Knowledge Retention (2/7): How to find out where the knowledge is

This is the second in a series of seven articles about Knowledge Retention which started off as a short post about Knowledge Retention versus People Retention and just grew.

The list of all the articles in the series is in the first of the posts entitled Knowledge Retention not Employee Retention, with the first in the series entitled Enabling the employees to become knowledge sources.

This article is about discovering and recording where the knowledge is being held using Social Networks software, and thankfully is the shortest in the series! I hope you get some interesting information from them.

Social Networks software…

A social networks tool will record what information is being sought as well as from where, and then allow it to be mapped and reported on in various ways. One of the best forms is through a simple diagram where information stores (whether they be employees, websites or other sources) are represented as circles which grow larger the more they are used by other people, and information flow is shown by lines connecting these circles, where the more they are used the wider they become.

This presents a simple visual map of the information flow within an organisation, and although it may take a fair amount of time and effort to create, it’s going to be a useful tool throughout the implementation of knowledge retention systems as well as acting as a baseline for success measurement.

Using this kind of mapping you can easily discover the flow of knowledge and information throughout your organisation. Who people go to ask for answers or where they might go to find the answers no one else knows. Suddenly it will be obvious where the bottlenecks for information flow are, and who or what is holding onto the knowledge in the organisation.

Now, having used the software and analysed the results, the risk points of potential knowledge loss have been identified and the main target areas for knowledge retention have been found. It’s from this that the first target areas for recording and retention of that information are identified.

To be posted soon, continuing the Knowledge Management series with Encouraging the employees to share their knowledge.

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