All entries for Sunday 09 June 2013
June 09, 2013
It is widely believed that the success of KM initiatives is ultimately predicated on having employees who are willing and prepared to share their knowledge. This is why, in my opinion, I feel it is very important to identify the factors that affect the willingness or reluctance of employees to share their insights.
After reflecting on this issue for a while, I believe one of the major factors is the level of commitment that employees feel towards their organization. If they are highly commited to their jobs, they will be more likely to share their knowledge with others. In contrast, if they are not commited, they will not have any motivation to share their expertise. Hence, it is very important for companies to increase the overall employee satisfaction and commitment. They must ensure that they have a strong psychological contract with their workers. Although, this does not give a definitive answer as to why some employees choose to share their knowledge and others don't, this information can help me in the future to appreciate the knowledge-sharing attitudes and behaviours of people.
In my opinion, there are two obvious scenerios where having a knowledge management program will make an instant difference:
1) High rate of voluntary employee turnover: This is a critical issue for many companies. Employees quitting their jobs can cost an organization millions of pounds. This is because when they quit, they take away their knowledge with them. This loss can be clearly minimized by having a knowledge management system.
2) Mergers and Acquisitions: This is again a common occurence in the business world. Huge deals happen fairly regularly now as companies are taken over and others are merged. Each company almost always has a different way of doing things. However, effective knowledge management can mean that lessons are combined and learned. During my internship at Metro, I was lucky enough to experience how knowledge sharing can help ease the post-acquisition period. Metro, which was already the largest cash and carry business in the world, acquired Makro shortly before I started my internship. I noticed how both sets of employees would often talk to each other about their experiences from before the acquisition. I believe this was a good practice regardless of whether they knew what they were doing or not.
I believe innovation is great since it helps organizations generate value. In order to grow, companies have to break out of a vicious cycle of doing the same old stuff. Not only that, Innovation helps change people's lives for the better. It allows people to hope and realize their dreams, and in my opinion you cannot put a price on that.
This is one of the reasons why I believe having an effective KM program is imperative for organizations today. A work place with a free flow of ideas will encourage collaborative work between employees and foster innovation. This will help create new products, new opportunities and more efficient processes. Knowledge management is sometimes quite rightly claimed as a means to an end and not an end in itself. In this case, it is believed to be enabling innovation that ultimately leads to increased revenue generation. One of my goals in life is to start up my own innovative business. In order to fully develop the innovation capability of my company, I will make sure that an effective KM practice is in place and that ideas are shared freely across all levels.