Understanding Knowledge Management Maturity
Any strategy is based upon understanding where you are on a journey. Typically we base this upon four key questions to help guide a strategy;
Where are you now?
Where do you want to be?
How will you get there?
How will you know when you got there?
Well-defined knowledge management procedures.
Creating a Knowledge Management Strategy
Once you've captured your team's knowledge, the next step is to ensure it's effectively shared and utilised by all team members. Here are some ideas to promote knowledge sharing within your team.
Creating a Culture of Knowledge-Sharing
Foster an environment that encourages and rewards knowledge sharing. Communicate the importance of knowledge sharing to your team and emphasise its impact on customer satisfaction, efficiency, and team success. Recognise and celebrate team members who actively contribute to the knowledge base, mentor others, or participate in learning activities. Maybe consider on-the-spot awards for outstanding contributions.
Organising Regular Team Training and Workshops
As touched upon in an earlier section, for a knowledge management strategy, it can be beneficial to schedule regular training sessions and workshops focused on specific knowledge areas or skill development, sometimes known as Knowledge Sharing Sessions (KSS). Use these sessions to share new information, discuss best practices, or address knowledge gaps identified through your assessment process.
Invite experienced team members to lead sessions, which not only share their knowledge but also helps build their leadership skills.
These sessions can be valuable around the launch of a new application or piece of functionality, where you can have one team member investigate it and then report back to the wider team. It can help with their communication skills, and nothing embeds knowledge like having to walk someone else through it. Staff can also view it as a way of enhancing their standing and challenging themselves.
Pair less experienced team members with a more experienced mentor who can provide personalised guidance, support, and knowledge transfer. This one-on-one relationship fosters the sharing of tacit knowledge, helps to close skill gaps, and contributes to employee development.
This can work well where it is between teams. For example, 3rd Line infrastructure support mentoring some of the 1st line support team members from the help desk.
Embedding Into Objectives
This can be a tricky one to word in a personal objective or a behavioural expectation of the team members, but you should consider making it part of employee performance reviews. If a team member has added nothing to the knowledge base when they get to their review or they compare poorly to their colleagues, then there's a point for discussion.
Maintaining and Updating Knowledge
So, it's one thing to get a fundamental knowledge base going, but to keep it accurate and relevant; you will need to work at it. It needs to become part of the culture and be regularly reviewed.
Here are some thoughts on keeping it fresh and relevant.
A knowledge base won't maintain itself. If left, it'll become like my garden; in desperate need of maintenance and weeding and a massive obstacle to overcome.
I've seen knowledge bases replaced over and over again by the same teams because people felt it was getting unwieldy or out of date. I've also seen groups splinter off and create their own knowledge bases. It all needs careful management and maintenance and a reasonably strong hand.
Organise Regular Reviews and Updates of Knowledge Resources
Schedule periodic reviews of your documented procedures, best practices, and other knowledge resources. Encourage team members to identify outdated information, propose updates, and make necessary revisions. Establish a straightforward review process that includes assigning responsibilities, setting deadlines, and ensuring accountability for maintaining knowledge resources.
Keep Upto Date With New Tech And Ideas
Stay informed about technological changes, industry standards, and best practices relevant to your help desk operations. Keep track of software updates, new tools, and emerging trends impacting your team's knowledge and expertise. Then, incorporate this information into your knowledge resources and training programs to ensure your team stays up-to-date.
Continuously seek out new sources of knowledge and learning opportunities, such as external training, conferences, webinars, and industry events. Encourage team members to participate in these activities and share their learnings with the rest of the team. This broadens your team's knowledge base and demonstrates your commitment to their ongoing development.
Solicit Feedback and Suggestions from Team Members
Invite team members to provide feedback on your knowledge management initiatives and suggest improvements. This feedback can help identify areas that need further attention, uncover new knowledge gaps, or reveal opportunities for better knowledge sharing. Then, regularly survey team members to gather their insights and demonstrate a commitment to acting on their suggestions.
Creating a Knowledge Management Plan
So, now it's time to put these principles into action.
Here's a suggested action plan to help you implement your knowledge management initiatives:
Assess your team's knowledge and expertise, identifying key areas and gaps.
Prioritise the knowledge areas to focus on based on their importance, frequency of use, difficulty, and impact on customer satisfaction.
Choose appropriate knowledge capture techniques, such as documentation, interviews, recording sessions, and collaborative platforms.
Implement knowledge-sharing strategies like establishing platforms for sharing, organising training sessions, setting up mentorship programs, and promoting cross-functional collaboration.
Establish processes for maintaining and updating your team's knowledge resources, including regular reviews, tracking changes in technology, identifying new knowledge sources, and soliciting feedback from team members.
Set relevant KPIs and track the impact of your knowledge management initiatives on your help desk's performance.
Continuously review and adjust your knowledge management efforts, identifying areas for improvement and refining your strategies to serve your team's needs better.