How effective knowledge transfer can enable business continuity amid constant change
Author: Matt Hall
In today’s knowledge economy, the success of a business is highly dependent on the ability to document, share and maintain the range of knowledge within a workforce, even if that workforce includes multiple staffing changes over time.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the corporate community has experienced extreme changes to staffing and employee engagement. As well as immediate shifts to working from home, 70% of casual workers across Australia are suffering financially, some struggling industries where high volumes of staff have been stood down have called upon remaining staff to take on extra work, sectors like aviation have put thousands of people’s lives and careers on hold, and there has been a spike in new job formats such as job sharing as businesses prepare for the ‘new normal’.
The one of the few certain aspects of the workplace in 2020, is that every business leader will need to show flexibility and agility to remain relevant to their customers and partners, and stay engaged with their employees.
As every organisation goes through unique challenges during the pandemic, getting ahead of these changes by enabling your workforce to effectively share and transfer knowledge will be critical to futureproofing the organisation against further changes.
Empowering staff to deliver maximum value
With many Australians either forced or choosing to change employers during and after the pandemic, alongside a rise in gig economy workers and a growing millennial workforce, businesses need to let go of the idea of the life-long employee. If business leaders instead focused on empowering their employees from day one, knowing that they will sooner or later move onto another role or company, they can effectively futureproof their organisation from disruption.
When onboarding new team members, access to information is critical to making them effective within their first few weeks. Consequently, it is important for business leaders to prioritise efficient information and knowledge sharing between employees without adding to their workload. Once knowledge sharing and documentation becomes a time-consuming task, there are high chances it will be put at the bottom of people’s to-do lists or simply not get done at all. Not only does this lead to poor handover and onboarding processes between new and old employees, but the technology purchased to conduct these processes becomes defunct.
The best way to empower staff to conduct efficient knowledge sharing, is by using end-to-end solutions that require no extra training, are easy-to-use, and can be proven to save them time rather than take time away from more interesting tasks.
Creating a culture of continuous upskilling
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the rate of digital transformation, compressing what would have been achieved in a decade into a few months. These shifts, combined with hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs, is also accelerating the rate at which Australians are looking to upskill to remain relevant as they conduct their work, look for work or prepare for future changes in their careers.
For example, government agencies have had to upskill to deliver and monitor the COVIDSafe app, nurses have had to upskill during the pandemic to be able to use the relevant medical records systems, the banking industry will need to upskill to prepare for a truly cashless society, and the rise of robotics, automation and solar energy are requiring new skills across manufacturing, engineering and construction.
Upskilling looks different in every industry and workplace – it could be learning through an online webinar, learning on the job by shadowing a colleague, or taking a short course. It’s important for businesses to incorporate the right mix of training and upskilling for staff, based on what works for each employee and their roles.
At the very least, it is important to ensure the skills and knowledge pre-existing within businesses is effectively shared and passed between employees. This is the low-hanging fruit for maintaining an efficient and skilled workforce that is enabled to make the most of the tools within the organisation.
As employees learn and build on their skills and as new systems and technologies enter their workplaces, maintaining and sharing that IP will be critical to ensuring further growth and innovation across the business. Being able to quickly build simple how-to documents and update those documents as the systems are upgraded or improved will be key.
Preparing for the future by preparing to scale
While each industry will emerge from the coronavirus pandemic differently, many industries including aviation and retail, will be looking to make a significant volume of hires or re-hires simultaneously.
For new hires, their success and ability to hit the ground running will rely heavily on the training materials and documentation available. For re-hires, the workplace will inevitably change, with new skills, processes and requirements involved in their jobs, including new hygiene standards, safety requirements, and distancing procedures.
It won’t be sustainable for businesses to rely on a one-on-one in-person training process, which may have been acceptable pre-pandemic. With many businesses planning to accelerate activities to make up for lost revenue, knowledge sharing at scale will be critical to getting the business back up and running and keeping it going post-pandemic.
Effectively planning ahead to fill these revenue gaps will require fast adoption of knowledge capture, transfer and management solutions that can be used by anyone within the organisation quickly, and at scale.
