7 ways to measure the effectiveness of your knowledge management strategy

29 Nov 2023 5 min read

Written by

Oana Năslău

, Content Writer Specialist

What's the recipe for knowledge management success? Let's imagine this scenario: you have all the ingredients for a recipe you want to impress your Sunday dinner guests with. You have all the instructions as well. It is the first time you're cooking this special dish for people other than your family. How will you know it was a success? They'll tell you, right? But you're hoping they will also leave their plates empty and maybe ask for a second serving.

Now let's get back to knowledge management. You've put in place a recipe to secure the success of your knowledge management strategy. You've managed to unlock and capture that tacit knowledge only individuals in your team possess. Not only that, but you are fostering a culture of trust and knowledge sharing. How will you know this recipe will turn out right for both your employees and company? Finally, how do you measure the effectiveness of your knowledge management strategy? We'll be addressing all these burning questions in today's article.

Why measuring the effectiveness of your knowledge management strategy matters?

Thoroughly assessing your knowledge management strategy will bring you tangible data. Furthermore, including this step in your planning is instrumental for both the success of your knowledge management initiatives and ultimately of your business. If you want to understand the impact of knowledge management on your company, you may want to set relevant metrics. Finally, you'll be able to know if your investment in the growth of your team and organization has paid off.

Let's look at the benefits of setting, using and monitoring relevant metrics:

  • ✅ Decision-making. Data-driven decisions are informed decisions, and having metrics helps you make better judgments regarding the approach to take when analyzing training needs or updates for your knowledge management strategies.
  • ✅ Employee or user engagement. By looking at how users or your team interacts with the knowledge base, you will be able to understand their level of engagement and satisfaction with the platform you've implemented.
  • Talent retention. An effective knowledge management system facilitates active knowledge sharing and boosts productivity. This leads to a high level of employee satisfaction and talent retention.
  • ✅ Identifying gaps. In case there are areas where your knowledge management platform is not performing as expected, metrics will give you insights about that. This way you can cover any knowledge gaps.
  • ✅ Continuous improvement. Monitoring metrics means you'll be focusing on improvement and not just as a one-time activity, but as a regular one. Making improvement a top priority for your knowledge management strategy is a sign of strength and a step towards progressing.

7 key knowledge management metrics to look out for

Now that we've gone through the benefits of having well-established knowledge management metrics, let's take a closer look at these metrics and see how you can make the most out of them.

Search and navigation efficiency

How easy it is for our employees or customers to find the information they need? This metric is paramount because it helps you asses how quickly and seamlessly your team(s) can access knowledge. Furthermore, it enables you to remove some blockers that stay in the way of knowledge accessibility. 

  • 💡 Tip #1: Simplify the search feature of your knowledge base by including a powerful search engine that allows users to retrieve pages and different file formats, using keywords and refining their searches.
  • 💡 Tip #2: Encourage your team to use tags consistently and consider training and best practices sessions as well.

The customized solution we've implemented for the Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (HLS) highlights how you can leverage and have fine-grained control over search and indexing capabilities thanks to a powerful SOLR search.

Adoption rate

Here's a metric to watch even from the early stages of implementing the knowledge management system. The percentage of employees or teams actively using the platform will help you assess whether the implementation of your knowledge management was successful from the beginning (i.e., high adoption rates) or if it requires some improvements.

  • 💡 Tip #1: Make sure the platform that hosts your knowledge base relies on a user-friendly technology and is built with the user experience in mind.
  • 💡 Tip #2: Besides the above-mentioned search and navigation features, consider also functionalities that can ease the job of those who access and update content on the platform. Check to see if you've included a feature that helps them follow and receive notifications for specific pages of their interest. Additionally, functionalities that allow users to share knowledge and ideas tend to be highly demanded and appreciated.
  • 💡 Tip #3: When it comes to organizing information for your knowledge base, encourage contributors to keep knowledge short and to the point. In terms of structure, make sure information is organized under the form of sections and pages that communicate with each other by means of hyperlinks, breadcrumbs, and navigation menus.

Usage frequency

Besides the percentage of employees actively using the knowledge management system, you should also track the frequency of logins. A high-frequency rate is a sign that knowledge is valuable and helpful.

