KM carrots and KM sticks
Both carrots and sticks are required when incentivising KM behaviour, but each has its time and place.
|Image from wikimedia commons|
I spent this week at the Asian Development Bank’s Knowledge Forum, and (as is so often the case in these events) the topic of Incentives for KM was a frequent point of discussion. Most people agreed that these incentives could be both Carrots and Sticks (rewards for doing KM, and sanctions for not doing it), but there was a lot of discussion on when these should be applied, and what nature they should take.
Here is my view on the topic, including links to the next level of detail and to examples and illustrations.
- Recognition from the organisation, which can take the form of awards, certificates and publicity
- Recognition from peers, which can take the form of “thank-yous”, peer-nominated recognition, or status as a “thought leader”
- Knowing that knowledge you have shared or used has “made a difference”. To use this incentive, you need to be able to allow the user to track knowledge from source to re-use, and this was one of the most powerful incentives according to a Shell survey
- Ratings on articles (not a mechanism I personally support for KM)
- Payment for articles. This is very tricky incentive to get right, rewards overproduction, is easy to “game” – see this commentary from NASA. It tends to work only in the short term, and removal of the payment later will result in bad press. It was the least effective incentive according to the Knoco survey.
- Setting people challenges they cannot solve with their own knowledge as a way to drive learning and innovation (tough, but very effective)
- Collective target setting and rewards, rather than individual target setting and rewards.
- Appearing at the bottom of a KM league table, especially if this league table is widely published
- A personal communication from management
- Peer disapproval
- Missing out on bonuses
- Not getting approval to progress your project if the KM work is not done (this was how BP incentivised Peer Assists)
- Missing out on promotion.
The blended Carrot Stick approach
- Clear corporate expectations for KM
- A way of measuring against those expectations as part of measuring performance
- The resources needed to perform against these expectations, including KM training, KM reference resources, and a full set of KM tools, processes and roles
- A performance-related reward and recognition scheme.