Keeping teams aligned is imperative in our ever-changing business world. We’re all in an inherently fast-paced, exciting, and competitive market, no matter what the industry. It’s about being one step ahead of your competition and keeping your entire team on track to keep moving forward. The organizations that are most successful at this likely have a carefully crafted knowledge management strategy to help them thrive and grow, with short-term and long-term gains.
But what does a modern knowledge management strategy look like, and how can it help improve operations so that organizations meet their goals?
Let’s dive into what a knowledge management strategy looks like in practice and how it can help build a framework for team alignment.
Want to learn even more about how to implement a successful knowledge management strategy that keeps employees engaged? Download our Ultimate Knowledge Engagement Workbook.
What Is A Knowledge Management Strategy?
When you look at where your organizational struggles are coming from, consider this: are departmental silos fragmenting your work environment? Moving quickly can mean growing where you need it, when you need it, resulting in a fragmented workplace. With separate departments focused solely on their given roles—be it sales, marketing, customer support, IT, or any other number of responsibilities—communication and knowledge sharing can feel impossible.
A knowledge management strategy is a plan of action that outlines how your organization will manage and centralize company information, data, and knowledge to improve your productivity and efficiencies. The most successful of these strategies are closely aligned with individual department and company-wide objectives.
By investing in an organization-wide knowledge management strategy, businesses can empower their teams to tap into shared knowledge and make informed decisions that impact revenue, retention, and innovation. Benefits of a successful knowledge management strategy include:
- Boosted productivity as employees spend less time looking for information and more time applying it
- A decrease in duplicated work and errors
- Faster and better informed decision-making
- Accelerated employee onboarding (and a better onboarding experience)
- Customer service improvements due to frontline employees having fast access to the knowledge they need
- Increased employee self-sufficiency and confidence
- Better collaboration and cross-functional collaboration on new ideas and information
Best Practices of Knowledge Management Strategies
When setting out to form a comprehensive knowledge management strategy, every organization is unique. There are, however, common practices that span organizations and industries, including:
- Increasing awareness and understanding of all the types of knowledge (explicit, implicit, and tacit) that exist across the organization
- Conducting a knowledge audit to determine where current knowledge assets live, how they are being used, and what gaps exist
- Identifying knowledge needs and defining the goals and objectives of a knowledge management strategy
- Building a business case and attracting resources for implementation
- Providing a communicable plan about where your organization is now, where you want to be, how knowledge management will get you there, and how you will measure that
- Working with knowledge management champions across different departments and promoting an organization-wide culture of knowledge engagement
But Is Knowledge Management Enough?
Having a strategy in place to share company knowledge is a great place to start, but is it enough? It depends on what you include.
If your knowledge management solution is focused solely on documenting and preserving information, then no, it isn’t enough. A knowledge management strategy is most successful when it also includes:
- Communication to break down silos between departments
- Tools to make it easy for employees to search for and leverage company knowledge without extensive training
- Opportunities for employees not just to access, but to actively contribute to, their organization’s collective intelligence
Documenting knowledge and information is only one piece of the equation: you also need to empower employees to engage with and add to that knowledge so that it becomes a dynamic, sustainable resource.
If you are currently using knowledge management tools that have low engagement and are not making tasks easier, reconsider your strategy. It may be time to dig deeper and find a solution that goes beyond the basic management of company data. Give your employees an easy-to-use platform to not only share their knowledge but also communicate and collaborate around that information.
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 August 26, 2021.