We express our deep gratitude to Mr. Gurparkash Singh for his constant support, guidance and motivation which helped us immensely in completing this project. The project provided us with an opportunity to understand the fundamentals of Knowledge Management in a better manner and its application in corporate world. The insistence on taking up a project on application of Knowledge Management in energy based firm and promoting it with latest technologies used by them to get a competitive advantage.
We have ConocoPhillips as our project firm of Knowledge Management.
We learnt a lot about the importance of Knowledge sharing in today’s firms. The company continues to make tremendous progress toward its vision of creating a work place where employees continually deliver additional value through global collaboration and expertise sharing. At ConocoPhillips, support for sharing comes from the executive level and cascades downward and outward throughout the U.S.’s 6th largest global firm. The following report describe the approach, knowledge initiatives and use of lessons learned that have propelled ConocoPhillips’ current knowledge sharing and learning platform forward.
At the end of this document, we have provided metrics that demonstrate the robust growth of Knowledge Sharing at ConocoPhillips
ConocoPhillips Company is an American multinational energy corporation with its headquarters located in the Energy Corridor district of Houston, Texas in the United States. It is the world’s largest independent pure-play exploration & production company and is also one of the Fortune 500 companies. ConocoPhillips was created through the merger of Conoco Inc.
and the Phillips Petroleum Company on August 30, 2002 and was the fifth largest integrated oil company until spinning off its downstream assets to Phillips 66
ConocoPhillips focuses solely on exploring for, developing and producing oil and natural gas globally. The company manages its operations through six operating segments, which are defined by geographic region: Alaska, Lower 48 and Latin America, Canada, Europe, Asia Pacific and Middle East, and Other International. It currently owns 8.4% of the shares of the consortium exploiting Kashagan oil field however the company seeks to reduce its non-core assets in order to use the cash for debt reduction, fund its capital program, and dividend payments. On October 3, 2012, the Kazakh Oil and Gas Minister told reporters that ConocoPhillips has informed Kazkahstan of their intention to sell their shares. In November 26, in its biggest acquisition ever, ONGC Videsh agreed to buy ConocoPhillips’ 8.4% stake in the Kashagan oilfield for about US $5 billion. The stake buy is subject to approval of governments of Kazakhstan and India and also to other partners in the Caspian Sea field waiving their pre-emption rights.
Need of knowledge Management
Smart managers intuitively understand the importance of the problems that knowledge management efforts are often designed to address: sprinkled across most organizations are people doing similar kinds of work, but they often remain unaware of one another’s expertise, successes, and failures. Some of this lack of awareness is the result of waves of downsizing, reorganizations, leadership changes, and new acquisitions. But even in the best-managed large organizations, employees who could benefit from one another’s experiences are often isolated by formal structures and mechanisms that subdivide work into different reporting channels and focus employees on local rather than global goals. To serve customers well and remain in business companies must: reduce their cycle times, operate with minimum fixed assets and overhead (people, inventory and facilities), shorten product development time, improve customer service, empower employees, innovate and deliver high quality products enhance and adoption, capture information, create knowledge, share and learn.
Effective knowledge management should dramatically reduce costs. Most individuals, teams and organizations are today continually ‘reinventing the wheel’. This is often because they simply do not know that what they are trying to do have already been done by elsewhere. They do not know what is already known, or they do not know where to access the knowledge. Continually reinventing the wheel is such a costly and inefficient activity, whereas a more systematic reuse of knowledge will show substantial cost benefits immediately But as well as reducing costs, effective knowledge management should also dramatically increase our speed of response as a direct result of better knowledge access and application. Effective knowledge management, using more collective and systematic processes, will also reduce our tendency to ‘repeat the same mistakes’. This is, again, extremely costly and inefficient.
