Empowering Employees by Effectively Sharing Knowledge

Putting information, processes, and documents in a common digital interface creates staff efficiencies, consistencies, and preserves institutional knowledge.


How much time are your employees spending searching for information or double-checking that what they have is “correct”?  How efficient is the process for letting the entire staff know about changes to products or processes?  How do you ensure that critical processes and information aren’t lost when employees leave the organization?

If employees aren’t able to find consistent and reliable information in a timely manner, the ultimate loser is the member who must wait longer for service.

While one key component of an effective knowledge management strategy is providing members with a self-service channel to access reliable information (see previous article), a second critical element is empowering staff with the information they need to perform their jobs.  There are three key benefits to a strategy that makes information accessible in an internal digital interface: staff efficiencies in finding and sharing information, consistent messaging at all points of member contact, and mitigating the risk of information loss from staff turnover.

A digital repository of information establishes a central location for communicating best practices internally, and puts up-to-date information at your staff’s fingertips.  Search functionality can allow staff to quickly find the exact information they need, instead of spending time guessing where it’s saved or going to a more experienced colleague to find it.

Consistent Messaging
Information stored in a digital format can be accessed by all employees, regardless of their location.   The web, the branch, and the call center can all access the same repository of information that contains the most up-to-date data. 

When something is changed in this digital repository, such as a new marketing promotion or updated process document, this updated organizational knowledge flows to all of the staff who access it.  This minimizes the cost and effort of retraining or notifying existing staff, and ensures that members will always hear standardized, consistent messaging regardless of what employee they speak with. 

Mitigating Information Loss
Putting processes, information, and documents in a common digital interface makes the credit union a living organization that goes beyond the knowledge of any one staff member.  The “organizational knowledge” of a credit union lives on despite staff turnover, and creates staff efficiencies as new employees no longer need to “reinvent the wheel”.

Access to “organizational knowledge” also helps facilitate on-the-job training for new and experienced employees. Rather than focus on retaining new information and processes, employees can simply be trained on how to access any data they may need. Training time for new employees can be dramatically decreased as they are able to easily find processes, documents, and scripts that help them deliver accurate information to members.

Some credit unions, such as Meadows Credit Union (Arlington Heights, IL, $142M) have scripted answers that new employees can use at first when talking with members.   The scripted answers provide a security net in case they need more information while on the phone with a member.

By making consistent information more easily accessible to both members and staff, a comprehensive digital knowledge management strategy enables credit unions to best leverage their competitive advantage - rapid, consistent member service.

To learn more about how credit unions are effectively using knowledge management, view Callahan & Associates’ webinar on “Strategies for Digital Knowledge Management”.




May 22, 2006


  • Scott, I agree with your assessment - collection and easy access of organizational knowledge is important and, sadly, is often overlooked in credit union IT strategy. Many of the "how tos" of collaborative technologies aren't common knowledge in CU land yet, though. Password-protected internal blogs and wikis, both technologies that haven't quite hit the mainstream yet, are being used in many businesses outside of credit unions for collaboration, collection, and that easy access you mention in both articles. Good writing, Trey Reeme opensourcecu.com
  • Several credit unions are already effectively using knowledge management and member care technologies to ensure consistent, prompt and accurate information across all support channels and when providing self-service and assisted-service support. Like Wikis, these same technologies also often facilitate open yet controlled collaboration in creating content and providing support. Call the technology what you want, but what’s critical is improving knowledge sharing and member care and many credit unions already get it!
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