Jonathan DeVore

By: Jonathan DeVore on April 2nd, 2023

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Is Your Knowledge Management Strategy Effective? (6 KPIs to Track)

How effective is your knowledge management plan? The answer is in your KPIs.

Every business aims to organize its information and resources. Usually, it’s in a SharePoint site, a shared folder, Google Drive, or a wiki. And even though there is a place to store information, somehow, it feels like it’s exploding at the seams.

Information is still scattered in different locations (i.e. emails, messaging channels, knowledge base, etc.) Or things are stored in a centralized location, but the guides aren’t easy to find. Or if they can be found, they aren’t easy for end-users to follow.

What you really need from your knowledge management strategy are guides that make your employees more effective and efficient.

So, how do you know if your knowledge management strategy and/or software is working?

Oddly enough, you can tell a lot about your knowledge management strategy by tracking your training and operations metrics.

As the Head Consultant for ScreenSteps — a knowledge base software service provider — I’ve spent a lot of time helping companies refine their knowledge strategies and track their performance.

Below, I’ve given a quick overview of KPIS and included a list of six KPIs you need to track for your business. These KPIs will help you determine how effective your knowledge management strategy is.

What are key performance indicators?

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the analytics and statistics businesses use to measure how their company is doing. A KPI is focused and specific.

These are the data points that a business uses to measure whether they are achieving its company goals. KPIs are metrics that related directly to the outcomes affecting your business’s goals.

They can also be used to measure individual employee performance.

Why it is important to track performance metrics?

When you don’t track KPIs in your business, you are flying blind. By tracking your KPIs, you have a clearer direction on where your business needs to go to achieve its goals.

Some benefits of tracking KPIs include:

  • Make more informed, data-driven decisions
  • Improve employee productivity
  • Helps you know where you can make improvements
  • Indicates how you can cut costs in your department

6 KPIs every business needs to track

There are many KPIs you can track in your business. Some are specific to departments. Others have a broad reach. Some have a small impact on your operations. Others are less consequential.

No matter which industry you’re in, these six KPIs are important to all businesses.

They will help you understand how mature your knowledge operations are in your business. They will help you see how your employees are performing and determine the financial impact of operations on your business.

1. Training time

How long does it take to onboard new hires? This metric measures the physical amount of time a new hire spends in a training class (whether that is onboard or online). It also includes the time that they spend shadowing a tenured employee, trainer, or supervisor.

2. Time to proficiency

Time to Proficiency is the time from when they leave training and they can hit target metrics on their own. To get a real calculation on how long Time to Proficiency takes, you need to account for how long it takes until new hires no longer rely on supervisors for answers or are regularly making mistakes.

3. Error rate

You need to know how frequently employees are making mistakes and where they are making these mistakes. This is the percentage of issues you have in relation to the number of requests you received.

4. Span of control

How many supervisors does it take you to manage your employees? The Span of Control is the ratio of subordinates to supervisors. It tracks how many employees a supervisor or manager can oversee while producing effective work.

5. Supervisor assists

How dependent is your business on supervisors supporting their subordinates? For every task a supervisor needs to support a subordinate, it adds up to two people doing one person’s job. It’s costing your business money.

Track how frequently your supervisors are helping the employees on their teams answer calls or handle procedures.

6. Pain Index

What is your Pain Index on a scale of 1 to 10? This is harder to track than the other metrics listed because it isn’t a tangible measure. This is more associated with the feeling in your company.  

A one on the Pain Index scale means you have no pain. Everything moves smoothly. Employees and supervisors feel they can accomplish everything. Your work pace is sustainable. Employees aren’t feeling stressed or stretched.

A 10 on the Pain Index scale is “the ship is sinking” mode. Supervisors and employees are overwhelmed. Everything feels chaotic. It seems you’re always putting out fires. Everyone relies on a handful of people for answers on what to do or how to do it. And those individuals are feeling really stretched.

You may also experience a lot of turnover. You probably feel like you’re always trying to keep up (but can’t). Not only is your work pace not sustainable — it’s just not working at all.

Level up your knowledge management strategy

When you track these six metrics, it can help inform your knowledge management strategy.  If any of these metrics are not where you’d like them to be, it likely means that your business is running on tribal knowledge — which means your knowledge management strategy is not working.

Ultimately, knowing how these KPIs affect your business will impact your business expenses, your time, and your employee performance.

To have a larger impact on how your business handles knowledge, you’ll want to adopt a knowledge operations (knowledge ops) plan.

Knowledge ops is a level up from knowledge management. Knowledge ops is a collection of technologies and behaviors that help improve your knowledge management. Ultimately, it helps you improve your training and employee performance KPIs.

Want to improve your employee performance, training times, and other metrics on this list?

Learn more about knowledge ops and see how mature your knowledge management strategy is with the Knowledge Ops Maturity Model.

How mature are your knowledge ops?

About Jonathan DeVore

Customer Success