Effective knowledge management, therefore, can dramatically improve quality of products and/or services. Better knowing the stakeholder needs, customer needs, employee needs, industry needs, for example, has an obvious immediate effect on the relationship management. The Knowledge Economy is the next booming economy in a world of recession. More individuals, teams, organizations and inter-organizational networks will be restructuring and renewing themselves with the primary purpose of profitably trading their knowledge to add even higher value, predominantly on the World Wide Web. Already we see more enlightened organizations developing and applying the knowledge they have about their industry, customers, partners and stakeholders, as their prime strategic asset, and at the highest point in the value chain. And many are becoming less involved, and more open to profitably outsourcing the other business operations.
Around the world we hear automobile companies talking far more about their critical and key knowledge areas of design, knowledge of manufacturing , knowledge of distribution, knowledge of service and support etc as their ‘crown jewels’ or ‘master recipe’. Based on applying this key knowledge they then outsource the other business components. We hear the same from the aerospace industry, the oil and gas industry, the information technology industry, the food and agricultural industry, the healthcare industry, in fact most, if not all, industries. None of this is possible without a continual focus on the creation, updating, availability, quality and use of knowledge by all employees and teams, at work and in the marketplace.
CORE CONCERN AT CONOCOPHILLIPS
Baby boomers nearing retirement age pose a challenge to sustaining effective networks. At ConocoPhillips. nearly 20 percent of the employee base is eligible for retirement. In the coming years, another nearly 20 percent will qualify for retirement. These highly experienced employees possess valuable business knowledge and often serve as subject matter experts or network leaders. It is vital to capture their knowledge and experience so that it can be reused across the enterprise and accelerate learning.
Losing core team network members presents another challenge to networks of excellence. The project management network, for example, frequently redeploys and reassigns network leaders and core team members in the organization. High leadership turnover rates can lead to network disengagement and a loss of expertise. The knowledge-sharing team works closely with networks that experience changes in leadership to overcome obstacles and find ways to sustain continuous leadership “Networks of Excellence” (NoEs)
Due to all these needs ConocoPhillips came with the concept of NOE’s. These internal communities of practice intended to encourage knowledge sharing. Articulating roles and responsibilities, attending to the network’s daily operations, and working to institute a culture that supports the exchange of knowledge are all crucial, but at ConocoPhillips, the foundational principle of network building is this: a Network of Excellence must demonstrate its ability to contribute significant value, either in cost savings or in revenue generation. In 2004, ConocoPhillips launched a large initiative to create internal communities of practice that would enhance knowledge sharing within the firm. For this international integrated energy company with thousands of job sites (often quite remote) spread across 30 countries, the challenge of sharing knowledge was very real—and the potential payoff was large.
Facing fierce competition on all fronts, ConocoPhillips knew that to continue on its success trajectory, it needed to rapidly and effectively harness the knowledge of its highly skilled but geographically distributed workforce. Instead of assuming that technology either was the solution or was irrelevant when creating online communities, senior managers understood that effective global communities required new processes, roles, cultures, and technologies. They also recognized that each had to be focused on solving difficult business year challenges.
With more than 10,000 employees participating in about 100 of what ConocoPhillips calls “Networks of Excellence” (NoEs) and a growth rate of about 10 new networks per year, the company has developed a set of valuable principles for identifying, nurturing, and enabling these topic-focused communities. A culture of knowledge sharing has emerged in which network members take responsibility for helping their globally distributed colleagues—even if they meet face to face only once or twice a month.
Network Formation at ConocoPhillips
Ensuring that each new network has the greatest chance to succeed is a process that begins long before the network is formed. Many authors and consultants stress the informal nature of such communities, arguing that any attempt to systematize them will crush them. ConocoPhillips found the exact opposite—that without clear and explicit links to the organization and its business purpose, networks often evolve in ways that fail to contribute to business goals. The company adheres to two fundamental principles in this regard. First, no network is created without a clear and detailed business case that specifies the value proposition to the company and is agreed on by network leaders and members. Insisting on a business case prior to the creation of a network goes against the typical “let a thousand flowers bloom” approach that is often promoted. But in many cases, uncontrolled growth of new networks saps employees’ attention and engagement, leading to neglect and network failure.
