KCS Best Practice Blog Series: Creating Value in your KCS Licensing Model

Michelle Stumpf, KCS (KM) Practice Director

Creating Value in your KCS Licensing Model

When planning our KCS implementation, one of the areas of KCS design that you’ll spend time on is designing what the KCS Licensing Model will look like for your organization.   We spend a lot of time and consideration designing which roles we are going to use, what each role will have the ability to do in the knowledgebase and what criteria a knowledge worker needs to meet in order to be promoted to that role.  However, what I don’t often see organizations do is discuss how they’re going to create and communicate the value in each one of the roles.

It goes beyond the added Knowledgebase functionality they gain

If you’re following the standard KCS Licensing Model, you have KCS Candidates, KCS Contributors and KCS Publishers as your three main Knowledge Worker roles.  Everyone who participates has a role and that starter role is the KCS Candidate role.  It acts as a learner’s permit, if you will, where the KCS Candidate can test out their newly acquired KCS skills and create articles if they determine there is a gap in the knowledgebase based on the issue they’re currently working to resolve.  When we introduce our agents to KCS, we’ve already built the excitement of KCS and gaining access to actually contribute and have co-ownership of the knowledgebase, so you already have that value established just by providing them with that permit to drive!

So, you’ve determined that your KCS Candidates are ready to be promoted to the next level.  For some that will mean they’re promoted for the KCS Contributor level and for other organizations, it may mean you’re promoting people directly to the KCS Publisher level.  Which level you’re promoting people to doesn’t really matter – the difference between the two comes down to the audience they can publish to.  KCS Contributors can publish internally for their peers while KCS Publishers can publish externally for their customers.

While you may be eager to let your KCS Candidates or your KCS Contributors know they’re being promoted, you need to think about a couple of things that will help you create that value in the KCS licensing model.  For those of us who are implementing KCS or helping drive its adoption, we know the value, but how do we get our newly promoted KCS Contributors or Publishers to see the value above and beyond the added functionality they’re gaining?

Recognition Programs

Never underestimate the power of recognizing someone for new skills they’ve acquired or for proven use of existing skills!  People like to be recognized for the value they create and with KCS, we know that value extends to the knowledge worker’s peers, to their customer base and the organization.  Recognition also helps reinvigorate people and get that positive energy flowing strong again!  So, the question is what is your Recognition Program going to look like when it comes to the KCS Licensing model?

  • Celebrate Promotions Getting promoted as a result of successfully implementing a new skill set is a huge achievement and one that should be celebrated!  If you’re in one location, take 5 minutes to get together and acknowledge the promotions perhaps during a team meeting or huddle.  If you’re virtual, take 5 minutes and acknowledge the promotees – don’t skip this just because you’re not in person!  Some organizations organized Team Lunches or Pizza Parties in honor of the promotes.
  • Recognize Promotions Give your promotees something! It could be as simple as a certificate (printed or emailed that they can print).  You’ll find something like this signed by leadership goes a long way!  If you have the resources, look for a trophy or statue that can represent your Knowledge journey – these are great reminders that people can have right on their desk and is a constant visual reminder of both the knowledgebase and of their recognition of their work in the knowledgebase.
  • Communicate Promotions
    If you promote someone to a higher level of KCS license, communicate it! Share it with the teams and beyond (where it makes sense!).  Some examples I’ve seen successfully used are:  Team Huddles/Meetings, Company/Team Newsletters and even emails to the team focusing on the promotions can help get the message out!


Maintaining a knowledgebase is hard work!  It’s often viewed as boring and mundane, so not exactly setting us up here for fun.  This is where thinking outside of the box is going to be helpful, so how do we inject an element of fun here?  Here are a couple of ideas that organizations have come up with that worked well:

  • When organizations held short meetings or webinars to acknowledge those who had been promoted, they shared a slide with fun facts about that person which not only helped acknowledge them to the team but helped with team-building as well.
  • Come up with fun names for the KCS roles… you don’t have to call them KCS Candidate, Contributor, and Publisher – you can come up with something clever that fits within your organization and makes it more fun to talk about!
  • Come up with fun avatars or overlays for avatars that the Contributors and Publishers can place on their profiles. You could even adopt something like this for their email signatures as well!
  • If you’re thinking about awarding statues or trophies to your publishers, find something that the people can decorate – as then it becomes the topic of many fun conversations and others are incentivized to get to that level because they want to participate.

I hope you’ve found these best practices and tips helpful!  In addition to this ongoing blog series highlighting some of our best practices and lessons, we’d like to extend the invitation to join our KCS Community:

In addition to this ongoing blog series highlighting some of our best practices and lessons, we’d like to extend the invitation to join our KCS Community:

  1. Join our upcoming KCS Roundtable where we’ll be discussing these topics and more in a casual environment wherein true KCS fashion… everyone participates!
  2. Watch our On-Demand Webinar: I’m KCS Certified – Now What? 5 Tips to Prepare you for Knowledge Management Success
  3. Enhance your KCS knowledge by attending one of our upcoming KCS training sessions.
  4. Talk to me! If you’re unsure if KM or KCS is right for your organization or if you need some help with your plans to implement KCS, let’s have a talk about it. Contact me directly

Also, my team and I are available to assist you with your KCS Implementations and have a range of services available from running something as simple as your KCS for Agents training to helping you implement KCS every step of the way!  Contact me directly for more information:

In case you missed any of the previous posts in this series…

About the Author:

Michelle Stumpf is the KCS Practice Director for Upland RightAnswers where she shares her expertise and experience in Knowledge Management and KCS.  She is a certified KCS v6 Trainer who has certified hundreds of KCS Practitioners and other KCS trainers.  She has experience in establishing knowledge processes across contact/support centers and across the enterprise and coaches many organizations in Knowledge Management and KCS practices.

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