Working in a high-turnover function, I have learned first-hand the importance of knowledge management. When associates can be assumed to rotate out into new roles every 18 months, capturing and organizing knowledge becomes a critical exercise for managers and team members. I am defining knowledge management here as efforts to facilitate the acquiring, creating, storing, sharing, diffusing, developing, and deploying knowledge by individuals and groups. The knowledge-based view of the firm holds that the firm’s capability to create and utilize knowledge is the most important source of a firm’s sustainable competitive advantage (Zheng, Yang, & McLean, 2010). Zheng and his research partners surveyed 301 organizations to shed more light on the relationship between knowledge management and organizational effectiveness. Their findings indicated that knowledge management can influence organizational effectiveness when it is in alignment with organizational culture, structure, and strategy. Focus on knowledge management practices, such as providing knowledge management tools, and supporting knowledge management initiatives, helps transfer the impact of organizational resources to the bottom line (Zheng et al., 2010).
I have had considerable success using Microsoft OneNote as a knowledge management tool. OneNote is ideal for capturing knowledge: the notebook and page structure allows for easy and straightforward organization, and the ability to hyperlink throughout the text facilitates movement between different parts of the overall notebook. My team members and I work together to capture not just every day processes, but new learnings that result from the resolution of the challenges we face every day. As situations arise that we have not yet encountered, we document the processes that we develop and make note of any open loops or anticipated future challenges. These notebooks become a frequently consulted reference, a living document of our evolving learning, and a tool to teach new associates.
The adoption of SharePoint within our organization has given us an ideal platform to share our collected OneNote notebooks with other teams. Publicizing our tools and methods via SharePoint has helped us to build a culture of knowledge management, which in turn drives organizational effectiveness.
Zheng, W., Yang, B., & McLean, G. N. (2010). Linking organizational culture, structure, strategy, and organizational effectiveness: Mediating role of knowledge management. Journal of Business Research, 63(7), 763–771. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2009.06.005