Setting a high bar at the outset means that every potential new network must have a strong business justification, which signals to potential leaders and members that the result will not be something that consumes their time without producing real business value. Today, more than 120 networks exist across the organization. Networks align with business functions to assist in the achievement of functional excellence. The portals are open, in that both contract and full-time employees have access to most network activity. Given that between 70 percent and 80 percent of organizational learning occurs informally and outside the classroom, networks support informal learning among members.
Networks exist across all technical disciplines, and most arc supported by functional excellence teams. Functional excellence teams include line managers from business units and assets who are accountable for networks. Functional excellence teams provide structure, governance, and leadership required for effective networks of excellence. The knowledge-sharing leadership team (i.e., not the core group) includes representatives from various business streams across the organization who help set direction and strategy. The knowledge-sharing leadership team also provides support for reward and recognition programs organization-wide. The enterprise knowledge-sharing team oversees network activities.
Promoting Knowledge Sharing at ConocoPhillips
They reorganized and the solid state of their knowledge assets will help with this effort. More than 70% of their good ideas have come from their employees. Good things happen when employees talk to each other.
TOP LEVEL PARTICIPATION
The most successful KM efforts have senior sponsor of rank and respect in the organization. Most KM groups are placed too far down the hierarchy to be effective. Their KM effort started when a senior executive felt they were re-inventing things too much. The focus was always connecting people more than collecting documents. They grew by sharing success stories. Sharing these success stories was connected to their variable compensation plan and this really triggered response.
In 2005, ConocoPhillips introduced its Archimedes Awards to recognize business units and regions for the four primary types of behaviors that an effective knowledge sharing-enabled culture requires. The awards, known informally as the 4G’s, symbolize:
* grabbing and
* gathering knowledge,
* Along with spilling one’s “guts” to prevent others from having to repeat painful lessons learned. They have documented over 9 billion dollars in gains through the program. These awards are given to the business units or regions that have successfully created a collaborative work force through giving, taking and applying, and sharing knowledge.
Network of the Year award
On an individual basis, ConocoPhillips also recognizes the most outstanding networks through the Network of the Year award. Three networks are nominated quarterly by the global governing body of high-level program sponsors, based upon several criteria of collaboration and networking performance. Four networks are yearly selected as Networks of the Year. Being nominated is considered a high honor within the company. The awards have become highly respected symbols of global collaboration.
HALL OF HONORS
Regions and certain functions have created their own rewards to recognize people at a local level. For example, the North Sea Business Unit and the Operations Excellence function let people recognize their peers for outstanding efforts that promote knowledge and collaboration. As further evidence of the strength of the Archimedes Network of the Year award, in 2011, ConocoPhillips introduced the Hall of Honors to recognize networks which have produced superior results year over year. Networks which have won the title of Network of the Year three or more times are named into the Hall of Honors and retain the honor for three years. Afterwards, they are eligible again to compete for Network of the Year. The Hall of Honors represents a significant milestone in the growth and maturity of the ConocoPhillips Knowledge Sharing program and enables the recognition of more noteworthy networks.
KNOWLEDGE PROMOTION TOOLS
ConocoPhillips has three main tools: Ask and Discuss, Knowledge Library, and One Wiki . Ask and Discuss: component has led to 100,000 exchanges. They don’t believe in formal lessons learned. It takes too much time. Informal connections work better. The formal lessons learned become out of date very quickly and talking with people gives the most current ideas. People want to help each other but they also want answers quickly. Knowledge libraries: and Discussion forums are embedded in each community portal. Network portals are accessed frequently; for example, ConocoPhillips recorded more than 1.3 million hits monthly on its family of SharePoint-based network portal sites during a six-month period between April and October 2009 Within each community, the Ask and Discuss forum is a place to post questions and initiate discussions. The organization tracks the number of questions posted, the number of replies, and the number of readers per question or discussion. Data show that an average of 20 people read a single reply.
