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Five Key Challenges in Knowledge Management (and how to solve them)

If your company is like most others, it likely has a few informal ways of documenting, sharing, and tracking internal knowledge. For instance, senior leaders may hold regular company-wide meetings or send monthly email updates; Human Resources (HR) might have frequently asked questions stored in a company wiki; and your sales team might share quarterly results in a slide deck.

Unfortunately, even with these knowledge management systems in place, most employees still struggle to find the information they need to do their jobs each day. Research shows that the average employee spends over three hours a day searching for existing company information, and large enterprises lose an estimated $70 million a year thanks to undocumented knowledge.

Clearly, something is going wrong in companies’ attempts to store and manage data. Below, we’ll cover the five key challenges in knowledge management — as well as a tested way to solve those same challenges.

Challenge 1: Lengthy knowledge management processes

Have you ever been asked to use a process at work that seems… just a bit over-engineered? For instance, a boss might ask you to input the same information in an Excel sheet, a project management tool, and a shared document, or to replicate files across multiple different systems.

Sure, the solution solves a problem — but it also creates an entirely new one, since the whole process takes you three times as long as it should.

Key challenges in knowledge management: lengthy processes

One of the reasons knowledge management is so important is that it helps employees save time at work. But if it takes employees just as much time to organize resources as it does for them to track down poorly stored information, then you’re really just replacing one problem with another.

Challenge 2: Cross-departmental knowledge silos

Thanks to their unique responsibilities, different teams tend to prefer different SaaS tools. For instance, your customer support team might prefer to document frequently asked questions in Trello, while developers might live in Jira.

Often, this preference towards using different tools and processes can make knowledge sharing across teams difficult. While teams may manage their own knowledge well, they may only share updates with other teams at bi-weekly syncs or monthly meetings — deepening the silos that already exist across departments.

Challenge 3: Company turnover causing knowledge loss

In 2022, the number of voluntary departures at companies increased by an average of 37%. Unfortunately, that’s a number that’s only expected to rise in 2023.

This increase in turnover makes knowledge management more important than ever for companies, since every time an employee quits, they take valuable company knowledge with them. Sometimes, a company won’t even realize that only one person knows how to fix a piece of code until that same individual leaves the company.

Key Challenges in Knowledge Management: Knowledge Loss

If employees don’t have tried-and-true ways to share the knowledge they’ve gained in their role, then that know-how is lost when they leave your organization. 

Challenge 4: Employees unmotivated to change

For many organizations, the problem isn’t the lack of a knowledge management strategy — it’s the fact that employees don’t actually use the knowledge management tools that are in place. In fact, Gartner estimates that a full 25% of the software tools that organizations purchase go underutilized by employees.

When a tool is too difficult to adopt, unfortunately, many employees simply won’t adopt the product. If a new tool isn’t intuitive, many employees will simply keep sharing information in the ways they’re familiar (and comfortable) with.

Challenge 5: Knowledge management tools that don’t integrate

Most companies use more than one knowledge management tool, since unique types of information need to be stored in unique ways. Customer information, for instance, may be stored in a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, while documents are stored in a content management system.

However, the problem with using multiple knowledge management systems is that it can be difficult for employees to constantly shift gears between tech tools — and many tools don’t integrate smoothly with one another. When your teams’ software choices don’t play nice with one another, it’s easy for information to become siloed within different systems.

For many companies, these knowledge management challenges will only become more pronounced as they scale. Fortunately, there’s a tool that can be used to solve these common challenges: GoLinks.

GoLinks lets team members transform long URLs into short, intuitive, and easy-to-remember links. For instance, if a marketing team member wants to check the timeline for the rollout of a certain feature, they can simply go to “go/roadmap” in their browser, rather than having to search through a tool they don’t understand to find a particular project.

Here’s how it can help you overcome common knowledge-sharing challenges:

  • Go links can be used across many different tools, letting team members share information company-wide regardless of their preferred SaaS solution.

  • Go links are intuitive and easy to create, and team members can access all of their commonly used go links within a single dashboard.
  • Go links are designed to be easy to name and remember. A team member may not remember the platform they need to use to submit their receipts, for example, but they’ll usually remember “go/reimbursements” — making it easy for employees to surface and use the tools they need.

If you’re ready for your teams to save time, money, and effort, get started with a free trial of GoLinks today.

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