How KM enhances productivity and the employee experience
The impact of peer mentoring/coaching on productivity problems
Respondents whose employers provide peer mentoring and coaching to improve productivity also spend 1.2 hours less per week searching for, re-creating, and providing information.
We’ve called peer mentoring the “sleeper solution” to boosting workplace productivity, because few organizations do it and few employees ask for it—but when it’s there, it works. It’s not hard to understand why. If you wanted productivity tips, wouldn’t you turn to people who do similar work? Wouldn’t you be more likely to take productivity advice if it came from someone who shares your role, or at least works in the same discipline or function? And if you faced a productivity obstacle that was outside your control, wouldn’t it be smart to team up with peers before approaching leadership about it?
To best support productivity mentoring and coaching, KM should build or strengthen its relationship with organizational learning. This helps prevent the groups from stepping on each other’s toes and allows KM to bring in learning when a “productivity problem” reveals a gap in formal training. Additionally, some of the productivity tips and tricks unearthed through peer mentoring could be a useful addition to training courses and materials.
KM enhances the employee experience
The average knowledge worker is not sitting around seeing how little they can do and still bring home a paycheck. They want to be productive, and they want their organizations to support them in being productive. So, when knowledge workers see that their organizations aren’t doing anything to support productivity, they’re not happy. Compared to those who said their organizations have made interventions to support productivity, those whose organizations have not are significantly more likely to report:
♦ Increased frustration or stress
♦ Lower job satisfaction
♦ Increased likelihood of leaving their current role
♦ Increased likelihood of leaving their current organization
There are many interventions organizations can take, but KM programs are particularly valuable in helping knowledge workers feel productive and happy. Respondents whose organizations have KM programs are significantly less likely to report that productivity problems cause them stress, decrease their job satisfaction, or make them more inclined to leave their current employer.
KM programs improve the employee experience
How do KM programs lessen the negative impacts on knowledge workers? Part of the answer is pure logic.
Most knowledge workers have invested years of time and effort (and often, heaps of money) in learning their discipline or specialty. They want to capitalize on that investment and do their thing, whether that’s mechanical engineering, graphic design, or any other specialized work that only they can do.
When an organization has a KM program that helps document critical knowledge and make it easy to find and access, knowledge workers can spend more time doing their thing. And that means they spend less time doing things that any layperson could do, such as entering search queries into five different databases or clicking across a dozen chat threads. In short, KM allows knowledge workers to make the best use of their brains, and that makes them more satisfied at work.
KM also provides support that shows employees that the organization is invested in them, both in terms of preserving their knowledge and freeing up their time for creativity and learning. KM also helps employees connect with like-minded colleagues through communities, networks, and other knowledge-sharing opportunities. When employees are connected to a broader group, that helps them feel that they’re part of something bigger. It provides an outlet to be heard and gives them a trusted network to turn to when they’re struggling (personally or professionally).
In short, KM helps employees feel supported, both by the organization and a community of colleagues. This reduces stress, improves job satisfaction, and offers knowledge workers an invaluable outlet for dealing with difficult managers, tough assignments, and other challenges that might otherwise push them out the door.