by Flex HR

Ultimate Guide to Knowledge Management for Human Resources

Today’s business world is driven by knowledge, which is the lifeline to many organizations. Research by Deloitte found that, while 75% of organizations agreed that creating and preserving knowledge across their evolving workforces was important for their success over the next 12 months, less than 10% felt their current knowledge management system was up to the job.

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Good knowledge management is more about culture than it is about tools for most companies. And it’s up to HR teams to lead the charge.


The field of knowledge management has changed radically, thanks to digital transformation and remote work. However, the basic principles remain the same. Effective knowledge management is a system that allows a team, group, or business to capture explicit knowledge (facts and figures), capture tacit knowledge (the more intangible forms of “how we do things round here”), store knowledge in a shared platform, and actively access that shared platform to keep knowledge circulating through the organization.

Knowledge Management is Vital for HR Teams

People tend to assume that knowledge management is an IT issue, because if you’re struggling with managing internal information, then you need better tools, right?

Without the right technology in place, it’s hard to capture the information you need in a centralized location. If your company’s knowledge is sitting in unconnected platforms, then your employees can’t effectively find, access, or exchange the information they need.

Knowledge management is a problem that HR needs to work on too. If you’re one of the troubling 90% of companies without an explicit system for managing your company’s knowledge, then you’re facing multiple HR issues such as low employee productivity, frustrating work environment, negative employee experience.


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4 Ways Your HR Team Can Level Up Your Company’s Knowledge Management

1. Reduce the data silos in your HR data

It’s usually complicated for employees to access HR knowledge. Therefore, cleaning up the knowledge management of your HR data is often a great place to start. Begin by auditing how you exchange information with your employees. How easy is it for employees to find a specific company policy, without contacting a member of your team? Is your handbook easy to access?

Applaud talked to Flex HR’s very own CEO, Jenny Morehead, who explained that HR teams should make it a priority to set up a consolidated knowledge database. She explains:

“Knowledge management is rapidly becoming a business enabler, showcasing the need for organizations to become more sophisticated in their communication of inter-company information. For example, your company could implement a KM database that is accessible to all employees to store its information. Having an employee go directly to the knowledge storage area would omit any time delays that come with passing along information from person-to-person.”

If your HR data is scattered, inaccessible hard to share, or you find yourselves answering the same employee questions all day, it’s time to consider adding an employee experience platform to your existing HR arsenal. Flex HR can help you do this.


2. Integrate knowledge capture into existing talent management systems

After you’ve addressed the immediate issues with data, it’s time to focus on optimizing your existing HR procedures to make it easy to capture important information. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Upgrade your employee directory to include employee’s areas of skills and expertise, so everyone knows who to contact if they need help with a specific topic.
  • Use an enhanced scheduling tool to automatically create and distribute meeting agendas and post-meeting action points whenever a meeting is set up, so that employees can refer to what was discussed. This also helps to make sure that remote and in-house teams have access to the same information.
  • Overhaul your performance management systems into a single platform which lets you consolidate manager one-to-one agendas and notes, employee development meeting notes, and performance review documentation into a single employee experience platform. That way, employee performance information isn’t only available in the heads of individual managers.
  • Develop a formal process for offboarding employees. If you can, encourage exiting employees to provide you with as much notice as possible, to give you time to properly gather all the information. Ways to stop knowledge leaving when employees leave include:
  • Having them shadowed by another member of the team while they work out their notice period.
  • During the notice period, ask leaving employees to set up an alarm that goes off every few hours, at which point they should make a note of what they’ve been working on and any information they’ve used that only they currently know.
  • Creating a mentorship program so that employees are encouraged to train each other well before they even think of leaving.

3. Optimize your internal communications strategy for knowledge management

“HR is a prime spot to ensure that correct information is kept both accessible and up-to-date, as well as keep inter-departmental communication flowing,” says Morehead. “Because of HR’s central location for communication within a company, HR teams should be at the forefront of ensuring that their organization proactively keeps knowledge management databases updated.”

A member of the HR team as the manager for the information that is uploaded to your centralized knowledge base. They should be responsible for:

  • Removing or refreshing outdated information.
  • Adding tags to make information easy to find.
  • Encouraging employees to rate articles and learning resources, add comments or suggest new topics to improve the content over time.
  • Use employee surveys to track how easily employees can find the information they need at work.
  • Encourage employees to use asynchronous and easily stored communications (email, messenger, or adding comments to a shared online document)


4. Create a knowledge management culture

Knowledge management is a process, not an event. HR professionals should continually improve and refine processes, applying what you learn to the present, and preparing for the future.

Creating a culture of knowledge management starts with HR but continues with technology by duplicating and recording vital information so that all team members have access to this knowledge. This applies to everything from passwords to company systems to internal processes, or even the reasoning behind a specific policy decision.

It’s important to ensure that every employee information system – including your HRIS, your learning and development platform, and your document management platform – are extremely easy and enjoyable to use.

You can even make knowledge management a component of an employee’s performance evaluation. For instance, recognize and reward employees who create and upload learning resources to your central knowledge system. Or you could make mentorship and knowledge transfer part of the criteria for promotion to a management role.



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