How to convince knowledge workers to commit to a KM approach?

After our posts on KM for top and middle management, we suggest a few ways of convincing knowledge workers to invest in a knowledge management approach. 

When it comes to sharing knowledge, knowledge workers are torn by conflicting interests and forces:

  1. They wish to make the most of their knowledge and know-how, is not averse to a form of altruism, provided that the contribution must be reciprocated, and fully understands the benefits of this new approach.
  2. They cannot help but hear an inner voice alerting them to the risks of plundering their hard-won knowledge and know-how, but also to the risks of exposing themselves as a de facto expert in front of colleagues.
  3. They are looking for common rules to ensure that this process is under control and that everyone plays the game.
  4. They are ready to share with colleagues from other sites, but is a victim of the Not Invented Here syndrome.
  5. They ask questions to learn, but don’t want to be seen as people asking silly questions.

The argument to be put forward to them fits very naturally with the people fundamental needs, as analyzed by Maslow.

1. Everyday life

The most immediate purpose of knowledge sharing is to help solve day-to-day business problems: what to do, how to do it.

Knowledge workers benefit from cases handled by their colleagues (postmortems, community of practice exchanges, outstanding deliverables, technical watch, webinars, knowledge cafés, company vocabulary, etc.) or from expert advice.

As part of their workflow, they have easy access to useful information stored in different information silos, thanks to high-performance KM tools such as the search engine or the KM portal.

For a newcomer to the organization, KM resources provide a greater capacity for integration (company processes, peers’ technical viewpoints, opinion leaders, understanding acronyms, etc.)

2. Job security

Knowledge management guarantees that all employees remain aligned with best practices and benefit from a broad, validated knowledge of their field. Benefiting from the multiple contributions of colleagues and experts, they keep their knowledge and know-how at the highest level, guaranteeing their employability.

The fear of being plundered by contributing to knowledge sharing is misguided. And if he needs reassurance, sharing at least some markers of his knowledge is a minimum.

Sharing knowledge is above all showing others what you can do.

The corporate culture encourages people to seek out information, share knowledge and help each other, in a benevolent, non-judgmental way. Senior management sets the example.

A charter of best practices for the re-use of knowledge and know-how, as well as good practices for expressing thanks and evaluating shared knowledge, also guarantee a virtuous spiral of sharing.

3. The need to belong

A KM approach, particularly those based on communities of practice, meets a deep-seated need to belong to an entity of peers, where one is both recognized and learning.

4. Esteem and recognition

Last but not least, a KM approach, especially when it incorporates elements of recognition from management, or even an expertise track, brings employees the recognition to which every employee in an organization aspires.

Gonzague Chastenet de Gery & Louis-Pierre Guillaume

Further reading

Next step

2 replies

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] How to convince a knowledge worker to commit to a KM approach? […]

  2. […] How to convince a knowledge worker to commit to a KM approach? […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *