Explicit Knowledge - 3 Keys to Great Documentation
, Alexandre Caulier
Okay, you’ve recorded your team’s explicit knowledge in a spreadsheet, document, or SOP, and you’re feeling pretty good about collecting and filing all that information.
But what happens next? Even if you’ve got all this information in one place, you still need to figure out how to use it. Organization is the first step, but it isn’t a magic bullet. You can’t just add everything to a spreadsheet and call it a day. If you want employees to understand and act on explicit knowledge, you need an explicit knowledge management strategy.
What is explicit knowledge?
Your organization has a lot of knowledge. Explicit knowledge is basic, easily articulated information you can pass from employee or employee. It includes things like:
- Product specifications
In other words, explicit knowledge happens when information is written or recorded and available for your team to use. This is stuff that you don’t need to explain or train employees to understand; it’s reasonably easy to comprehend on its own.
Why does explicit knowledge management matter?
You’ve already done a lot of work by processing, organizing, and structuring data into explicit knowledge. Now, you need to invest a management strategy so your explicit knowledge truly empowers your team.
When you take the time to strategize the way you source, structure, review, share, and implement knowledge, you build a stronger business. Explicit knowledge management will help you:
- Share information: No single employee should be the gatekeeper of information. What if they quit or take a sudden leave of absence? Explicit knowledge management means the information every employee needs to do their jobs can be shared instantly.
- Boost team performance: Sick of bottlenecks and delays? Making a plan for your explicit knowledge means your employees move faster and more efficiently.
- Prepare for future growth: Your business is only going to get bigger and more complex. Set yourself up to scale right by wrangling your explicit knowledge today—not in 2 years.
Explicit knowledge seems simple enough on its own, but successful businesses don’t leave anything to chance. You have to invest in a knowledge management strategy to poise yourself for painless growth.
3 critical steps to manage explicit knowledge
Knowledge management may sound like a complicated process, but you can execute it in your business with these three steps.
1. Know why you need to control explicit knowledge
Knowledge management matters for so many reasons, but what’s _your _reason? Why does your business need to organize its knowledge? Is it to speed up timelines, reduce confusion, or improve the customer experience? This is different for every organization, so figure out your “why” before you move ahead.
When you know what outcome you need to be successful, you can prepare a strategy that will _actually _achieve your goals. Remember to collaborate with your team on this. Every department should get a seat at the table to discuss your knowledge management goals.
2. Use a platform to share quickly and easily
Burying your information in a labyrinth of folders will only add to the confusion. Employees need quick access to relevant knowledge whenever they needs
When you’re serious about knowledge management, you need a specialized platform and tools to organize and structure that knowledge. Elium’s knowledge sharing tool puts data in employees’ hands faster, giving them much-needed context to do their jobs.
3. Build a documentation-loving culture
Even if you have the best strategy, it doesn’t matter if your employees won’t implement it. Put your explicit knowledge to its best use by building a culture of compliance before your rollout.
What’s your culture like today? How do employees like to work? What processes or habits do they have? Get a baseline first to see what, specifically, needs to change.
Culture building isn’t easy. However, you still need to get all employees on the same page with your explicit knowledge. That might mean:
- Retraining the entire team: Emphasize that no work happens without consulting your existing knowledge base.
- Prioritizing knowledge management: This needs to be a priority for your managers and leaders. If you have the resources, assign a knowledge management executive to oversee your explicit knowledge practices.
- Rewarding employees: You want employees to feel motivated to use explicit knowledge the right way. Whether you give them a quick shout-out or a bonus, encourage employees who follow your new practices.
You have the knowledge – let us help you use it
Explicit knowledge empowers employees to work fast and make better decisions, so prioritizing a strategy that helps you implement smart practices is key.
But it isn’t easy. A lack of time, training, or consistency can make proper knowledge management an ongoing battle for your organization.
Save time, minimize confusion, and reduce rework with Elium to take your business to the next level.