Process Design and Knowledge Management
Process design has been a very popular activity for HR over the last few years, and we’ve gotten pretty good at knowing how to do it. This inevitably leads to documentation and, hopefully, employee facing content that explains the rules and the policies that are related. This is often an overlooked feature in your HR Shared Services environment.
The idea of pulling a process apart and rebuilding it isn’t terribly complex. Find what drives data, find what drives activity, and find which pieces aren’t bringing you value. See a lot of extra movement? Data changing hands? A lot of approval stops in the chain? All indicators that there are opportunities to improve how you operate. Knowledge management as part of your HR helpdesk, if looked at critically, can also point the direction to improvements. How do you communicate the changes? How do you make the answers easy to find, easy to read, and easy to use? Here’s a few simple ideas to keep in mind when building your documentation.
First, make it easy to access. The worst knowledge systems are the ones that return all your information in a big gummy lump, with no way to know what knowledge applies to your situation or need. (Have a question about the benefits plan? Here’s fifteen documents, one of which applies to you. Guess which one.) Make sure you can filter the search results to something that matters to the person doing the search.
Second, make it easy to read. Policies are written to document, not to tell a story. Don’t rely on the sanitized legal-speak to answer questions. Translate them for ease of use. Your readers will thank you.
Third, add a little something for your own team. Nothing makes life more difficult for HR than having employees who know more about the policy than they do. A great system will allow you to add notes just for the HR help desk team, so they the full support of the system to provide great employee service.
You are investing a lot of resources building a knowledge management system. Make sure you are getting the same value you would from your process design work.