Knowledge Management is the set of practices set up by a company to collect, share and improve tacit and explicit knowledge at all levels.
Too often underestimated by companies, effective management of the body of corporate knowledge allows for a significant competitive advantage. In fact:
- The skills of each employee are exploited in the best possible way. As Lean says, not using these skills is to be considered a real waste (we talked about it in this post)
- The learning curve of employees is shortened
- You save time and money in project management: how many times have you had to solve a problem that had actually already been solved by someone else in the company?
- Employee satisfaction is improved: an employee who learns is a happy employee.
In this post, we will provide you with 5 practical ideas for effective knowledge management.
# 1: implementing a skills matrix
The first suggestion we give you is to create a skills matrix. This matrix is composed as follows:
- The first line indicates the skills required by the company so that the various tasks can be performed efficiently by the employees. These competences should include both soft skills and hard skills
- The first column indicates the various tasks
- In the second column, the employees, broken down by job
- The cells of the matrix indicate which are the skills required for each job (therefore for each employee), dividing them into:
- Must: necessary skills
- Should: skills not necessary but preferably to be acquired
- Nice to have: skills not required, but which can make a contribution
- Not required
- Then, the skills already acquired and those to be acquired are highlighted
- For the skills to be acquired, a course plan must be provided to bridge this gap
There are several digital solutions on the market for employee skills management. If you want to know more, contact us.
# 2: transforming tacit knowledge into explicit
It often happens that, especially in manufacturing companies, the knowledge of the processes is not explicit, i.e. that there are key people who know the process perfectly, but this knowledge is not documented anywhere. This represents a strong criticality, since, if the expert is missing (illness, change of job, dismissal, retirement, etc.) this knowledge is inevitably lost.
For this reason, it becomes essential to implement a structured business method to bring out all the tacit knowledge and transform it into explicit. From a practical point of view, this means creating and managing such documentation adequately.
# 3: documenting knowledge and manage it effectively
To date, digital technology offers a series of extremely valid tools for every type of need and above all for all budgets.
For example, I happened to work in a leading company in the aerospace industry that used a simple free tool from the MS suite such as OneNote as a tool for gathering information within various teams. This information was then easily accessible at all levels thanks to the corporate cloud by means of keyword research.
There are also other paid instruments on the market that are used in the manufacturing sector. Some of these help in the creation of digital work instructions thanks to the use of videos, images, links connected to the company MES or ERP. Other solutions, on the other hand, almost represent real MESs able to provide not only the instructions created on the basis of the knowledge collected, but also provide multilingual support (essential for multinationals), to collect data and make some basic analyzes on process performance. (if you want to know more, contact us)
# 4: creating a culture of lifelong learning
The fourth piece of advice we give you is to create a culture of lifelong learning. This point is correlated with point 1: once the knowledge gaps have been identified, however, we can also identify a series of additional skills that would allow the employee to keep constantly updated. In fact, multidisciplinary skills are increasingly in demand as employees need to be more and more flexible in relation to the tasks to be performed.
Fortunately, today there are several ways to keep employees up to date:
- Training on the jobs
- Face-to-face training (in the classroom)
- Synchronous elearning (typically webinar)
- Asynchronous elearning (typically online platforms that you log into and progress at your own pace)
In particular, we believe that the latter solution can provide several practical benefits:
- Costs: no travel is required, therefore no costs for transport, food and accommodation
- Flexibility: you can access in your spare time, or in moments of calm
- Accessibility: all you need is a laptop, tablet or even a smartphone to access the content
There are several more or less famous online platforms that guarantee access to a package of courses for the whole company.
For our part, SkillS4i with the aim of providing online courses (but not limited to) on issues related to various skills required in the manufacturing sector.
# 5: frequent feedback between manager, human resources and employee
The last piece of advice we give you is to have frequent interviews or feedback between the manager, human resources and the employee. This allows you to know which skills the employee would like to develop more than others, thus also directing his growth path within the company.
Need support in Knowledge Management?
In this post we have seen how knowledge management can make a significant contribution to staff growth and the management of daily activities. In addition, we have provided 5 ideas so that this management can be done effectively and efficiently.
Accialini Training & Consulting can provide you with valid support in the management of business knowledge. In fact:
- we can help management to plan strategic knowledge management
- we can recommend a series of digital tools to support the management of the related documentation, depending on the areas and requirements requested
- we can provide you with a series of asynchronous e-learning courses thanks to SkillS4i, our platform for industrial skills
- we can provide you with a series of courses via webinar or face-to-face (see our offer here)