In other words, for just five replies, about 100 people read the responses and absorb the information contained therein. Content that complements Ask and Discuss forums is stored in the network’s knowledge library. This content is reviewed and analyzed by subject matter experts and then posted to the library using a taxonomy developed by the knowledge-sharing team and corroborated by network leaders. Knowledge library content is quality controlled; only the most valuable knowledge is retained in the library The wiki : is the first place to look for content. All of their success stories have an economic impact. One had 87 million dollars of benefits. Sharing this is important. Giving credit to the employees is critical. Getting middle managers on board was done through conveying business value of knowledge sharing.
Documented success stories, best practices and lessons learned in the form of closed discussions play a large role in providing context to Wiki articles. OneWiki has been deployed across the company and involves many networks, teams and work groups. Even at this early stage, OneWiki is proving to be a natural place to capture the insight and wisdom that accepted knowledge (lessons learned and best practices) has become. Further, the Wiki concept is familiar to people and encourages them to find and keep accumulated knowledge up‐ to‐date. Internally branding the wiki as “OneWiki” has sent an important message that this is the one and only place for contextual, encyclopedic knowledge in ConocoPhillips. To introduce OneWiki to the enterprise, the global KS Team created a set of high‐end computer‐based training modules. The team meets regularly with individuals deemed content moderators to ensure they are aware of the governing standards.
Closed discussions: enabling portal discussions as a way to capture and transfer lessons learned is a cornerstone of the ConocoPhillips Knowledge Sharing strategy. The sharing of discussions across sister networks yields even greater value for the company. But the latest, most exciting KS initiative is rapidly positioning ConocoPhillips to gain significant value by integrating Web 2.0 technology with the Knowledge Sharing platform. The two‐pronged approach consists of Closed Discussion Items and Wiki technology and processes. Four years ago, the KS Team recognized the potential of lost knowledge retention opportunities when valuable knowledge from online discussions eventually aged on network portals.
Many discussions contain detailed analysis and background information that represent an extensive body of knowledge from experienced network members. To recapture the benefit of such knowledge and provide it a “second life,” the team actively researched the discussions that had reached closure and were deemed to have yielded a successful result. The KS team created a process and policy to encourage network leaders to officially ‘close’ those discussions. These were then turned into searchable lessons learned documents that were added to the network’s knowledge library for members and others to search and browse. This approach has proven to be a more useful and efficient means of capturing,storing, accessing and re‐using intellectual capital than more traditional and costly methods
When ConocoPhillips first began launching networks, business units perceived them as a corporate initiative that was being added to normal workloads (i.e., above the flow of work). Membership engagement has helped change that perception and is one of the building blocks required for successful networks of excellence. Creating connections between similar networks increases engagement and allows the organization to leverage knowledge more effectively. Sister networks are linked by business objectives and functions. One network currently has 16 sister networks. Network members can post Ask and Discuss questions to related networks to engage a broader audience in finding a solution. Only meaningful, out-of-the-ordinary questions approved by the network leader are posted to sister network sites. The goal is to further engage similar networks and let others know of network issues and activities.
METHODS OF PROMOTING MEMBER ENGAGEMENT
Network leaders are constantly aware of the need to promote engagement and increase membership. One method for promoting engagement is to transition members from e-mail to the know ledge portal to more effectively drive use of the Ask and Discuss forums. When a leader receives an e-mail message, for example, he or she may suggest that the member post the question on the network portal: this action will encourage users to become more active in the network by visiting the site rather than posting a question to a single resource.
Network leaders also drive network participation by posting new announcements, events, and discussion items in the portal keeping the network fresh helps sustain members’ interest. Another strategy for member engagement involves incorporating network use into day-to- day job responsibilities. Deliberately designing the network through business planning makes activities more relevant to individuals; the intersection between network activities and daily business functions is expanding. The goal is to link part of an individual’s performance expectations to network participation, which boosts engagement as well as know ledge sharing.
