Friday, 3 July 2020

What incentives work for Knowledge Management?

There are a number of ways to incentivise KM, but which ones work?


I blogged yesterday about an article which confirms that financial incentives for sharing knowledge can easily backfire, but which incentives actually work?

We can answer this question with data from the Knoco KM surveys in 2014, 2017 and 2020. One of the questions provided respondents with a list if possible incentives, and asked the participants to rank how powerful they have been in influencing behaviour. The graph below shows the answers (approx 700 people answered the question).


The chart shows these incentives in order of value from left to right, as a stacked bar chart, with the weighted value shown as a blue line (this line would be at 100% if all the participants that used this incentive said it was “very powerful" and at 0 they all claimed it was of no use). The top of the dark grey area represents the usage percentage for these incentives, as the light grey area above represents people who do not use this incentive. The top of the green area represents the percentage of people who said this incentive was "very powerful".

The most powerful incentives are clear management directive for KM, KM embedded within normal job descriptions, a centrally organised recognition shceme, and peer recognition schemes. Finanacial incentives are judged the least useful.

The usage of these incentives increases with KM maturity, as shown below.


Each of the incentives shows a greater level of application as KM matures, with the exception of financial incentives, where usage decreases slightly in the most mature organisations.

We can also look at the how the perceived value of these incentives changes with maturity.


Several of the incentives are judged to increase in power as KM matures, especially the clear management directive, embedding KM in job descriptions, adding KM to exected competences, and the use of peer recognition schemes. All of these represent the embedding of KM within the expected work behaviours.

Monetary incentives, gamification and the central recognition scheme, on the other hand - where KM is incentivised separately - are judged to decrease in power as KM matures, even though the previous figure shows they increase in usage.

The message seems to be clear - incentivise KM as part of the job, rather than incentivise it separately.


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