Knowledge management (KM) enables organizations to increase their chance of success by facilitating team collaboration, building a culture of learning, and driving innovation. Further, it can reduce an organization’s exposure to risk and prevent knowledge loss. However, many companies still doubt the importance of KM technology due to the following five myths:
1. Knowledge Management Requires Expensive Technology
Many companies are beginning to understand that one of the most valuable assets they have is the knowledge of their employees. Therefore, an investment must be made to ensure the effective management of knowledge. However, many make the assumption that knowledge management requires expensive technology. Instead of researching options, they fall farther into the trap of ignorance; they fail to assess the risk of “not knowing” and continue to support a company culture where employees lack a method to document and share knowledge.
The consequences stemming from the lack of knowledge management are far more expensive than an investment in KM technology, like AnswerHub. What happens if an employee leaves the company unexpectedly? How much undocumented knowledge will walk out the door? Or, how much will it cost when a poor decision is made due to faulty knowledge?
HR Magazine reported that Fortune 500 companies lose roughly $31.5 billion a year by failing to share knowledge. Consider how that statistic translates to your business – is it worth the risk? To preserve such a valuable asset, invest in knowledge management – as you would any of your products or services – and proactively research options to find the solution that best fits your needs and budget.
2. Knowledge Management Isn’t MY Problem
Knowledge management impacts everyone within an organization. Everyone has knowledge worth sharing, as well as knowledge they lack. Why reinvent the wheel when everyone can benefit from shared knowledge?
Knowledge management sets the foundation for success; it enables knowledge workers to access information that may have otherwise only been kept in hard copy format (unsearchable), on a colleague’s computer (inaccessible), or worse, in someone's head (undocumented).
McKinsey says the average worker spends nearly 20% of the workweek looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks.
Knowledge management breaks such barriers to productivity through organic knowledge sharing. Workers are able to capture knowledge, easily find answers at the moment of need, and ensure performance doesn’t deteriorate due to a lack of knowledge transfer.
3. “If You Build It, They Will Come.”
To ensure success, companies must create a culture of knowledge sharing. The “if you build it, they will come” mentality will only result in failure. For knowledge management to work, a shift must be made from hoarding knowledge or sharing information via email.
Effective knowledge management requires organizational acceptance. Everyone, from the top down, must be expected to capture and share their knowledge, as well as refer to the knowledge base or online community as a resource.
To create a culture of knowledge sharing, begin by incorporating knowledge management into your business objectives and strategy. This includes researching technology options, outlining goals, and selecting the best product for your organization.
Once a KM framework is in place, openly communicate employee expectations and build awareness for the new knowledge base or community. Also, create a plan that incentivizes employees to actively share knowledge and engage with their peers. For example, AnswerHub gamification rewards quality user participation with badges, reputation points and expert status.
Lastly, knowledge management is a process, not a one-time project. It requires executive reinforcement and dedication. Organizational leaders must communicate the importance of knowledge management, as well as lead by example through active knowledge sharing.
4. Knowledge Management Means Hiring Expensive People
Many expect an investment in KM technology to coincide with the hiring of a Chief Knowledge Officer. For this reason, many organizations refuse to implement knowledge management because they believe the expense is too high.
A KM strategy can be enforced without adding an expensive seat to the C-Suite. As discussed in the previous argument, knowledge management is a responsibility incapable of being left in the hands of a single executive, however effective. It requires an overarching organizational strategy and participation from everyone.
5. Knowledge Management Is a Fad
Knowledge management may be a buzzword, but that does not mean it’s going away anytime soon. Knowledge management delivers enormous business value – increased productivity, knowledge transfer, collaboration, and improved employee performance – and this is only expected to grow. The value of knowledge has remained a constant in the business world; for this reason, organizations must embrace knowledge management or risk the loss of a nearly irreplaceable asset.
Want to learn more about the benefits of knowledge management? Download our eBook, Why Knowledge Management Matters.