Knowledge is expensive. It takes time to acquire, but it can be lost the moment an employee walks out of the office for the last time. One solution is to turn as many of your employees as possible into teachers. When that solution is enabled by IT, it saves not only the costs from information being lost but also the uncalculated cost of repetition.
Say That Again
Your organization has connectors—the individuals that people send other people to for answers to questions. Often, these questions are basic (e.g., how to book a meeting room with the online system); sometimes, they’re more involved. Someone might have to set aside half an hour to train a new employee in a system.
Say It Once
Empowering those connectors or your internal experts to make tutorials saves time and money in multiple ways:
- The person with the knowledge has to impart the information only once
- The person needing the knowledge gets it without delays, such as having to wait for a mutually convenient time to get it
Even focusing on new employees only, it should be possible to run a simple audit on potential time savings by asking who is commonly called on to answer induction questions and how long it takes them.
YouTube abounds with examples of amateur teachers sharing knowledge to the camera or through screencasts. There is abundant evidence on the site that it’s not just the millennials who can make TV with their smartphones.
What it takes is an incentive to learn how to make a video. For many people, being freed from constantly repeating themselves would be incentive enough.
The integration of video calling into everyday software such as Microsoft Office is a strong signal that your next refresh should ensure that everyone has a camera on their desktop or laptop. Those are perfect for talking-head videos.
If your employees are equipped with smartphones, then they’re most likely already equipped with video cameras that they can move around easily to capture anything not happening at their desk. Where that isn’t the case, investing in a few digital cameras would be well worth it.
Finally, much of the repetitive explanation in any organization concerns software. To make a video demonstrating software in action, you need software that will take a video of your screen while you’re doing something and, ideally, a microphone to record your expert talking through what’s happening.
Screen-capture software can also be used to record presentations with audio. These are perfect for employees who are happy to explain but don’t want to be on camera.
The effortlessly expanding capability of cloud storage makes it perfect for holding and streaming video files.
Formal knowledge management solutions often don’t work because they’re cumbersome and put people off using them. Starting simply with a few cameras, a little training, and somewhere to store the results will give you insight into what employees want. That’s the time to make it formal.