CHALLENGE WITH THE NOE’S
All 120-plus networks arc global, and this can present some challenges. The knowledge-sharing team works with the network leaders and network core teams to address these challenges as they arise. One such challenge is the cultural differences among various regions with regard to sharing knowledge. Whereas most Westerners are fairly comfortable with posting questions and comments to ask and discuss forums, engaging members in the Asia-Pacific region can be more difficult because employees from these cultures arc less comfortable singling out individuals. Core team members in these regions work diligently to build network participation. Time zones present another challenge for global networks. Virtual meetings are scheduled in the early morning or the evening to accommodate different parts of the world and can be repeated at 12-hour intervals if needed.
Several hundred employees across ConocoPhillips work on knowledge-sharing activities, most of them part-time. As mentioned, the core knowledge-sharing team supports network activities, and six full-time resources help manage networks. Each network is supported by a network sponsor and leader, a core team, network members, and subject matter experts.
A network sponsor provides overall guidance and visibility for the network. Sponsors are influential senior-level managers from organization-wide business streams. They secure funding and help set direction and strategy with community leaders. A network sponsor also helps create and refine the network’s business case and verify buy- in with business unit leaders. He or she supports the network through executive briefings and communication with stakeholders. Sponsors appoint, coach, and support network leaders, including linking their performance to career progression. In addition, sponsors ensure that network members’ community activities are recognized and rewarded within their business units and globally.
Networks of excellence are supported by network leaders who are selected by sponsors or business-unit leaders. These individuals are responsible for ensuring that core team members, subject matter experts, and other network members understand the purpose of the community and their roles and responsibilities. They work closely with the network sponsors to ensure that the focus of the network reflects business unit needs. Network leaders also seek feedback from core team members about network activity, communicate the value of participation, and solicit business unit feedback. In addition to checking the community portal for submissions and pushing new content to members and subject matter experts, leaders:
* Facilitate responses for portal-based questions in a timely manner
* Direct Ask and Discuss questions to the appropriate subject matter expert or member
* Encourage the regular use of content with questions
Leaders help train members on how to use the tools and resources available in the community. They also acknowledge member participation with awards, recognition, and performance feedback. The time spent on leadership activities varies by network. One individual may manage three networks and spend approximately 33 percent of his or her time doing this. Others may spend 20 percent of their time on managing one network, depending on other business demands. The role is integrated with job responsibilities; it is not an additional role that leaders are expected to assume on top of their day-to-day functions. “They don’t put on another hat and slop doing their other jobs,” said Miriam Fjellaker, network specialist. “The role is integrated and helps them improve their other job functions.”
Core Team Members
Core team members check the portal site daily for new submissions and developments and respond to Ask and Discuss questions. They also set up alerts for members on key content areas. Core team members also: * Work with network leaders and sponsors to make sure the needs and issues of the local business unit are adequately reflected within the scope and activities of the global network * Push e-mail threads to the portal as much as possible
* Communicate community activities to the business units * Empower and encourage members to use networks as part of their daily work processes
Network members are encouraged to select and join the networks that relate to their work. They are also encouraged to share knowledge, best practices, and lessons learned in the network portal and leverage network relationships to ask questions, get answers, and learn with global colleagues.
Subject Matter Experts
Subject matter experts share knowledge, best practices, and lessons learned in the network portal. They also work with the community and other subject matter experts to develop and agree on best practices. Being responsive is important, subject matter experts are encouraged to respond to Ask and Discuss questions related to their areas of expertise as quickly as possible they are expected to use their expertise to move others forward. Subject matter experts also provide input to the network leader and core team regarding how their areas of expertise should be addressed in the network’s business case and other projects and initiatives
Technology for Networks
SharePoint is used across the enterprise to post questions and promote knowledge sharing. A dedicated team creates and manages portal sites and networks. All networks are standardized and have the same look and feel.
