How can training be incorporated into the Knowledge Management Strategy?*

While there are many strategies for the implementation and design of an effective Knowledge Management system, training is always an important, integral aspect.

Why is that so? Because Knowledge Management is an ongoing process, not a one-time project. It requires a long-term commitment as an integrated part of government culture, the daily habits of public administration officials and staff.

Changing any work or institutional culture can be challenging. It requires awareness, leadership, communication, commitment and a lot of initial effort from the top-down, as well as buy-in and participation from the bottom-up. Ongoing training at all levels is essential if these changes are to stick and become effective and meaningful.

Knowledge Management training itself can be categorized under three main areas: people, processes and technology.

Since knowledge management requires involvement at all levels to be effective, an extensive training first about the importance of knowledge management, clarifying its benefits for the organization in the short and long term as well as challenges raised, needs to be implemented and clearly defined. Multiple workshops may be necessary to raise awareness and educate what knowledge management is.

Knowledge management can and will dramatically change, hopefully improve, all existing processes. For this purpose, staff need to be trained about new procedures after implementation of a knowledge management strategy. There may be some resistance from the staff against new technologies. The benefits of the processes which would increase the efficiency of the public sector and provide better service delivery to citizens need to be clearly explained to government officials who will be working with the new processes to encourage their support and cooperation.

The staff who are involved in implementing knowledge management activities need to be trained in technologies that will be utilized to achieve the objectives of the knowledge management strategy. These technologies can involve database applications, web sites that facilitate information dissemination, data processing tools, among many others.

It is important to note that staff should not be discouraged by providing an extensive training on all aspects of the tools. While it is important to understand all features of the technologies, training can be conducted in phases, starting with the most common features of the tools. Trainers should also pay attention to train the right staff on the right tools. If one section of the department would never use some set of features, there is no need to provide an extensive training for them.

Finally, training activities should equally focus on all aspects of knowledge management. Giving more emphasis on technologies may not always produce the best outcomes. Staff involved in knowledge management should know the importance of it, should be aware of the new ways of doing things and also should be competent on technologies to achieve the expected results.

*This question was posed by a learner from the Knowledge Management in Government Organization course.

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