Knowledge management guidelines are essential in any workplace. When there are no rules or regulations surrounding how to best manage employees’ essential knowledge and skills, misinformation can spread as teams communicate poorly, leading to missed deadlines and other major setbacks. These issues are disastrous in an in-person office space, but they become even more intense in a remote-work environment.
Unfortunately, when it comes to company management and accessing critical workplace data, there seems to be a huge disconnect between employers and employees; many workers report having issues accessing the data they need to do their jobs.
A company that does not work to improve its knowledge management is doing a huge disservice to its employees. Due to the shortcomings in this area, employees may become demotivated, drained, or even burnt-out.
In the era of remote workers, company management is crucial now more than ever. Here are a few techniques to use when it comes to knowledge management in a remote-work environment.
Define your knowledge management system
One of the first steps in improving your company management skills is first defining your knowledge management system.
To manage knowledge effectively, you must know what the information is actually telling you. For example, if a manager uses a spreadsheet to track costs and schedules, they must not only know what information is there, but they must understand it. In this case, they would need to understand the costs and everything that goes along with it.
Exceptional knowledge management skills also mean that employees can answer key company questions using essential information. Referring to the above example, this could mean whether the manager in question should spend more or less money on the initiative or project based on the specific cost information.
Similarly, the same can be applied to schedules as another example. If you are ahead or behind schedule, the knowledge you have should be effectively managed to help you decide what actions to take.
Do not be thrown off by barriers or obstacles to effective company management
Some of the biggest challenges in creating effective knowledge management systems are culture and accessibility. As a leader, your company’s culture should promote a knowledge-sharing mindset.
If you are wondering how to promote this type of mindset, different methods include performance reviews and recognition of employees who share their knowledge with colleagues. Even in a remote-work environment, this allows managers to see that knowledge management is supported throughout the company.
In addition to a company-wide culture shift, managers should also be sure to adopt a keen knowledge management mindset where it’s not just small groups of the same teams that share information.
Instead, employees from entry-level, junior-level and the C-suite should feel empowered to share their knowledge, so everyone can access essential information to make educated decisions.
Remote workers should understand how company information is used
As more companies shift to a remote-work environment, they must know how company information is used. This will help leaders and employees create and manage an effective knowledge management system.
In many office environments, knowledge-based workplace information often includes creating, drafting, collaborating, and sharing documents as they go through an approval process.
Do not be afraid to try new technology in the remote-work environment
Remote workers know all too well that information sharing is a major issue in most remote-work environments. After all, how is it possible to share information and knowledge when you cannot just hand out hard copies to everyone at their desks?
Here are three types of technology solutions you shouldn’t be afraid to try with remote workers.
1. Acquire knowledge through digital tools
Capture applications are a great way to acquire knowledge by pulling together files from many locations and converting them into digital files that are easily shared. Some of the best applications will even help you avoid manual work by scraping data from documents and automatically inserting them into other applications.
2. Use cloud services to manage your library of information better
Using knowledge-based cloud services, you will be able to keep your information organized and easy to find in one central location. This comes in handy when your remote workers are located in various cities. As a result, employees will be able to access all of this information and knowledge, regardless of their physical location. All they need is an internet connection.
3. Implement process automation as part of your company management style
Process automation will help you save time and avoid working on repetitive (but necessary) tasks. Instead, the information-sharing software would be doing all of the repetitive work electronically. This also eliminates the need to find ways to share hard copies of documents with remote workers.
Conduct an organized and effective knowledge management campaign
After a company is set up with new technology and tools, such as cloud services, the next step is to get team members on board. This is where a knowledge management campaign comes in handy.
This campaign should be a team effort, with human resources on board, to help map out the organization’s knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) as a whole. This should also include a list of common initiatives shared with individual department leaders to create a single KSA data map for everyone in the organization, which would be easily accessible to remote workers.
This data map will serve as a one-stop-shop for key company information. These additional steps should help you get your company’s knowledge management plan in shape.
Create strong knowledge management processes
When creating your plan for knowledge management, it’s best to take a long-term and short-term approach that emphasizes accountability and steady data flow.
An example of this is conducting post-mortem conferences after high visibility projects, initiatives, or events. This allows teams to document specific test data and reflect on what went right or wrong.
Another way to strengthen your knowledge management processes is to get into the habit of sending daily emails to track progress, obstacles, and questions from employees. A master inbox should always be copied, so each day’s email can be easily located if needed in the future.
If your team has strong processes in place, it can be even more beneficial to explore project-tracking platforms, such as Jira, in addition to keeping track via email.
Reimagine your company management in a remote-work environment
Unfortunately, some of your favorite and most useful information sharing methods may not be as effective or even applicable in a remote-work environment. In many cases, you will need to incorporate additional elements and processes to accommodate remote workers and replace the need for physical interaction.
For example, casual chats tend to be extremely commonplace in the office and often happen when employees randomly run into each other throughout the day. Although unplanned, some of the most creative and innovative ideas come out of these pass by interactions.
In a remote-work environment, you may feel like there is no way to have these types of informal chats, but that is often not the case. In fact, these communications can often be conducted in a virtual format via WhatsApp or Google Hangouts.
Value your team’s feedback
A key to company management 101 is to constantly ask your team for feedback on what you can do better as a leader. It would be best if you make this a priority as it will help you adjust your leadership style based on your team’s specific needs. It will also help you enable effective knowledge management processes while getting employees on board with new knowledge management initiatives.
At Infinity Consulting Solutions (ICS), we understand that it’s essential to stay on top of all the latest trends, tools, and technology for company management. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our consulting services and how we can help you effectively lead your team in a remote-work environment.