Monday, 23 May 2016

Leave no stone unturned to capture the tacit knowledge from your staff

Tacit knowledge is hidden and remains with an individual.
Water vector designed by Freepik

Explicit knowledge is only a tip of iceberg. More than 95% of knowledge remains within your staff member – like the bottom of the iceberg. And it’s becoming extremely difficult to retain quality staff these days. This means, all the time you are at the risk of losing a major chunk of organisational knowledge built both by the perseverance of your employee and the money and time you spent on his or her capacity building. Keep aside the learning that comes to him or her with the work delivery.

So, how do you extract the knowledge from your staff? Is it good to start nudging him or her as you get the hint that the person is on the verge of leaving the organisation?

The answer is NO. The knowledge extraction, I would better say, knowledge percolation should be planned from the day one – the joining date of the staff. However, embedding it in the job description won’t fetch you a 100% result. And there’s no full-proof method either!

However, still there are few methods that can help you tap some of the staff wisdom.

Sharing sessions
It’s simple but effective. Organise sharing sessions and multi-stakeholder sharing platforms regularly at your office and invite your staff and others to present their learning and knowledge. It will not only make them feel important but other staff and your organisation will also benefit from the sharing. Get the sessions recorded and transcribe the speech. Keep the video in the archive and make sure it is available to all staff all the time – upload it in the intranet.

While write-shops are organised to get reports and publications completed in one-go, they can be crucial in capturing the learning and experience of your staff. Like in the sharing session don’t forget to record the whole session. Any day, any time, the shared experiences might be handy for the organisation.

Exit interview
This is the most common practice to extract the tacit knowledge from a member of staff before he or she leaves the organisation. It’s useful and helpful but not a full-proof method to capture the knowledge, learning and experience from the defector. Also, as the employee is in the process of leaving and joining another organisation, there’s no enthusiasm in him or her to share the learning
and experiences. However, it’s a must-to-do process to get out whatever-you-can from the deserter. 

One-to-one meetings
One-to-one meetings in informal settings are another method of getting out the learning and knowledge from your staff. It works better if it is done with a cup of coffee in your hands – you can term it as coffee hour or coffee chat. So, who should be responsible for doing this? It’s obvious – either the HR person or the internal communications person in close coordination with the knowledge management team. 

Organisational intranet
Make proper use of intranet – make it mandatory to upload the field trip reports (with lessons learned), meeting minutes, work plans, draft reports, project progress and completion reports, and outcomes of brainstorming sessions. Though it seems clumsy, cumbersome and a process-oriented affair, it will in the long run, help you gather nuggets of knowledge, at least to some extent.

Make sure you have an opinion, lessons learned or takeaway section in the reports. It’s the part where the writer jots down his learnings and recommendations.

Mobile apps
What has a mobile application got to do with extracting knowledge from your staff? It sounds absurd but it’s becoming a reality. Teams are more and more depending on different mobile apps to accomplish their tasks in a timely manner and they have been using a variety of mobile applications and services to serve their purposes.

Take example of Trello, Yammer, Slack and a slew of mobile applications helping teams to converse and collaborate. Personally, I have been using Yammer and Slack and during the conversations with team members, sometimes unusually, find great shares by colleagues. I don’t mean to say that you should be scouring the conversation threads to extract the learnings, but taking note of some key spurts of knowledge sharing and opinions can prove to be a crucial piece in your jigsaw called knowledge management.

Have you got something more to add to this list? It would be great to hear your ideas on gleaning knowledge from an individual.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Are you following the 80/20 rule of social media sharing?

It happens to me all the time. I spend almost 80% of my time doing 20% of a task and in the last remaining 20% time end up rushing forward to get the rest 80% work done.

Does it happen to you also?

Well, I have discussed this with lot many friends of mine and most of them agree on this 80/20 hypothesis.

So, how do you do this in the social media?

Like in the Rule of Thirds, keep aside 20% for your original content. Make sure that only 20% of your content promotes your brand. Rest 80% should be for interesting content from your industry.

To make it clear, if you share 10 contents, only 2 should be about your organisation or your brand and the rest 8 should be some interesting stuff from the industry. 

The below pin further divides the 80% into 50% and 30% to make your job easier!

Apologies: The above mentioned pin has been deleted by the user. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Monday, 16 May 2016

It’s not only for photographers but also for social media users – the Rule of Thirds

Rule of Thirds. Image by Flickr user John Watson. CC BY-NC 2.0

Have you been posting too much of your content in the social media? Or are you just sending out your organisational messages in your network?

Well, if you are doing either of the above two – you are in deep trouble. Doing the first will make you a Narcissus while the latter will reduce you to a sycophant.

So, what’s the best way to avoid the both?

Social media gurus say that you should adhere to the Rule of Thirds. If you know photography basics, then you must be familiar with this rule.

It’s just like putting the subject to be photographed in the one-third part of the imaginary photo-frame divided into three imaginary parts either from the top-to-bottom or from the left-to-right.

Likewise, you need to promote your content into one-thirds: one-third of your content promoting your organisation and its objectives, another one-third sharing stories from think tanks in your field and the last one-third talking about your personal experiences.

So, why share somebody else’s content? Won’t it make you a copycat? Well, the answer is NO. While sharing the good things about others, you are not only spreading the message but also giving a signal to your followers that you are up-to-date with your industry knowledge. And for this, your followers will like to keep an eye on your posts – to get the latest news from your industry.

When you talk about your experiences and your ideas, it provides personal touch to the messages – so that your followers know that there’s somebody knowledgeable doing the messaging and not a robot!

Last but not the least as you push forward your organisational messages along with the above messages, people digest it easily. They get absorbed by your followers and if you are lucky or your messages are outstanding, they get liked and shared to wider audience.

So, next time you are posting a Facebook status or a tweet, make sure you have the Rule of Thirds in your mind!

And how do you do this?

Find and follow your influencers and competitors, listen to what they are saying and share the relevant information. To know more, here’s a blog by Sam Milbrath.