Many knowledge management initiatives start out strong but lose effectiveness over time. We have found in our customer base that there are natural Knowledge Champions that emerge organically, and they have been instrumental in keeping up the momentum of the knowledge programs at their companies. It is important to identify them based on their behavior and then encourage a more prominent role.
Since having good, up-to-date support knowledge influences employee and customer satisfaction, the Knowledge Champion plays an important part in determining the type of customer experience your organization provides. Having a person actively promoting and committed to the knowledge initiative is also in keeping with the guidelines of Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS), the preeminent methodology for knowledge for customer service and support.
Qualities to look for in a Knowledge Champion
A good Knowledge Champion is someone who can enforce behaviors yet remain collegial, and knows when to take the lead and when to relinquish control.
Here are additional characteristics to look for when selecting a Knowledge Champion:
- shares knowledge and communicates effectively
- well-respected by the support team and can network across the organization
- helpful and approachable
- proactive problem-solver
- task-oriented and strives to continuously improve
- produces knowledge that others want to use
- culturally sensitive
- sees the big picture
Responsibilities of the Knowledge Champion
Knowledge Champion is a part-time role, performed in addition to the person’s main responsibilities. There are three main areas where Knowledge champions can make important contributions:
- Coaching – the Knowledge Champion spreads the KM message among the support team, teaches best practices, delegates KM activity and is the go-to person for KM issues
- Reviewing – the Knowledge Champion can pitch in to approve content when the reviewers don’t have enough time
- Brokering – the Knowledge Champion is the liaison to other departments, suggesting ideas for changes and presenting other departments’ ideas or requests for knowledge to the support team
How to keep Knowledge Champions motivated
While the Knowledge Champion’s job is to keep other knowledge workers motivated, management needs to foster an environment that supports the Knowledge Champion and keeps him or her motivated:
- Clearly define the Knowledge Champion responsibilities and how much time to devote to the role (e.g., 4 hours/week)
- Provide visible management support, such as regular update meetings and access to mentors normally reserved for senior managers
- Give them the autonomy to develop the role and balance it with their regular duties.
- Recognize them for their efforts, for example, in their annual review, with special awards that are announced company-wide and with learning opportunities
Supporting the Knowledge Champion in his or her efforts can go a long way in maintaining a vibrant knowledge program that keeps your knowledge workers engaged and improves your customer service.
Author: Simon Yelsky