How to ‘make’ people share knowledge!
Time to put my money where my mouth is; I’ve been challenged a few times now to show how you can ‘make’ people share knowledge or take part in organisational knowledge and learning (KM) processes – this is building on our past blog, “For KM’s sake, get the people factor right!“.
Seriously, short of a Jack Bauer approach to HR policy, you just can’t ‘make’ people share knowledge or contribute to your organisational knowledge and learning processes. That’s the bad news. Now, for what you can do, you can stimulate the process:
- Set the scene from the outset – and get the right people – make sure that your recruitment and selection processes reflect the knowledge intensity of the post – think competency based approach and behavioural driven interview processes
- Construct job descriptions to ensure that they are up-to-date and reflect the organisation’s knowledge and learning needs
- Socialisation (induction processes) need to convey the knowledge message and demonstrate the knowledge intensity of the post – think about moving beyond ‘training’ to an applied ‘problem solving’ environment that leads into the job itself
- Structure annual appraisal processes to take into account the four functions of KM, which needs to link to the knowledge intensity of the job description
- Pay and reward systems, again, need to reflect the knowledge intensity of the role
- Leadership in an integral element to effective participation in knowledge driven processes – can your staff provide a leadership snapshot of the last time that you effectively demonstrated participation in the four key functions of KM (Using, sharing, creating or acquiring & storing knowledge)?
- Is credit given where credit is due – how do you celebrate successful KM ‘events’? Think trust! Can your staff provide a leadership snapshot to support this?
- How safe is it to fail – are staff afraid to try something new? Again, think trust! And, again, can they provide a leadership snapshot to support this?
This is by no means a definitive list and is designed to complement other aspects that we have discussed in past blogs, but it will give you a flavour of how we start to ensure that people begin to engage with organisational knowledge and learning processes. This, for us, is the key to success. To enable this you need to understand the HR aspect of your operations, after all, knowledge and innovation are people processes, and you need to nurture a partnership with your HR Director; in some cases, if they are engaged in a legacy (personnel driven) HR function, this is going to mean a programme of learning and development for them.
We have found that this is the biggest challenge when to come to designing organisational knowledge and learning processes; something that legacy KM consultancy frameworks and models just don’t appreciate. The process starts with people, surely this means that we need to look at out knowledge and learning processes from the potential employee’s first contact with the organisation.
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