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Knowledge Manager: The Role, Responsibilities, and Hiring Guide

Posted by
Elmira in TechComm Career Path on 8/10/20226 min read

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Even if your business is dynamic and brings you profit, you can still make it better by introducing a position of a knowledge manager in your company. You may say that you already have a documentation management program, but there is one thing your program does not have. It is strategic thinking and communication skills. With this added, you will make the most of your company knowledge base.

Who Is a Knowledge Manager?

A knowledge manager is a person in charge of the company wiki – a constantly growing information base. Information is one of your company assets, just like human resources or production facilities. If information is not managed properly (organized, shared, stored, used, and re-used), it becomes just a silo where useless documents are dumped.

A knowledge manager monitors the information ‘flows’ in your company. Their responsibility is to know which documents are accessed most often, which information is missing, and to ensure everyone in the company has the information they need.

Benefits of Having a Knowledge Manager in a Company

You will be surprised to learn how many benefits efficient knowledge management can bring to your business. Below are just some of them.

  • Improved access to information is the first and most obvious benefit. Easy access to information means more productive work and better overall results. A knowledge engineer can streamline information access by working out and elaborating authorization policies and procedures. Not every employee has to have access to any information, but they have to be able to use the tools they need on a daily basis.
  • Improved time management. Your employees will no longer waste their working time looking for the documents they need or making requests. This can help reduce downtime and optimize the whole process.
  • Access to new knowledge. A knowledge worker monitors the industry-specific information space and finds new trends, innovations, and terminology that might be useful to your company. This can help align your business with the latest developments in the industry and be one step ahead of the competitors.
  • Improved communication culture. Employees often feel neglected when they don’t have the information they need. They rightfully think that it is their managers’ duty to provide them with the required documentation. If they don’t get the necessary information, they can interpret it as indifference on behalf of the managers or even take it as an offense. Usually, they pay back with the same indifference to the company’s goals. To avoid the deterioration of the company culture, a knowledge manager should be there to respond to all information requests.
  • Simplified onboarding practice. A company’s knowledge base can be used to train new employees. The existing information architecture should be organized to make the ‘onboarding’ process easier for the new hires and their colleagues. A knowledge manager should provide the novice and the trainer with the information they need. This can reduce the training period and ‘immerse’ the new hire into the work process.
  • Boosted decision-making process. A knowledge manager can be helpful for executives as well. Accurate information is crucial for the decision-making process. If delivered quickly, it can save time and spare the effort otherwise wasted on information search, verification, and discussions.
  • Reduced errors. Duplication of documents is what often happens when the company learning base is disorganized. Documents may have different versions and many updates, and the job of the knowledge manager is to provide the right document in response to a request. This can decrease the number of clashes and mistakes in the workflow.

All the above benefits will result in increased productivity of your team, a better corporate communication style, and enhanced workflow efficiency.

colleagues working together

Knowledge Manager Skills and Responsibilities

A knowledge manager is often called a documentation specialist, an information architect, or an information developer. No matter the job title, there is always a certain range of responsibilities typical for this activity. Below you will find some of the most relevant ones:

  • Creating a knowledge management system. The job of a knowledge manager is similar to that of an engineer: they have to design and maintain a knowledge system for the organization. This implies elaborating policies, processes, and regulatory documents for storing and accessing the relevant content, as well as monitoring and controlling access. Accumulating new knowledge can also be listed here.
  • Making information searchable. It is important to have an effective search tool so that the employees don’t waste time authoring and sending requests for information.
  • Collaborating on different levels. A knowledge manager should be communicative enough to work with company executives to facilitate decision-making. At the same time, such a professional has to work closely with heads of departments (divisions) and their teams to help them find the necessary materials.
  • Building knowledge channels. Knowledge managers are responsible for developing the ‘routs’ of information movement within the company. These routes should be well-tested optimal channels of information distribution. Whether it is access to the company learning base from the PC or the procedure of making requests to the company archive, or just a phone call to the secretary, these channels should be formalized, described in the relevant SOPs (standard operating procedures), and, what’s more important, accessible for the users.
  • Encouraging information sharing. Like most other products, knowledge has a lifetime or service life. If it is not used, it becomes ‘stale.’ The job of a knowledge worker is to ensure that knowledge is used, updated, and shared. Otherwise, the information doesn’t work. It is stored in separate places, and each new place becomes just another documents dump or information silo.
  • Educating the personnel. Knowledge managers are also responsible for ensuring education, training, and coaching process in the company. Coaching is mostly needed for new hires, while special training sessions may be important for top managers.
  • Accumulating new knowledge. Fluctuation and volatility are not only marketing terms. Today, they can be applied to any industry or field of activity. In these conditions, companies must know the latest trends and changes in their field. Knowledge managers are responsible for capturing new knowledge (information about new technologies, products, etc.) and incorporating it into the existing process.

Knowledge Manager Salary

According to zippia.com, a manager’s salary in the US varies from $53,000 at entry-level to about $100,000 per year at the higher end of the spectrum. The average salary makes about $72,441. This information is general, as it concerns all kinds of managers without specifying the field of activity or industry.

To pin the knowledge manager on this map, indeed.com has collected information on 124 salaries of knowledge managers across the US (updated on July 23, 2022). The average wage within this sample group is $85,079, which puts the knowledge manager’s salary about $13,000 above the average manager’s annual payment in the country.

Knowledge Manager Job Description

Different job search platforms publish vacancies for the position of knowledge manager. Job descriptions can vary, but most of them consist of the following main blocks:

  • a short introduction (1-2 passages);
  • list responsibilities (‘What the knowledge manager is expected to’);
  • requirements.

Sample job descriptions can be found at Technical Writer HQ. It is the world's largest community for technical writers and other technical communicators.

Conclusion

Introducing a new position in a company is always a challenge. The need for another team member can be questioned on many points: Can the company afford it? Is it reasonable? Is it cost-efficient? Etc. If you decide and introduce the position of a knowledge manager, you will never regret it. The efforts of this professional combined with an efficient documentation management system will enhance the productivity and profits of your company.

Good luck with your technical writing!
ClickHelp Team
Author, host and deliver documentation across platforms and devices

 

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