In our « knowledge-based » economy and at a time when HRMs are directly involved in the strategic conduct of companies, too many barriers still remain when it comes to the management of knowledge and people. Considering them independently from one another would hardly be sustainable!
Of course, Knowledge Management (KM) is not limited to HR, and vice-versa. Of course, in this era of artificial intelligence, one can start considering the implementation of knowledge outside the human scope.
Nonetheless, the common goals to both disciplines still lies in the intelligent accomplishment of works, projects, research and creation to the benefit of company and people that constitute it. It is hence time to integrate these 2 approaches into one global strategic management.
A much needed convergence:
Historically, Knowledge Management has mainly developed an asset-based approach, centred on databases and smart data organisation. Data flow and assimilation by individuals remaining in the background.
Nowadays, despite the generated buzz around data and knowledge, KM remains an area of expertise, as illustrated by the limited number of recruitments within this domain (127 unique job vacancies, fixed-term open-ended contracts or temporary agency contracts –Jobfeed source).
In order to progress and enable the handling of current economic changes by the company, KM must leave its specialisation aside and build close collaboration with the HRMs.
On their part, HRMs have gone from a thoroughly administrative form of personnel management toward Talent Planning and Pipelining, and to a more global Talent Management. It now seems that for HRMs to acquire, retain, deploy and develop Talents, they must look beyond stated, verified or implemented skills and take interest in the following:
- Knowledge: simple acquaintance, precise connexions or information withheld by the collaborators (following, for instance, a project, a X, a mission)
- Information: potential knowledge withheld by the company, which can be transmitted to collaborators and constitute an important part of the company’s business assets.
4 obstacles to overcome:
In order to build a gateway between HR and Knowledge Management, 4 main challenges ought to be measured:
- Promoting the approach: the crisis we are going through results in our slightly paradoxical desire to differentiate ourselves, all while reducing risks. A new approach to HR <> KM community building, involving significant resources, should hence encourage company management adherence. The 3 best levers for achieving this are surely competitive differentiation, valuing non-physical assets and profits – in terms of efficiency, retention and « on-boarding » compared to payroll.
- Building a repository: the creation of a corporate repository encompassing jobs, skills and knowledge faces 2 major challenges: skills and knowledge inventory and mapping on the one hand with, on the other hand, the repository’s update.
- Improving access to information: for technological, historical and organisational reasons, data are often siloed and information cannot always be accessed by those in actual need of it. Hence, in terms of internal mobility, HRMs dispose of partial information that is not always updated: payroll data, job vacancy descriptions, CVs dating back to the hiring phase, annual assessment. It only rarely has access to the actions and knowledge of a collaborator. This information, often stocked in project or business software in a rather unmethodical way, remains out of reach and is not easy to exploit.
There is also a « Gap » between the ideal picture of Talent Management and what the information system actually enables the HRM to do.
- Managing change: Successful change management is obviously the heart of achieving such a coalescing project. Not only is it intended to bring together tools with knowledge bases, but also to make teams that are not used to working together collaborate and to change habits while developing corporate culture. Even accounting practices can be impacted.
Setting up a « Talent Data Interchange »
This new concept is inspired to us by the EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), a set of standards, techniques and technologies having enabled to facilitate freight, administrative and customs interchanges within sectorial or parastatal groupings during the 80s and 90s (Odette, Edipharm, Edifrance, Simprofrance,…).
The idea is to gather collaborator information, knowledge, skills and talents in a coherent and updated manner, to then make it available to various departments within a company (HR, KM or even Strategy, Production, Pre-sales, Marketing or Finance).
The implementation of this idea requires technological contribution as well as the intervention of experts, now easier than ever nonetheless.
- Traditional data mining techniques, paired with the evolution of HR artificial intelligence, enable to prepare and greatly facilitate repository establishment and updating.
- The progress of semantics in terms of HR enables to consider a widely automated conciliation, even the synchronisation of various implemented data sources, without questioning the existing Information System.
- The conjugation of Big Data, Cloud and mobile technologies [ the ToDaClo notion] offers wide prospects, both for the lessons and decisions that can be drawn from this coalescence, and for the distribution of this new added value to many beneficiaries.
- A Talent Data Interchange project now appears to be less expensive, more accessible and ever more beneficial.
To definitely convince ourselves, we ought to consider this idea not as an extensive campaign but as an agile experiment. Rather than changing habits right away, it is wiser to hold on to the support of HR consultants, business managers and technological experts in the context of a pilot aiming a target population (I.T. developers, cooks, tourism entertainment…). Potential profits are considerable, their implementation is accessible and the subject is most worthy of your future management committee’s interest.
On the same subject:
When knowledge management meets HR strategy: an exploration of personalisation-retention and codification-recruitment configurations (The International Journal of Human Resource Management)