What is an Organizational Knowledge Base and Why is it Useful?
What is Organizational Knowledge?
An organizational knowledge base is a two-prong affair: the actual makeup of the knowledge and the extent to which it is spread within the organization. It is both explicit and tacit or experiential knowledge. Organizational knowledge is all the knowledge resources employees can access.
Every member of your enterprise has valuable knowledge to capture and share. It may be gathered from:
- Customer communications
- Intellectual property
- Past failures and successes
- Product knowledge and practical know-how
Knowledge is learned, retained, and passed on by people, so it’s a key HR responsibility to manage it. Using tools like HR portal solutions as part of an overall knowledge management system saves your business substantial time and money. How important is it?
Consider these statistics:
- On average, enterprises lose $47 million in productivity every year because knowledge is not efficiently shared.
- Your organization can lose up to 42% of company knowledge relevant to a particular job role each time an employee leaves.
To compete, organizations must create a knowledge-sharing culture, find ways to maintain continuity in roles, and give employees the tools they need to work efficiently.
Managing Organizational Knowledge
Most companies are aware of helpdesk software and the wider category of knowledge management software. They may be less familiar with corporate knowledge base software which optimizes information collection, organization, and retrieval. From self-service customer support to team collaboration, it can provide immense business value.
How is a knowledge base useful? It serves as a repository of critical information that helps your business function and achieve long-term success. It’s a time- and cost-effective way to store important data about employees, customers, clients, products, and services. And it helps employees get the most relevant and accurate information to resolve problems, address customer issues, and gain insight for workplace collaboration.
While the content of specific organizational knowledge bases varies, most include information that allows employees to obtain or provide in-depth information. Internally, that translates into:
- Better collaboration and engagement – Employee engagement is one of the biggest challenges organizations face. An organizational knowledge base improves communications. This equals better engagement and productivity.
- Feeling connected – Modern collaboration is no longer restricted to the hours of 9-5. With 70% of professionals now working remotely at least one day a week (and over 50% at least half of the week), it’s imperative companies provide the information they need to do their jobs.
- More confidence and fewer assumptions – Modern employees are accustomed to and prefer finding answers on their own. If their questions are ones repeatedly asked and answered, an easy-to-access knowledge base reduces time wasted on repetitive tasks.
Every benefit an organizational knowledge base brings to the table is an important one but preventing knowledge loss may be the most crucial. Employees leave your company for a variety of reasons; job change, retirement, parental leave. If the knowledge these employees have isn’t gathered and stored, the people replacing them must re-learn the same lessons. Knowledge transfer makes it easier for new employees to quickly bring value to your organization.
Gaining a Competitive Edge
When employees pool their organizational knowledge, it gives your company a significant competitive advantage. Organizations implementing a knowledge base see significant increases in productivity, engagement, and collaboration. And those benefits have their own far-reaching effects because when employees are empowered to do their best work, your organization’s customers and partners benefit as well.