What is the relationship between employee empowerment and knowledge management?

Originally answered May 2, 2017

Employees need to be empowered to spend time sharing, innovating, reusing, collaborating, and learning without fear of reprimand, ridicule, or embarrassment. Here are three examples of how people can be reluctant to do so:

  1. Why won’t people ask questions in the open?
  2. The Sound of Silence
  3. 16 Reasons Why People Don’t Share Their Knowledge — and what to do about it

A good way to empower employees is to ask them for their thoughts, ideas, and suggestions, and then take appropriate action as a result. Here are three ways to do so.

  1. Use an Opportunities Survey to identify current challenges and needs, and request suggestions for addressing them. Use this survey to determine business needs which knowledge management can support. This survey is generally conducted once when starting a new KM initiative, but can be used periodically to ensure that new requirements are identified.
  2. Conduct a Resource Survey to compile a list of people, process, and technology components which are currently in use, determine the usefulness of each one, and request suggestions for additions. Use this survey to find out which tools are currently popular and to identify gaps in meeting user needs. This survey is generally conducted at the beginning of a KM program, and periodically repeated to calibrate and adjust the program components.
  3. Implement a regular Employee Satisfaction Survey to solicit feedback on how your KM program is perceived by its users. Use this survey to stay in touch with how your users view the program, what they like, and what needs to be improved. This survey should be conducted monthly during the first year of a KM initiative, and annually thereafter if the results remain fairly stable.