There’s a new member of staff in the office. This is great news: your PSO is growing. The first challenge for a hiring manager is to ensure the onboarding process is as smooth and supportive as possible. You want to provide a structured induction so that your new recruit gets up to speed as quickly as possible.
Knowledge management is the perfect tool to support employee onboarding. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should be considering knowledge management for your onboarding process.
1: Speeds up Onboarding
Time is money. Within your Professional Services organization, you want to keep consultants focused on serving clients. The faster your new joiner has the skill and confidence to become fee-earning, the better. However, there is a huge learning curve for new starters. They have to remember everything from colleague names and roles to new processes, tools, policies, information about clients, workplace regulations and that’s before they start to take the measure of the informal power structures and office politics.
The whole onboarding process can be made faster with the use of knowledge management tools, as these provide a structured walk-through of your systems and processes, making that part (at least) simple. With process-based knowledge management software, you can walk new starters through any process, providing contextual help and even video at every step of the workflow.
2: Focuses on Just-in-Time Learning
Remember what it was like when a new staff member had to work-shadow someone for a couple of weeks? They’d learn everything about their new role, even the activities they didn’t need to do right now. By the time they needed to do a task that only happens annually, for example, they’d have to refer to scribbled notes from months ago. Inevitably, they’d have more questions.
Knowledge management stops all that. People have access to the information they need at the time they need it. You can use your onboarding time to support the transition of the new starter into your workplace. They learn what’s required for the tasks facing them at any given moment, knowing that the knowledge tools have their back for when they need anything else. This is a far more personal and tailored way to do staff inductions. It also avoids the ‘data dump’ approach that leads to overwhelm in the first few weeks. When they need information, every employee has access to it. That could be project-related, corporate governance policies or something else.
3: Improves Productivity
When people have what they need to do their job, they can be more productive. No one needs to break up their day by calling the help desk, or parking a problem until it can be discussed with a colleague simply because they don’t know how to move it forward. A knowledge enabled office means that people can access the information they need, complete their tasks and carry on being productive.
4: Improves Morale
It’s frustrating not knowing the answers to a question you feel is relatively simple. You don’t want to have to spend time researching the answer. Context-driven knowledge management tools help surface the right answers at the right time. You feel more empowered, you get on with your day and the overall takeaway is that you’re in a forward-thinking, supportive workplace.
In other words, infusing your PSO with knowledge improves satisfaction levels amongst end users. This is especially important for new starters because the first three months in a new role are crucial. New hires quickly decide whether they are going to be happy in an organization. It’s costly to recruit, so you want to retain your talent as much as you can – making a good first impression on a new starter can save you money and time.
5: Pay it Forward
People who make early use of knowledge management tools in their role will continue to use them over time. The tools simply become ‘the way we do things round here’ – an essential part of your office culture.
This benefits your organization in two ways:
- The ‘go to’ location for finding information becomes the knowledge tool.
- Team members who are used to using knowledge management tools will support others in doing the same – you end up with home-grown champions for your knowledge solutions.
The knowledge infused PSA grows over time because people see the value and are prepared to pay it forward. They contribute knowledge to the system as they know how helpful it was to them in their earlier career. A collaborative approach uses a workflow to upgrade and refresh the knowledge in the system, and you have a community of people prepared to do that to support themselves and their colleagues.
You can refine your onboarding process based on feedback from new starters, making it even more effective in the future.
Remember, knowledge management is key to a streamlined employee onboarding process, but it isn’t the only factor in making your new team members feel welcomed. As part of a structured induction, set the tone for how your business works by educating new hires on how to support themselves with the KM tools.
For more information about how knowledge management can support your professional services firm, watch this webinar.