One of the important steps that an organization can take is improving its knowledge management programs. Knowledge management can be used to describe numerous initiatives, but the central goal is to preserve institutional knowledge. Organizations have taken different approaches to knowledge management, by either using a high level software service or other low cost initiatives to track records, policies and procedures.
Part of the challenge of knowledge management is identifying what the most important components of the organization are to capture. Once that information is captured, HR professionals need to think about how to share the information with the right people to make informed decisions. Like most data, it is important that the right information is being provided. Thinking about what decisions need to be made based on operational data is a critical step in knowledge management.
Some strategies that have been used for knowledge management is cross training initiatives, mentoring programs, improved documentation and a centralized spot for records. All are great and can help assist in knowledge management, but the data needs to be used to help agencies make informed hiring and staffing decisions.
There are dozens of reasons why agencies need to preserve institutional knowledge within an agency. With the looming retirement of the baby boomer generation, it will be essential to codify their knowledge and share with employees. Also, with many employees now mobile and teleworking, the way knowledge is shared is changing. Cloud technology is being used more and more to share resources, and telework is an important consideration when you think about sharing knowledge, processes and organizational policies.
Other important factors I see impacting the public sector is the increasing competition from the private and non-profit sectors. Knowledge management programs can be used to retain employees, and serve as a way to keep the most talented employees within an agency. I’ve heard of story-telling as a way to share knowledge in organizations, this would be a good way to keep people invested within the agency. To stay competitive with the private and non-profit sector, the public sector needs to consider everything that they can provide to a prospective employee. Looking at knowledge management, it is just one part of making sure they are competitive and operating as a well-run organization.
I’d be curious to hear how formally agencies have approached knowledge management, or if it is generally looped into other initiatives within the agency.
What policies do you have in place for knowledge management?
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