Cultural Enablers for Sustaining Networks
Networks at ConocoPhillips vary in size, scope, and function. The goal, said Smith, is to uncover the unique personality of each network and promote a culture that works. “You can’t click your heels and change the culture; leaders have to make it happen.” The community leader is expected to brainstorm ways to shape the culture and increase engagement Pushing alerts and responding to Ask and Discuss questions are important and help promote a culture that is conducive to sharing knowledge. Knowledge sharing is indirectly linked to ConocoPhillips’s performance and incentive compensation structure. This link serves as a strong motivator for employees to participate in knowledge sharing, and it demonstrates the organizational commitment to networks of excellence. Reward and recognition programs are designed to increase network participation. Specifically, a reward and recognition structure helps motivate employees to participate in networks and promotes a knowledge-sharing culture Training is another cultural enabler. ConocoPhillips has a number of training efforts that explain network functionality and potential.
The Network University is the training vehicle that supports ConocoPhillips’s network activities from launch to deployment Network University provides access to documents, presentations, and role descriptions that help form and maintain networks. Quick links from the KM home page provide overviews for new and experienced members. Users can also download a FAQ on networks or link to established sites. The organization uses Network University to train network leaders. It provides detailed descriptions of roles and expectations related to network leadership.
The more than 150 network leaders frequently go to the site for guidance on how to maintain networks at ConocoPhillips. In addition, less experienced network leaders are often paired with experienced leaders for mentoring purposes. New hires receive training on networks during the onboarding process. A 90-minute segment shows how to map to networks and how networks tap in to expertise across the organization to better share knowledge.
Communicating the value and purpose of networks of excellence is critical to sustaining engagement and attracting new members. According to Ranta, “We realized we had to get out there and tell our story if we wanted networks to succeed.” The organization continues to increase communication efforts designed to spread the word on the value of networks. Network leaders and sponsors frequently communicate success stories to network members. External validation is promoted across the organization. For example, a number of corporate magazine articles showcase the success of networks at ConocoPhillips. The organization publicizes these articles to show the value of network activity.
In 2009, ConocoPhillips was named a North American Most Admired Knowledge Enterprise (MAKE), and this award was also communicated across the organization. Communication is so important to the overall success of ConocoPhillips’s knowledge- sharing program that one of its full-time knowledge-sharing team members, Yvonne Myles, is the designated communications adviser. This individual supports the communication efforts of the networks of excellence along with communication initiatives that promote networks to the larger organization and externally. Each network uses a portal to communicate activities and news. In addition to linking to key news and discussions, portals showcase award recipients and network leaders.
Motivating employees to participate in networks of excellence is critical. Global and local rewards programs recognize members for network participation. For example, the prestigious Archimedes Award is presented to the top networks and success stories each year and recognizes regions for their knowledge-sharing behaviors. ConocoPhillips also collects collaboration success stories to highlight the business value of networks. To date, there are thousands of success stories that provide optimal business solutions.
The stories are quality controlled and stored in the knowledge repository for future access. Regional areas sometimes create their own awards. Other recognition programs are supported by peers and implemented across networks Peers may also nominate members for awards through the network portal. Online submission is quick and easy. Members are nominated for excellence in contributions, Ask and Discuss forum participation, and engaging others in trusted relationships. Some networks of excellence have an award for outstanding discussions. Winners are celebrated on the network home page.
Knowledge OnLine is a centralized digital hub for all knowledge sharing activities, resources, and intellectual property’. It is accessed through the corporate portal. Within Knowledge OnLine, subject matter experts and community members maintain profiles that showcase their expertise. Each profile includes a member picture and incorporates technical background and project industry experience. Members attach current resumes to their profiles. They ask their experts to perform a search on their expertise to make sure they show up in the search results and it helps them to show their expertise Global excellence leaders develop and maintain functional networks (i.e., communities) that cross all business groups.
