This post was originally published on lessonly.com.
Selecting a knowledge management system can be a complicated process. Companies need to choose the right tool so team members can be more productive and efficient. Our newest blog series examines three crucial features that every great knowledge management tool should offer to enable teams. We started off learning how to build content, now let’s see how to share it across the team.
If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?
The same can be said for knowledge. How often do we spend time reinventing the wheel and creating knowledge only to later realize that a better wheel already existed? In other words, the explicit knowledge already existed, but you weren’t in the forest to hear it. Instead, you wasted time creating a subpar alternative instead of using that time to improve on an already existing idea or focus on a different priority altogether.
The ability to share knowledge across our teams and leverage someone else’s “wheel” allows us to not only grow, evolve, and improve at a faster rate, but scale as well. This is why shareability is a key feature to look for in knowledge management software.
So, what are the benefits of shareability?
Deliver best practices across your team and organization
Once a team member develops an effective solution to a problem, knowledge sharing allows other members within your organizations to use it going forward. This avoids redundant efforts by managing knowledge properly. For example, an account executive has a highly successful demo — shareability allows other AE’s to see what they’re doing and leverage that ‘secret sauce.’ They can quickly retrieve knowledge that covers best practices and helpful tips to replicate that same success.
Of course, there are significant time-saving and money-saving benefits here, but a more important benefit is improved performance. Take the example of the stellar AE. The rest of the team’s performance also improves as they adopt proven best practices. Even better, these benefits aren’t siloed to just your current team. A knowledge base provides access to this knowledge repository no matter what part of the organization you’re in, or who is a part of it.
If your knowledge management system doesn’t promote shareability, your team can only grow as quickly as the bandwidth of your tenured employees does. During onboarding, a lack of shareability can create a bottleneck as new team members need to depend on in-person or classroom walkthroughs of key processes. Not to mention, once the new team member completes onboarding, it’s inevitable that they’ll have questions related to their training. If knowledge is hard to find, they’ll be forced to disrupt their teammates to find the answer. This not only reduces their teammate’s productivity but delays the new team member from getting the answer quickly. A robust knowledge system can prevent this scenario as it serves as a content management tool that’s always accessible.
Promote innovation and process improvements
The time saved from reinventing the wheel can then be used to improve it. If teams aren’t moving forward, they’ll surely fall behind. Shareability promotes innovation by allowing others to build on ideas and make them better. This often translates to more efficient processes, new products or processes, and a more effective team overall.
Create a better customer experience
A more efficient and effective performance will not only impact your employees, but your customers as well. Improved service levels and pricing strategies can create a competitive advantage for your company. By being able to innovate more quickly, you can also develop new products or services to further drive revenue and increase win rates.
Reduce knowledge loss
Organizations rely on employee knowledge to keep their business running and keep their customers happy. When knowledge isn’t shared, it becomes siloed and a greater dependence is placed on the person who ‘owns’ that knowledge. A top-notch knowledge management system facilitates the shareability of a company’s critical knowledge and eliminates the risk of that knowledge being lost if tenured employees move along to a new opportunity.
Support the transition of old to new employees
Most industries are in the middle of a substantial workforce transition as baby boomers retire and millennials fill their shoes. When workers retire and take their experiences and knowledge with them, there’s sure to be a gap. Shareability can bridge this gap by providing continued access to key processes in the knowledge base or knowledge management system. When the time comes to then train a new hire, they can focus on the 1:1 time with the expert since the key how-to’s are already documented. This also reduces the overall disruption to your business and customers.