Today’s workplace is decidedly different than it was even five years ago. And one of the biggest differentiators is the blurring of lines between the tools and technology used in employees’ social lives and work lives. While this overlap has distinct benefits in the workplace, like quick access to information, it’s important to understand the potential impacts to an organization’s foundational knowledge that may result – and steps you can take to ensure the gaps are filled.
One of the dramatic improvements in workplaces today is the immediate access to information. Employees tasked with researching a topic or determining how to perform an activity can simply look up what they need online from their desktops or phones. But having information always ready at employees’ fingertips can affect the documentation of the problem-solving involved. And that can impact OpEx efforts.
The Importance of Capturing Information
The goal of Operational Excellence is to design a self-healing, autonomous flow that will allow workers to see normal flow, distinguish when flow is becoming abnormal, and fix breakdowns before they negatively affect customers. To resume normal flow without management intervention, employees use standard work – or a process that should be followed – that has been developed and documented for each work station that enables employees to make decisions on their own when flow breaks down. Yet because of the reliance on real-time answers rather than proven processes, the shift in technology has the potential to erode this foundation of knowledge in an organization
Another possible consequence of employees accessing information instantly throughout technology is the unreliability of the information. That’s because some of the technological advances that employees utilize, like popular sites, have made it hard to distinguish between accurate information and unverified data.
How to Avoid Knowledge Gaps
To prevent knowledge gaps or inaccuracies when capturing information, there are steps organizations can take:
- Embrace the technology that advances your organization. Getting real-time data is useful; just be sure to set standards for accessing accurate information that can be relied on
- Set boundaries for tools in the workplace. While employees may want to use their phones to look up information for a work task, it’s important that you establish standards for appropriate and inappropriate use
- Create a culture that models respectful behavior. Ensure you respect the new employees joining and the technology they’re embracing, yet be open during the on-boarding process about what the expectations are for how the workplace operates
The bottom line is that a company working toward Operational Excellence should strive to develop trust. By being able to trust employees’ use of technology and information, an organization knows workers can correct abnormal flow without oversight. And that will not only free up management from managing, it will allow all employees the opportunity to help grow the business.