To find out more about how knowledge documentation and transfer solutions can help your business withstand current changes in the market and futureproof against upcoming business continuity challenges, reach out to the Sidekick Software team.
How to make the most of your Knowledge Management Systems (KMS)
Author: Matt Hall
Australian business leaders are needing to act quickly and with agility due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with recent research showing 70% of Australian IT leaders believing the shift to working from home during this time has accelerated digital transformation within their organisations.
But it won’t be enough to think on your feet and pivot for the short-term. With over three million Australians looking to change careers following the pandemic, business leaders need to be thinking ahead on how to ensure the knowledge and IP of their employees isn’t lost throughout the workplace shifts today and beyond.
Many business leaders will turn to purchasing or upgrading their knowledge management system to future-proof their business against these changes. But how do you know you’re making the right investments? With the majority of systems taking more than six months to implement, with more than half taking over a year, many Australian businesses are wasting millions of dollars on systems that aren’t delivering the value they’re seeking.
Whether you’re in HR focusing on upskilling your staff and the usability of the company’s technology for all employees, or you’re in operations wanting to ensure your team’s hard work and core procedural IP isn’t wasted as contractors come and go, there are three key questions to ask when assessing what systems can help your enterprise quickly and accurately capture and transfer knowledge.
1. How quickly can I get the system up and running?
A commonly time-consuming and resource-intensive project is system upgrades. When you are upgrading a new system, such as a CRM (customer relationship management) system, HRM (human resource management) system, or CMS (content management system), making the most of those investments will depend heavily on how many employees can effectively continue using the system and its new capabilities when the upgrade is complete.
Creating documentation that quickly shows in written, video, audio and/or visual formats how to use the system is critical to ensuring the resources and costs spent on the upgrade aren’t wasted. However, if that documentation takes months to put together, there is a costly lag in usability, creating a significant waste of resources and budget. This is why Sidekick Software is passionate about pioneering Accelerated Knowledge Transfer to ensure enterprises can document, share, and use knowledge quickly as your business environment changes.
Make sure your documentation programs do not take days to implement – they shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours to be usable, and no more than a few minutes to demonstrate key features between employees.
2. Are technical skills required to use the system?
Many knowledge management systems require coding or technical expertise and, even for professionals who have these capabilities, training can take several days before they can effectively use the system.
Simultaneously, employees with limited or no technical capabilities can often rely on tools like Paint or Microsoft Word to develop how-to guides and procedural documents. While they don’t need training to do this, the excessively time-consuming and administrative nature of these tasks can drain the time and energy of team members who could be adding more business value by using their skills elsewhere.
Make sure your system offers the best of both worlds – a range of features that enables fast creation of detailed documents, without requiring any technical skills or coding capabilities. Anyone and everyone should be able to use the system and be able to show others in their team how to make the most of it as well.
3. Can this knowledge management system create seamless workflows, from creation to management and publishing?
Don’t fall for document management systems that only address certain parts of the documentation process. Behind the guise of being ‘best of breed’ in a particular feature, purchasing multiple systems for documentation purposes can not only become time-consuming and costly, but also often leads to disconnectedness in the process.
While the purpose of purchasing the system was to save time, employees can end up spending more time shifting between systems and training themselves on each one. Worst of all, the end output is a mix of styles, fonts, and formats from different systems and needs to be re-worked to look professional.
This is where an interconnected Accelerated Knowledge Transfer tool can significantly reduce the amount of time and resources required to effectively create and manage documents.
From the start, assess how an end-to-end knowledge management solution can cover the entire process from knowledge capture, storage, and markups, through to publishing in your preferred formats. If the system cannot address all of these needs in one place, the result will be a haphazard adoption of the system internally and non-standardised documentation, which will create a separate and new business challenge in itself.
If you’re looking for a solution that quickly creates beautiful, professional and standardised documents without requiring any technical training, contact a Sidekick Software team member today, or get in touch to hear about how other enterprises have been able to save significant time and resources by using our all-in-one platform.