They provide leadership for their respective knowledge communities. Specifically, global excellence leaders are responsible for best-practice approvals, reference systems, and career paths for the organization, including training, required readings, and unique tools for that discipline. An additional responsibility is career development. The role is prestigious; after serving as global excellence leaders, many individuals become executives. Communities are supported by leaders, knowledge managers, a global core KM team, and subject matter experts. A centralized KM team oversees community activities and works closely with leaders, knowledge managers, and subject matter experts across the enterprise
Strategy for Sustaining Effective Networks of Excellence
ConocoPhillip’s KM program replicates its community, content, discussions, and profiling approaches across its 42 functional and four corporate communities. It implies a global mind-set, with consistency of purpose and practice regardless of topic or geography. It implies designing KM so that each employee can tap in to the knowledge of the organization as a whole in order to respond to a client’s needs. It also implies access to content and people from anywhere clients or employees need help to solve a problem or enhance their skill. Knowledge communities are used to drive organizational transformation. In fact, communities are often created to fill a business need or knowledge gap and then decommissioned when they are no longer relevant. A work-share community, for example, addressed practices and procedures that were required to work in New Delhi and Manila. Now these practices are embedded into daily work processes and incorporated into standard operating procedures, and the community no longer exists. Similarly, a next-generation community is currently in place to explore future technology solutions.
However, when next-generation technology is implemented and begins to become the de facto way to work, this community’s content will be migrated into appropriate mainstream communities for long-term stewardship. Communities also provide work process innovation. For example, practice and procedure updates are managed and implemented in communities. A subject matter expert uses a discussion forum to collect suggestions or ideas to improve a procedure document. Using feedback from community members, the subject matter expert will update a policy or procedure and review changes. This process helps gain buy-in for policy and procedure changes, as well as global buy-in for the practice. The approach also has an associated cost benefit. In the past, they had large budgets for this process. Today, they have set a goal of updating or reviewing one-third of the practices using a fraction of the old budget.
Communities also support more distributed project execution at Fluor. The organization uses a project activity model to illustrate activities and provide project management guidance. Using the community framework, members are able to update a map and provide color-coded areas of responsibility for more effective project execution. Communities can add training materials on how to complete project activities, along with templates and descriptions. Another work process improvement is linked to the organizational communication strategy.
The old practice was to disseminate information about communities through the organizational hierarchy. However, not everyone saw those communications. Now communities send newsletters to the entire community membership. As a result, messages have a broader readership (greater penetration), which ultimately helps attract new members. Each message is sent as an e-mail with a link to the latest newsletter. This draws in employees who perhaps are not familiar with the system, thereby potentially recruiting new members. Employees frequently reply to messages and are encouraged to join a particular community as part of a routine follow – up.
Knowledge Loss Risk Assessment
Communities help in the identification of knowledge gaps or knowledge at risk—that is, knowledge that might be lost if the individual who possesses it retires from the organization. Fluor uses a knowledge-loss risk assessment process to determine the impact of retirement and resource gaps. The assessments also effectively communicate the potential impact of knowledge loss. Adapted from the Tennessee Valley Authority model, the formula multiplies the retirement factor (how soon) against the position risk factor (uniqueness of the individual’s knowledge) to determine the total attrition factor.
This process helps integrate knowledge sharing with human capital management by identifying when subject matter expertise is at risk and when the organization should identify a successor or protégé for a subject matter expert. Measuring Networks of Excellence ConocoPhillips’s knowledge-sharing team employs both objective and subjective tools to evaluate the health of the organization’s networks, identify where weaknesses exist, and prescribe ways for network leaders to improve their networks. Measuring the business impact of networks is a regular activity for the knowledge-sharing team and network leaders.
Assessing Networks for Value: Success Stories
ConocoPhillips believes that “you manage what you measure.” Keeping detailed records of business impact has served to galvanize sponsorship and attract and sustain membership to networks. One way the organization assesses business value is through validated success stories. Stories are submitted by employees and document cost savings, reduced cycle times, safety and environmental improvements, and other tangible business benefits. A story may also identify a critical business or technical issue that was solved using the community. Each year, the organization collects success story nominations and selects the best examples of collaboration. Supervisors, regional representatives and the knowledge sharing leadership team review and validate each story, adding a value statement to provide quick snapshot of the business value provided. Once success stories are approved, they are posted to the knowledge library where they can be accessed by other networks.