Dialogue with the Practitioners 7 May 2016

After the introduction to KMP by KF Cheng, the event moved to the discussion panel section. The panel discussions were held, The first with panelist who have held, or are holding jobs with a KM title. This panel concentrated on KM jobs, their requirements and what was being looked for. The second panel consisted of people who work with HR, either directly as an HR function, working with senior management, or as training or staff development roles. The panel reviewed career requirements for a KM jobs and what was expected. They also reviewed how to engage millennials and how to answer the question “What is KM?”

1st Panel

The panel consisted of:

  • KF Cheng (Host)
  • Raymond Ng - KM Systems and Support Officer, DLA Piper
  • Andreas Sher - Former KM Director at Pico Global Services
  • Justin Tse - Former KM Officer, HK Police Force, QM Manager, Red Cross
  • Angela Ang - Knowledge Management Lawyer, Baker & McKenzie

For this panel, the theme was KM as a profession and the role of technology.

Question: Can you give us some insight into how you got a job with a KM title?

However, they all agreed that although there may be a strong KM culture within the organisation, it is still difficult for the organisation to have a dedicated KM role. So much so, that one speaker had to take a pay cut when he took a job with a KM title. One speaker stated that it is easier to find a KM related job that deos not have a KM title, yet still has KM elements in it.

Question: What quality or competence would you be looking for if you were hiring a KM staff?

The speakers reiterated that industry knowledge is necessary, though not necessarily indepth knowledge. There must be “KM plus ‘something’ that will support the business”. In other words, what would be their value to the organisation

They also thought ancillary skills were useful such as IT skills, social media skills - such as managing as well as posting on platforms like Twitter, Yammer and Facebook, and design and publishing skills for prearing promotional materials such as newsletters, comics, and posters.

Question: Is KM a profession?

This question was quite difficult for the speakers. One member noted that it is difficult as an independent profession as it is very much a supporting role, however, as a independent consultant, it is possible to become a “trouble shooter” using KM expertise. Another member stated that it could become a profession if we make it one!

Question: What advise would you give to those seeking to get a KM job?

  • Show small successes, show that KM works and convince other.
  • Understand what the management means by “knowledge” and how they define it. From that you can understand their goals, and you can implement what they are looking for.
  • You must develop KM plus other compentance to support your KM career.
  • Know your own subject area well, being proactive, bring knowledge together, the job will come when the time is right in the company.

2ND Panel

The panel consisted of:

  • Andreas Sher (Host)
  • Jenny Pang - HR Business Partner with business Leaders to attract, develop & retain talents
  • Don Chan - Staff Development Officer, HAECO
  • Donna Tse - Assistant to Chairman, Tak Cheong Semiconductor<
  • Maria Leung - People Development Consultant
  • Ken Tam - Training & Development Manager

For this panel, the theme was KM career opportunities and bridge the gap with real business.

Question: What career opportunities are there for KM graduates?

The speakers agreed that there are opportunities for carrying out KM activities, but very few organisations, unless they are very large or institutional, can afford a dedciated KM role or department. Many agreed that as long as there is justification, i.e. a financial gain for the organisation, management will agree to a KM position. However it was also pointed out that KM can be done without a formal title. One speaker stated that “KM is their toolbox”.

Question: How do you justify a KM role?

This question prompted a interesting response from the speakers. Most agreed that it was better not to let management know that what they were doing was knowledge management! It was better to propose a goal or project and let the results speak for themselves.

However, on a more practical note, the speakers noted that KM could help in the areas of turnover and a more systematic talent development, retaining knowledge in an aging workforce, and providing better, more interactive training.

Question: Speaking of an aging workforce, how can KM tools be used to deal with the different mindset in the generational shift to Gen Y and Millenials?

Speakers provided a number of suggestions centred around the openess and sharing culture of KM. The use of social media and sharing opportunities were proposed. It was noted that the younger generation like to network and enaging different parties. It was important to allow them a sense of control to lead and carry out projects and to enjoy what they do. One member explained it was better to inform rather than instruct and for them to learn rather than study - all core values in the culture of managing knowledge.

Question: How does one answer the question “What is KM?”

  • Keep the answer simple: “How to retrieve you company knowledge and pass it on to next generation?”
  • It is complex and has many different components - like the blind men and the elephant. It has a lot of processes like create, transfer, apply, retain, acquire, and reuse. It is a discipline, PKM, keeping what you know.
  • It is accessing what you know and seeking for what you don’t know
  • It depends on the customer so you should know the one who is asking the question.
  • To manage critical knowledge, spread it.
  • KM is a tool box that helps me to work faster.
  • It is a way to give back to the community. It is sharing, help others to growth, work faster and add value.