Knowledge is power also applies to the world of business. It helps companies to become and be competitive, and to develop their own competitive advantage. The tricky thing is that most knowledge in a company is in the heads of the people who work there.
Knowledge management allows information to be organized in such a way that people in a company can easily access it or know where to find specific knowledge.
User-generated content ensures successful knowledge management
Employees combine knowledge, experience, and skills. Three important pillars for the success of a company. If employees have the opportunity to share this information with other people in the company, the knowledge inventory is enriched with valuable details on a wide range of topics. This mutual exchange creates a lively learning culture in which employees can access knowledge independently and from anywhere because they cooperate and promote each other. This reduces the risk of knowledge loss, as individual knowledge is shared with others. In addition, this strategy relieves the burden on responsible parties, since they are no longer solely responsible for the transfer of information and the promotion of employees.
Our tip: Find in-house experts and give long-standing, experienced employees the opportunity to share their knowledge. A start for user-generated content in the learning management system could be to make these experts course authors, so that they can share their knowledge in courses for their colleagues and they can acquire the knowledge afterwards.
Why is user-generated content not to be found in many companies?
There are as many ways to store information and knowledge as there are employees in the company: Storing information in documents, Excel spreadsheets and all sorts of other formats. Nobody has an overview of the accumulated knowledge. It is often assumed that there is simply no time for knowledge management, because everyone is busy with their own tasks. Decision makers and management are also afraid that sensitive data could be made available to the public through a more open organization of knowledge and there is a general fear of loss of control.
If one introduces the idea that employees can provide content in the form of information and knowledge, and thus user-generated content is created, it is important to provide and develop appropriate strategies, resources, and tools. It is important to prevent misinformation from being disseminated and seen as the status quo, to provide structures and a secure environment, and to identify experts and knowledge resources for specific topics.
In addition, it is helpful to establish processes that help the company deal with negative employee statements, ambiguities in the implementation, and revision of content created by employees.
Promote the creation of user-generated content within the organization
For employees to conscientiously share their knowledge and the information they have, they must be aware of the benefits and ideally be intrinsically motivated to do so. Intrinsic motivation can be used to “activate” the people in the company and thus awaken the dormant knowledge and creativity within the company. Incentives such as recognition are needed to achieve this. In addition, employees should be encouraged to see themselves as problem solvers: By sharing knowledge, it is possible to master hurdles together. The individually disclosed information contributes to this. Another lever for intrinsic motivation can be gamified incentives. Tim Murck, expert on gamified learning explains: “The gaming industry is outstanding in its ability to make people learn, because playing means learning. Players learn independently and apply their new knowledge and skills. When it comes to knowledge management in companies, it is important to learn, use and manage the eagerness of people. In this way new things are learned and the growth of the company is promoted. This can be achieved by establishing new rules and rewards for knowledge and how it is applied. Change the rules of the game!”
Next, it is essential to consider strategies and the corporate culture. If an open culture with flat hierarchies prevails, it is easier to establish user-generated content as employees are used to getting involved and helping to shape ideas. If a corporate culture is more hierarchical, appropriate measures are beneficial: opinion leaders or corporate influencers can set a good example and share content, information, and knowledge with others. In addition, it is important not to switch from 0 to 100. If employees have not been used to sharing or simply accessing their knowledge for years, they should be slowly introduced to the new methodology. For example, they can be encouraged to respond to content posted by opinion leaders or heads of department. Step by step, they will become accustomed to interaction and will find it easier to share their own knowledge with their colleagues.
In any case, it is important to avoid a one-person culture and to make employees, management, and also executives aware of the urgency and advantages of cooperation.
Where can the knowledge be accessed?
In order to successfully implement user-generated content and knowledge management, the right tools and procedures are essential. By now, there is a large number of different providers, techniques, and types of software that help companies to structure themselves internally: Online training, eLearning software, wikis, social intranets, gamified learning tools, chats, storage in the cloud, and much more.
It is important that a tool is used which meets the individual requirements of a company and also offers employees the possibility to create user-generated content.
In any case, it is essential that employees support each other by sharing knowledge, information, and content in general. In this way, performance within the company can be increased and the flow of information improved.
A digital workplace with a social intranet at its core allows you to assemble software and tools in one central location. Employees can also use this digital meeting place to access eLearning courses or search for the required information in wikis they have created themselves.
Competitiveness is not based solely on good knowledge management, but a large slice of the cake could well be allocated to this approach. Well-managed knowledge within a company makes it possible to create an inventory of information and individual knowledge of the people in the company. Company-specific strategies and tools also enable employees to share their knowledge with others in an independent and structured way, in order to support and educate each other. This self-initiative of the employees can be promoted by intrinsic motivation.
If you want to get the most out of knowledge management in practice and introduce user-generated content within the company, you should first check whether this approach would be accepted by employees. New concepts always require new ways to implement them, which also includes corporate communication, strategy, and structure.
This article was first published for Wissensmanagement Tage.
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