  • 💡 Tip #1: If you notice that the frequency of usage is low or drops after a while, you can check if content is still relevant and up-to-date. Consider scheduling calls or regular activities with owners to monitor and update content.
  • 💡 Tip #2: Alternatively, another reason why this metric could be below expectations is due to the fact that too much time has passed since the initial training for acquiring the skills to master the knowledge management platform. In case you have made upgrades to the knowledge base and added new features, consider including a refresher training.
  • 💡 Tip #3: Make sure the knowledge base is easily accessible by everyone. To this end, link to your platform from somewhere you know that users are likely to see and create a quick-links section for pages that have the highest recurrent usage rate. This feature is available by default in the XWiki software.

Knowledge contribution

Assessing knowledge contribution is essential for the success of your knowledge management strategy. When you monitor this metric, it will provide you with both quantitative and qualitative data about the frequency and quality of the knowledge your employees have brought contributions to. You can track how many articles are being updated daily, weekly, monthly, or for any custom period. 

  • 💡 Tip #1: If contribution rate is low, encourage knowledge sharing by highlighting top contributors and reinforce the importance of sharing information, flagging incorrect or old content and acting timely to update it as a result of those flags. 
  • 💡 Tip #2: When someone in your team has an idea regarding the content on the knowledge platform, encourage that person to go and do the edits themselves. This will be consistent with your objective to create a culture of knowledge sharing and collaboration among your employees.
  • 💡 Tip #3: You can also recognize and incentivize individuals or teams who have high contribution rates. Think of a reward mechanism that is in line with your organization's values and principles.

User engagement rate

This metric would measure the number of likes, comments, article views, time spent on pages or questions users ask. These insights will reveal how well is your knowledge base performing and what to do next so that your team will rely on it as the unique source of truth.

  • 💡 Tip #1: In order to improve this metric, encourage Subject-Matter Experts to answer users' questions on the platform and check whether topics referred to in those questions could be the object of new articles for the knowledge base.
  • 💡 Tip #2: Check the knowledge base analytics to see what are the queries that your employees use to find information. Based on that, you can identify recurrent topics and if they are missing from the platform, consider adding them to a calendar so that owners can write about them.
  • 💡 Tip #3: Stuck for ideas? There is no need to try reinventing the wheel. For inspiration, you could start by looking for knowledge base examples as a way to spark new ideas. 

Training and onboarding efficiency

You probably know already that your knowledge management strategy impacts the training programs as well. Track the efficiency of training, onboarding and upskilling in relation to the knowledge management platform. It will be a good indicator for how well and quickly employees manage to become successful in their roles in terms of both proficiency and productivity. The effectiveness of training and onboarding will also reflect in cost savings. The more useful and comprehensive a knowledge base is, the less time (and money) your organization will spend on training and error reduction.

  • 💡 Tip #1: If this metric is not behaving as expected, you can make an audit of your knowledge base to see if there are information gaps or if it can facilitate optimal problem-solving.
  • 💡 Tip #2: Make sure that the knowledge base incorporates various types of content to support all learning styles: text, images, audio, and video. 

User feedback

As part of a long-term strategy, feedback from the users of the knowledge management platform is crucial for continuous improvement. This feedback comes from the most important source, and you should cherish it and ask for it regularly. Normally, if your knowledge management strategy is performing well on most of the other 6 metrics, positive feedback will only come as a validation to the success of your program.

  • 💡 Tip: Don't be afraid of receiving negative feedback. Send surveys a couple of times per year and take into account the employees' opinion because they are the final users of the platform. If you do receive some negative feedback, at least you will know exactly what's left to improve. You can make use of the other 6 metrics to put in place a strategy based on actionable insights.

Closing thoughts

In conclusion, knowledge management is a long-term strategy, and so are its benefits and positive outcomes. We know it might be tempting to aim for quick wins, but long-term growth is equally significant. Of course, challenges will arise along the way, and we wrote a previous article providing knowledge management guidelines, that you can further explore. One last key takeaway to remember is that knowledge is powerful, therefore encouraging people to share it will not be enough. Lead by example to gain trust, and recognize and reward people in your team when they share their insights and expertise.


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