More companies than ever are shifting to a remote or hybrid model. And in order to keep their employees effective and productive, organizations are having to rethink the way they work and the way their teams function—and that includes rethinking their approach to knowledge management and sharing.
Effective knowledge management is a must in today’s remote-focused work culture—and companies recognize that in order to succeed, they need to adjust their knowledge management and sharing strategy to better suit their remote or hybrid teams.
According to Deloitte’s 2020 Human Capital Trends report, 75 percent of organizations ranked “creating and preserving knowledge across evolving workforces” is either “important” or “very important” for their company’s success over the next 12 to 18 months.
But how, exactly, are new ways of working changing the ways companies approach knowledge management and sharing?
Why effective knowledge management and sharing is a must in the remote and hybrid work age
First things first—before we jump into how knowledge management is changing in the era of remote and hybrid work, let’s talk about why effective knowledge management and sharing is so important in today’s work environment.
Effective knowledge management and sharing enables employees to be their most productive self while working remotely. Because in order to effectively do their jobs, employees need to be able to easily access and share the information they need—no matter where they (or their colleagues) are working.
But the truth is, many organizations are falling short in giving their employees what they need. For example, a report from research firm Miller Heiman Group found that 83 percent of respondents struggled to access the data they needed to do their jobs—while Buffer’s 2020 State of Remote Work Report found that 20 percent of workers named collaboration and communication as their biggest struggle while working remotely, putting it at the top of the list of worker’s remote work challenges.
Basically, employees need effective knowledge management and sharing processes in order to be effective while working remotely—but many companies aren’t delivering. So, if you want to give your organization a competitive edge—for attracting talent, retaining talent, and driving performance—overhauling your knowledge management and sharing processes is a great way to do it.
How changes in work are transforming knowledge management and sharing
As mentioned, taking a new approach to knowledge management and sharing can give you a competitive edge in the market, allowing your team to work more effectively—whether they’re in the office or working from home.
But the question is, what does that new approach look like? Or, in other words, how do you need to adjust your knowledge management and sharing strategy to support today’s new ways of working?
It’s all about the cloud
When the majority of work happened in one central office location, many companies chose to store their data and information on an in-house server. But as the way we work has changed, the way companies store information has also needed to change—and that’s meant shifting infrastructure to the cloud.
With cloud-based knowledge management, employees can access the information, files, data, and applications they need, no matter where they’re working. This enables teams to get things done quickly and efficiently—whether they’re working in the office, working remotely, or some combination of the two.
Processes are more important than ever…
Having clear systems and processes around knowledge management has always been important. But as more teams have moved to a remote or hybrid model, those systems and processes have become even more important.
Let’s use file organization as an example. When teams were sharing an office space, if a file wasn’t where it was supposed to be, they could pop over to the file owner’s office to ask where they could find it. It might tie things up for a few minutes (or hours, at most), but the issue could be resolved quickly.
But in a remote or hybrid work situation, not only are employees not working in the same office, in many situations, they’re not even working in the same time zone. If an employee can’t find a file, they need to email or message the file owner to find it. Depending on where the file owner is working (and how often they’re checking their email or message), this could push things back an entire work day. And when you have that kind of situation happening multiple times a day, across the organization? It can cause productivity to plummet.
In order to succeed with a remote or hybrid work model, you need to have clear, documented systems and processes around knowledge management and sharing. To keep productivity high—and work moving forward—employees need to understand how to access, save and share information in an organized, efficient, and uniform way.
…as is involving employees in the development of those processes
Having clear processes around knowledge management and sharing is a must in a remote or hybrid work environment. But companies that want those processes to be adopted and implemented effectively? They’re using employee feedback to develop those processes.
When employees have input into the processes around knowledge management and sharing, they’re more likely to adhere to those processes—and, as a result, it becomes more effective across the organization. So, as you adjust your company’s knowledge management and sharing strategy to suit the needs of today’s remote or hybrid workforce, the best thing you can do? Ask your employees for feedback as to how they’d like to see your current knowledge management and sharing processes change and evolve—and then use that feedback to create processes that employees will want to follow.
Integration is a must
Whatever knowledge management systems or software companies are using, if they want them to be effective in supporting their remote or hybrid teams, they need to integrate with the company’s existing systems and software.
For example, if your company is thinking of implementing a new knowledge management system to store files, those files need to be easily shared on your existing communication or project management platforms. And if you’re introducing a new tool that will make it easier for your employees to collaborate on projects, you need to make sure that tool will easily integrate with your existing tech stack.
Bottom line? New ways of work are transforming knowledge management and sharing—but if you want that transformation to be a successful one, integration with your company’s existing systems, processes, and software is a must.
Set your team up for success with the right knowledge management tools
As mentioned, the way we work is changing. And if you want your team to thrive with today’s new way of working, you need to give them the knowledge management and sharing tools they need to succeed while working in a remote or hybrid work environment. This can include a knowledge base, a drive, an enterprise social network, a collaborative platform, or even a digital workplace.
And now that you know the ways in which knowledge management and sharing are changing? You have everything you need to deliver those tools—and empower your team’s best work in the process.
Are you looking to implement a knowledge management tool? Discover how your organization can benefit from it in our article “Knowledge Management: Ideas and Knowledge of All…at The Service of All”:
Author: Deanna deBara