishing one central source for company knowledge.

Introduce new hires to your knowledge management platform early in their onboarding and make sure they understand what information lives in the platform and how to search for it. This will make it possible for new employees to quickly find the information they need, the moment they need it (without having to track down a subject matter expert or go spelunking through different folders and repositories).

Capture FAQs (So They Don’t Have To Be as Frequently Asked)

Encourage new hires to turn to your knowledge management platform when they have a question so that your library of FAQs grows over time—and so your managers and subject matter experts don’t have to answer the same questions over and over again.

New hires can start by searching the platform to see if their question has been asked and answered before. If they have a question that has never been answered, encourage them to post it in the knowledge management platform so that they can crowdsource an answer from their department or the entire organization. When you have a KMS that captures questions and answers—and makes them searchable—new hires will go there to find what they need without having to rely on a more tenured employee.

Measure Engagement with Knowledge

Not only is it important for your employees to have access to information at their fingertips, but it’s also important to track which content is getting the most engagement, views, or likes. If your knowledge management platform has built-in engagement analytics, you can see what content new hires find most useful, what terms they are searching for, and which new hires are reading and contributing. Analytics are critical to show you what information is most valuable to your new (and current) employees, what information is not being engaged with (and may need to be updated or archived), and what knowledge gaps currently exist.

Increase Social Collaboration Across Teams

Think back to your first day on the job. Did you feel at all overwhelmed? For many, asking questions and speaking up can be quite intimidating in the initial weeks of a new position. By creating a group or community for new hires going through onboarding together, you provide a comfortable space for new hires to ask questions and share their knowledge with confidence, knowing they are all on the same learning track. This adds an extra level of social collaboration and extends learning opportunities beyond the classroom. By setting a tone of psychological safety from the start, you encourage engagement and participation in the future.

Let Employees Self-Serve

Give new employees a sense of independence by empowering them to easily search through company knowledge and find what they need, including implicit, tacit, and explicit knowledge. A KMS that enables new hires to help themselves benefits everyone. Look for the following features to help with this:

  • Search Engine. Having a search engine inside a central repository allows your new hires to search for any training material you want them to see. Look for a platform that deep indexes all content so that everything becomes searchable, allowing new hires to find what they need even if they don’t know the exact file name or title. 
  • Customizable Structure. Even when all content is searchable, it can still be helpful to use categories or filters to narrow search results down. Look for a platform that allows you to create custom categories that align with your organization and the ways people search for information so that all employees (new and tenured) can find what they’re looking for.
  • Accessibility on Any Device. In today’s digital world, mobile-friendliness is essential. On-the-go, 24/7 access to information allows for flexibility and more control for employees.

Using Knowledge Management to Improve Training

Training and onboarding can be overwhelming for a new hire. An easy-to-use, well-organized knowledge management platform is necessary in order to foster collaboration for training and learning. A knowledge management system allows all employees to work at their full potential by tapping into the knowledge of their coworkers.

At the end of the day, people are your most valuable assets. It’s important to make employees feel they are a part of a solid and supportive community. Investing in a better knowledge management platform can deliver a solid ROI for your organization. Ensuring that employees have access to quality training and onboarding materials from the start will save time and money by turning new hires into productive and confident members of your team.

Note: We periodically update blogs to reflect the latest trends, research, and best practices in knowledge management. This blog was most recently updated and expanded on September 7, 2021.

September 7, 2021

Harness The Power Of Knowledge Sharing With Digital Transformation

Companies that grasp what the digital workplace is really all about are willing to change the ways people and applications connect across their organizations. By fostering a digitally driven culture of collaboration, they break down silos, share knowledge more effectively and compete more successfully.

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