New employee welcome has long ago moved from a simple greeting and introduction to a complex system of acquainting the new hire with their workspace and helping them to get started. Companies develop whole onboarding programs designed to familiarize a new person with the procedures and ways of working and assist them in starting independent work as soon as possible.
Knowledge sharing plays a major role in successful onboarding. It increases the new employee’s engagement, improves their efficiency, opens new learning opportunities (which, by the way, are a reason for 94% of employees to stay with the company), and boosts team building.
Therefore, setting up an effective knowledge management system becomes one of the priority tasks for any business, if they want to create a healthy working environment and attract dedicated, engaged, and loyal workers.
Which benefits does knowledge management bring to employee onboarding?
A proper knowledge management system should be designed to cater to employees from the day they first set foot in their new workspace, both literally and figuratively, if you implement a remote work model. Such a system helps onboard new hires and allows them to reach their maximum efficiency sooner.
Smoother learning curve
When a new colleague joins a team, they get a whole waterfall of information on top of their head. They need to remember dozens of details, both big and small - from which tools they need to use in their everyday work to which floor the cafeteria is on. Such a flood of information may be overwhelming and as a result, the newcomer might forget or misunderstand something.
This is what a good knowledge management system can prevent or, at least, reduce. When a lot of useful information is written down and can be easily looked up, there is no need to memorize such a lot of different things. In this case, when the new employee knows that the info they need is just a couple of mouse clicks away, they are more confident and relaxed.
Easier access to the company’s expertise
Usually, knowledge base software supports comments, questions, and feedback in general. These may be an amazing channel of connecting to the corresponding subject-matter experts. If a new employee asks a question on a page they are interested in, they may get a response from an SME who will provide additional explanation and guidance.
Such communication format also opens opportunities for further interactions with experts who can provide support and advice to new colleagues.
By implementing knowledge management resources, businesses give their employees an opportunity to browse them at their own pace whenever they find the most convenient. This way, employees can review the content for as long as they need, making notes, bookmarking pages, and returning to the most important sections, when necessary.
Self-learning is also an effective format for getting familiar with mandatory subjects, such as company rules, policies and regulations, security measures, company culture standards, and other orientation topics. Usually, such matters do not require an instructor or mentor, and new hires can use the knowledge management system to cover them.
When the new employee onboarding program is based on a knowledge management system, a company can be sure that all colleagues get similar training whenever they join. Even with different mentors who might have different approaches to onboarding, the core content is going to be the same for everyone.
Besides, the knowledge stored in the company’s platform is created and reviewed by experts who verify that it is correct, complete, and up to date. In the event of any changes in the procedures or policies, the corresponding content can be updated centrally to make sure that all users of the knowledge management system have access to correct information.
Higher employee engagement and retention
In addition to providing learning opportunities, a knowledge management system makes new employees feel supported and empowered by the company’s expertise. As a result, they get more confident and satisfied with their work.
Employees use the knowledge management system not only at the onboarding stage. They refer to it on a regular basis to get the information they need at the right moment. Supported by the company’s pool of knowledge, they become more productive and engaged.
Often, knowledge management is a part of a collaboration platform where employees can communicate, work together on projects and tasks, plan activities, and track their progress. By introducing new hires to such a platform, the company demonstrates ways to connect with colleagues and join the team’s work.
A knowledge management system opens convenient channels for information sharing between people and teams, thus equipping everyone with the data they need and preventing siloes. When new employees learn to rely on such a system from day one, they get ready to share and cooperate with others.
It is a common practice to invite experienced employees to act as mentors for new hires. In the process, they transfer their knowledge and skills guiding newcomers through the most important aspects of their work.
However, when mentors leave the company for whatever reasons, it may be practical to keep their expertise and use it to train the next generations of new employees. Here, a knowledge management system plays a vital part, as it becomes the receptacle of the information that the leaving colleague wants to share. The format may differ - a page in the knowledge base, a tutorial, a module in the onboarding program, or a process diagram. In all cases, new employees will benefit from it.
In onboarding new employees, a good knowledge management system is a core component. However, its value is much wider than that. It should be regarded as a central source of truth regarding the company’s procedures and standards and a go-to resource for everyone, from newcomers to seasoned experts.