How has hybrid working changed the way knowledge is managed?
According to Deloitte, 75% of companies believe that knowledgemanagement will be a key issue in 2021. However, only 9% of them have implemented actions to meet this challenge! It must be said that several barriers prevent them from fully addressing this issue, such as the lack of technological resources or a siloed organisation. And yet, 60% of employees struggle to obtain the information they need to do their jobs; it is estimated that they lose up to 5 hours a week to obtain the necessary information.
The aim is therefore to move from a highly hierarchical way of working to a networked organisational scheme, which gives pride of place to the collective. But an additional difficulty is imposed on companies: the crisis of the Covid-19 has generalised the use of hybrid work. This is a form of work organisation in which employees are divided between remote and face-to-face work. In this context, the sharing of information (especially informal information) becomes even more complicated.
The question then arises: how has hybrid working changed the way knowledge is managed, and how can we respond to these new challenges?
Knowledge management and hybrid work: new challenges
Since the advent of hybrid working, many challenges have arisen for companies in terms of knowledge management and sharing. These include:
- A lack of communication between headquarters and the field or between colleagues;
- Dispersal of data and information;
- Limited time for informal exchanges;
- A loss of skills transfer between employees.
This results in the retention of information, which, although not necessarily intended, is detrimental to all employees. To meet these new challenges, companies must therefore develop their knowledge management methods and the tools associated with them.
Knowledge sharing in business: what is it?
Knowledge can be compared to an iceberg: on the one hand, the visible part, on the other, the submerged part. Thus, 5% of knowledge is explicit, while 95% of it is tacit, i.e. derived from professional experience, informal exchanges, etc. We detail these different types of knowledge in the section below.
Why is this distinction important? Because the transfer of knowledge between employees is a key issue for companies. The advantages of this practice are numerous: perpetuation and transmission of know-how (despite inevitable changes such as retirements), establishment of a culture and a collective memory, valorisation of employees, etc. Other advantages: the knowledge exchanged in this way relates specifically to the company and its sector of activity, and it represents a very low cost for the company compared to an external training organisation.
Overall, knowledge sharing in a company can be defined as an evolving flow of knowledge between employees. Unlike a "stock" of data that piles up without necessarily being renewed (for example, in a hard drive), shared knowledge evolves with the individuals who pass it on to each other. It is therefore constantly updated.
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The different types of knowledge
We have seen above that there are two main types of knowledge: explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge. This classification was made by the Japanese teacher
Ikujiro Nonaka, Knowledge Management Specialist:
- Explicit knowledge is the most concrete: easily codifiable, it is expressed in writing as well as orally, in particular through numbers and data.
- Tacit knowledge: this is knowledge that is more difficult to formalise because it is context-specific. It includes skills such as know-how and professional experience. For example, knowing how to manage a project over the long term is tacit knowledge.
Hybrid work: towards a change in the way knowledge is managed
The advent of hybrid work has changed the way knowledge is managed. In the era of remote working, meetings (the main place for sharing information) and conversations between colleagues are necessarily reduced. Similarly, informal and spontaneous exchanges, which are particularly conducive to knowledge, have been limited. However, this change in knowledge management methods does not mean that they will disappear! In fact, they are only evolving; an evolution that companies must support by putting in place new tools and processes.
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Good knowledge management strategies
Knowledge Management is a process of transforming information into usable data, with the aim of creating a knowledge base accessible to all employees.
This process must be carried out through a set of tools and techniques that enable the capitalisation of knowledge. The objective: to create an intangible capital specific to the company, and not to the sum of the individuals that make it up.
Implementing a Knowledge Management strategy
Implementing a knowledge management strategy in a hybrid work environment requires several steps. These include:
- Creating clear and transparent processes that explain how, where and when information is created and shared with all staff;
- Identifying good practice in knowledge management;
- The use of one or more Knowledge Manager positions ;
- The implementation of collaborative tools that facilitate the free circulation and sharing of information at a distance(internal social network, shared diaries, document storage tools, digital workplaces, etc.);
- Identifying people with specificexperience and/or knowledge and those who could benefit from it, in order to put them in touch;
- The implementation of an internal database, accessible to all employees from their professional work tools;
- The establishment of a repository capable of centralising business experiences;
- The creation of a culture of sharing that encourages the transmission of experience, collaboration and mutual support. In this culture, sharing time should be considered as working time.
In addition, hybrid working requires the establishment of a culture of writing, which allows employees to access information and documents on request. For example, if an employee is absent from a meeting, he or she must be able to access the information and documents that were exchanged (minutes, presentations, etc.).
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Knowledge management tools
What if hybrid working was also an opportunity for knowledge management processes?
With the spread of teleworking, digital toolshave also become commonplace, grouped together as Digital Workplaces. The term Digital Workplace is relatively new. It refers to a fully digital workplace, which allows employees to gather and transmit information efficiently, with the aim of exchanging and collaborating. This connected environment is therefore the cornerstone of knowledge management in companies. It is in fact a space :
- Open: information is disseminated widely and in real time;
- Horizontal : knowledge is passed on to all employees, outside of any hierarchy;
- Collaborative: everyone can ask for (or offer) help.
As a knowledge management tool, it promotes information sharing, centralises knowledge in one place and saves time for all employees.
💡 Not sure which environment to base your Digital Workplace on? Here are 5 good reasons to do it on Microsoft
For example, Mozzaik365 allows all companies to create their Digital Workplace in Microsoft 365 and Teams, while offering them numerous communication, collaboration and knowledge management features. With regard to the latter, Mozzaik365 makes it easy to share knowledge. For example, the site factory provides the ability to easily replicate an existing page template. These templates retain the layout, functionality and associated webpart , as well as the metadata. The idea is that a knowledge management module is designed to grow and should be able to be extended or replicated. Thus, the platform offers a ready-to-use container that only needs to be completed with content. Mozzaik therefore meets a challenge of sustainability: thanks to the contribution aid, experts can share a file in a knowledge base quickly and easily, which makes their lives much easier. All this while optimising the core of the reactor: the efficiency, quality and relevance of searches.
Things to remember
📌implementing new knowledge management practices is essential;
📌It is important to choose the right tools that will facilitate sharing and collaborative work;
📌 The Digital Workplace is the necessary tool for companies to
who wish to centralise their knowledge.