Best Practices in Actualizing Effective Knowledge Management

Differentiating Between Data and Information

For organizations that have knowledge management or KM systems in place, it is important to distinguish between the vast streams of data that is the outcome of the intersection of the online world and the organizational processes and useful information among this data. In other words, not every piece or artifact that is submitted to the KM portal is useful as employees might use the data and information freely available on the internet as their own submissions to the KM portal. This happens because many organizations mandate the submission of artifacts to the KM portal as being integral to the employees’ performance appraisal. Therefore, for those employees who cannot submit anything original, there is a temptation to pass of publicly available information as their own leading to issues of intellectual property and plagiarism.

As we shall discuss later, the organizational gatekeepers to the KM portals have a tough time in sorting and sifting through the submissions and this might lead to outages and wastages of time by these gatekeepers. It is important to remember that the basic tenet of KM is that data and information are separate, not all data is information, and only that information that is meaningful and relevant as well as pertinent to the organization is information and knowledge that can be used for the benefit of the organization.

Some Best Practices in the Real World

A possible solution to this situation where the gatekeepers to the KM portal have to spend a lot of time in sorting out the useful stuff from the garbage is to use a plagiarism checker or a plagiarism detector that would weed out the submissions comprised of freely available information on the internet. By doing so, the organizations can ensure that the KM portal has artifacts that do not violate the intellectual property ownership and related aspects.

Another solution would be to institute a peer review process wherein the submissions are vetted by the coworkers of the employees who are contributing to the KM portal. In this manner, the organizations can ensure that the vetting process would weed out the unwanted submissions. Of course, the employees who are doing the vetting have to spend their time and for this, they can be rewarded through bonus points for submissions. This practice is followed by many multinationals where they provide incentives to the employees to submit relevant content, monetary, and non-monetary rewards for useful submissions.

Monetary and Non-Monetary Incentives to the Employees

Talking about incentives and rewards, organizations that have world-class KM portals usually provide monetary incentives for the best submissions to the KM portal to incentivize the employees to contribute in a positive manner. Further, those organizations that do not have the size or the scale to provide monetary incentives often provide movie tickets, tickets to shows and plays, and even coupons that can be redeemed at outlets to the employees so that they are encouraged to not only contribute to the KM portal but also to provide meaningful and relevant content. This is apart from the KPAs or the Key Performance Areas in the appraisals that reward employees for meaningful KM portal submissions. The point here is that effective knowledge management leads to synergies and efficiencies and hence, organizations can invest some time and resources to build a KM portal that would ultimately help them in succeeding at the art of knowledge management.

Concluding Thoughts

Finally, effective knowledge management is a process that is ongoing and involves close engagement between the employees and the organizational KM processes. Therefore, it would be in the interests of the organizations to ensure that employees are motivated and encouraged to contribute to the KM portals through their own initiative and not only because of monetary and non-monetary incentives.


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