Effective employee onboarding is critical to the success of your new hire and your organization as a whole. A 2015 study from Glassdoor confirms this idea — the company’s research found that “organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.”
The process of onboarding new employees is all about exposing the new hire to the information and organizational knowledge they’ll need to do their job well.
This knowledge is a lot to take in for anyone — let alone those just getting their feet wet.
Of course, your new hires must take in this new knowledge with efficiency in order to quickly get up and running within your organization.
To ensure this happens, your team needs to have complete control over your collective organizational knowledge — and must be able to deliver it to your new employees with ease.
This is where knowledge management comes in.
What is knowledge management?
According to Helpjuice, knowledge management (KM) is:
- The systematic management of an organization’s knowledge assets for the purpose of creating value and meeting tactical & strategic requirements; it consists of the initiatives, processes, strategies, and systems that sustain and enhance the storage, assessment, sharing, refinement, and creation of knowledge.
In other words, knowledge management enables your team members to use what they know (as a collective) to improve their processes and overall performance.
What does this mean for your onboarding process? Read on to learn the top three ways in which knowledge management can supercharge your ability to onboard new employees.
1. Knowledge management creates employee alignment.
One of the key goals of the employee onboarding process is to create alignment between your new hire and your organization.
For one thing, your new employee needs to understand with clarity what their role is, and what they’re responsible for, within your company. It’s also crucial for your new hires to understand your organization’s overall mission and vision and their part in making both a reality.
A proper approach to knowledge management will ensure that this information is: 1) well-documented and 2) easily accessible whenever needed by your new employees.
Make sure you provide new employees access to documentation such as:
- Mission and vision statements
- Core values
- Your standard operating procedures
- Employee handbooks
- Org chart and/or employee directory
- Policy agreements (e.g., company equipment and internet usage policies)
- Learning and training resources
Good knowledge management should also include efficient and effective delivery of knowledge. This means creating knowledge content that’s engaging, comprehensive, and easily digestible.
When it comes to onboarding new hires, consider creating interactive walkthroughs, how-to videos, and in-depth instructional content that will allow you to share experiential knowledge.
By making your knowledge content ever-more accessible and engaging, you allow your new hires to become aligned with your organization from the get-go. For more tips on new hire onboarding, check out the video below featuring CareerPlug’s Director of HR, Natalie Morgan.
2. Knowledge management enables team communication.
Of course, your new hires shouldn’t be going through the onboarding process completely on their own.
They should always be able to reach out to their new colleagues when learning the ropes. Whether through structured initiatives (e.g., mentorships) or “on the fly” engagements, communication is essential to the success of your new hires.
A strategic approach to knowledge management should also equip your mentors to effectively find and deliver information to new hires. By having a central source of shared company knowledge, anyone on your team should immediately be able to pull up the answers to any questions a new hire will throw at them.
Knowledge management creates two major benefits for your team:
- New hires are onboarded faster and more consistently.
- Your existing employees always know where they can find answers to questions they may have forgotten the answers to (as we all do from time to time!).
3. Knowledge management empowers new hires.
More than just getting your new employees “up to speed,” your onboarding process should enable and empower new hires to take control of their own efforts and professional development.
When they have a comprehensive collection of organizational knowledge at their disposal, your new hires can dig into any topic they like. Whether they’re ironing out their understanding of processes or supercharging their expertise in a given domain, they can do so as they need, on their terms.
Knowledge management gives your new hires a sense of autonomy that’s empowering in two key ways:
- They’ll be empowered to learn as much as they can in order to operate to their highest potential.
- In taking control of their professional development, they’ll open up avenues for career advancement within your organization.
As your new hires complete the onboarding process, they’ll become more familiar with your organization. In time, they’ll become more equipped to add to and improve your knowledge content themselves.
In short: Knowledge management empowers new employees to take a more active role in the organization from their very first day on the job.
You can’t have the right knowledge without the right people. CareerPlug’s hiring software helps you attract, develop, and retain the right people for your team. Get a free personalized demo today!
About the Author
Emil Hajric is the Founder and CEO of Helpjuice – a powerful knowledge base software company. Emil is an organizational learning expert & author of “Knowledge Management: A Theoretical and Practical Guide for Knowledge Management in Your Organization.“