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Human resources management: solving HR problems with Knowledge Management

Both managers and employees face daily problems in human resources management due to a lack of a proper and efficient knowledge management system.

Knowledge Management for human resources: characteristics

To make a company more innovative and efficient, it is necessary to implement the process of human resources management through knowledge sharing.

In order for this to be efficient and provide valuable help in the company it must have certain characteristics:

- facilitate access to knowledge, including “self-service”, for anyone who needs it and at any time, without lengthy in-person training sessions;

- encourage collaboration, so that anyone can ask questions and receive answers;

- easily updated with new information;

- be able to respond to the specific needs of different teams and professionals;

- always be accessible in the long term so that employees can search for information as they need it.

The HR department, which uses huge amounts of documentation on a daily basis, can thus reduce the time spent everyday in searching through corporate knowledge by being able to dedicate more time to specific, higher value tasks.

Let's see in practice, how a good Knowledge Management system can help the HR department in its daily management.

Good communication inside and outside the company

In order to achieve good communication it is essential that the company provides managers and employees with the necessary tools to implement it.

HR tasks are based on good communication, which is of two types:

  • internal to the company: between employees, who exchange work information, materials and collaborate on shared projects;

  • external to the company: all phases, from recruitment to the creation of the company culture, involve sharing information with candidates, external bodies and other companies.

In both cases, if corporate information is not organised and shared among staff, this will affect the work of all the divisions involved, which will have to spend time searching for the necessary material.

This can be avoided by knowledge sharing, i.e. the possibility to have access to all information quickly and easily.

It is essential to have a single access point to the entire knowledge base shared between all departments. In this way, it is not only possible to find quickly the necessary content but also to detect any gaps.

If the documentation is chaotic, there is a risk of not being fully aware of the contents, risking to create duplicate documentation. On the contrary, if the information sought does not exist, and there are therefore Knowledge Gaps, it is good to understand the motivation and fill this gap before it creates delays.

Good communication inevitably passes through the sharing of knowledge, which allows the creation of an innovative and developmental climate that favours collaboration and growth, both individual and organisational.

Onboarding to avoid wasting resources

The onboarding phase is crucial for the induction of a new employee into the company: after the search phase (creation of the position and its announcement, screening of CVs and interviews), the HR department is responsible for providing information about the company and the job description to the new employee.

Without this information it will be impossible to have an overview of the work and therefore to make decisions about it independently. 

Often, however, this process is not given due importance and the necessary tools are not made available to the new employee, who remains tied to other colleagues, slowing down both his or her own work performance and that of others.

Once trained, staff must be autonomous in their search for the information they need to do their jobs, and this is only possible through a good onboarding strategy based on knowledge management that allows them to query corporate knowledge quickly, thus receiving answers directly from existing documentation, without having to create a new one.

Always up-to-date information

In addition to having quick access to information, this must always be up-to-date.

Relying on outdated material will lead to staff performing tasks poorly, often without being aware of it.

If, every time an employee looks at a document, he or she has to spend time checking that the document is the latest version and that there is no newer, more up-to-date version, his or her work will slow down.

Knowledge Management System can make the difference here too: it allows you to have content that is always automatically updated, without taking time away from employees and managers who can continue to perform tasks with higher added value.

Increase internal and external brand reputation

The work of human resources is made up of many aspects, including promoting and transmitting the corporate culture.

A strong corporate culture is based on policies and procedures that are shared by all.

However, if the guidelines are not clear to all departments or if each department adopts its own guidelines, the company will appear dispersed and unstructured, both to employees and to the outside world.

This will hinder the sharing of information, which will be catalogued and filed in different ways.

To overcome this problem it is possible to organise corporate knowledge in such a way that it can be easily interrogated by Knowledge Management solutions, which will be able to provide precise and consistent answers, whether requested by the HR department or any other area.

In fact, shared knowledge allows everyone to be aligned and to be sure of working on up-to-date documentation, giving an image of the company as organised and reliable.

The Human Resources department is responsible for managing human capital, i.e. “the knowledge, skills, competencies and attributes embodied in individuals that facilitate the creation of personal, social and economic well-being” (OECD).

Every aspect of this, from selection to training, needs to be taken care of in detail because it will affect the company on many levels.

This, together with corporate knowledge, is the pillar of the company and only if a solid and shared structure is in place will it be possible to be efficient and innovative.