Knowledge Management: A new Role for HRD Managers Knowledge Management: A new Role for HRD Managers T V Rao

Chairman TVRLS and Former Professor IIMA Founder President National HRD Network Bill Gates had put it once, "Our Primary Assets which are our software and software developing skills do not show up on the balance sheet at all. In fact less than 3% of Microsoft Value is accounted for by tangible physical and financial assets". Strangely when we calculate the market value of Indian companies like Infosys, TCS, WIPRO etc. more than 95% of their market value is accounted for by what may be called as in-tangible assets or better called as "Intellectual capital" which does not figure out on their balance sheets. Infosys initiated to capture the human asset value by making some calculations of estimated earnings of their employees across a five year period taking into consideration their career progression etc. For most organizations in the modern economy the tangible assets in terms of land, buildings, cash in hand and other tangible assets account for a small part of their market value and "Intellectual Capital" accounts for a major part of their market value. Knowledge capital is one of the important components of this so called Intellectual capital which is not captured on the balance sheet but is captured by the market value of the company. HRD Managers have a great opportunity to contribute to this Intellectual capital much more than any other managers. Unfortunately, this is little realised by the MBAs, Managers, CEOs and the HRD Managers themselves and our HRD continues to be in a pathetic state by virtue of attracting and developing the right talent. As Thomas Stewart, Journalist, has put it in Fortune, Intellectual Capital is Intellectual MaterialKnowledge, Information, Intellectual Property, and Experience – that can be put to use to create wealth. Managing Talent and Managing Knowledge have become imperatives of the new millennium. It is in this context Knowledge capital becomes a critical factor of Intellectual capital. Knowledge Capital relates to technology or technical know how in various aspects of business, finance, customers, markets, systems and processes, people and so on any aspect of the organization for its functioning and building competitive edge. It consists of Knowledge coming from new experiences, every day experiences, problem solving, experimentation, new projects, markets, mistakes, expressed in terms of new services, revised processes, best practices , tacit knowledge like mobilizing Collective Intelligence etc. Knowledge Management ('KM') comprises a range of practices used by organisations to identify, create, represent, and distribute knowledge for reuse, awareness and learning. It has been an established discipline with a body of university courses and both professional and academic

journals dedicated to it. wikis and Document management Line Managers Perceptions of HRD In a study by TVRLS. Knowledge Management programs are typically tied to organisational objectives and are intended to achieve specific outcomes. expert systems and knowledge repositories etc have been added to facilitate the knowledge transfer. Knowledge Management always existed in one form or another. perceptions of the HRD function by 162 line managers from different organizations were assessed. various enabling organisational practices. job rotation. accumulation and application of knowledge across an organization. In an organization that has high attrition rates there is no substitute to ensuring knowledge transfer to new employees in the fastest possible way to enable them to contribute in the short time that they are likely to stay. With all the methodological inadequacies this is perhaps one important source of data we have to compare. and sometimes reporting directly to the head of the organisation. Knowledge Management programs attempt to manage the process of creation (or identification). When the first dedicated Human Resurces Development was designed by the two IIM . For comparison purposes the scores were converted into percentage scores for both the studies. improved performance. Most large companies across the world have resources dedicated to Knowledge Management. attempts to bring under one set of practices various strands of thought and practice relating to intellectual capital and the knowledge worker in the knowledge economy the idea of the learning organization. induction etc. Knowledge Management is a multibillion dollar world wide market. The results were compared with the results of a similar study conducted in 1991 on 53 organizations with one line manager drawn from each company. This study indicated a definite decline in the perceptions of the effectiveness with which the various HRD functions are being performed as perceived by the line managers. therefore. review discussions. help desks. As effectively managing information is a must in any business. The 2003 study used the same questionnaire with a four point scale while the 2003 study used a six point scale. or higher levels of innovation. Knowledge Management. often as a part of 'Information Technology' or 'Human Resource Management' departments. First of all. such as shared intelligence. competitive advantage. performacne coaching. These were drawn from 18 companies and included between 3 to 10 line managers from each company. various enabling technologies such as knowledge bases and expert systems. corporate intranets andextranets. However in recent times in Information technilogy and Internet era specific adaptations of technology such as knowledge bases.A professors at Larsen and Toubro in 1974 the objective of the department was stated as faciltating learning by all categories of employees using multiple sources inlcuding training. content management. The line managers of each company assessed the extent to which the HRD Departments are performing 87 different activities under eight different functions. the percentage scores were below 50% indicating that the functions are perceived as being performed . such as Communities of Practice and Corporate Yellow Page directories for accessing key personnel and expertise.

delegation and shared responsibility · Balancing change and adaptation · Building feedback and reinforcement mechanisms etc.house training activities. In the consulting report that created the first HRD department in India at Larsen & Toubro in the year 1975 the IIMA Consultants have outlined the following roles to the HRD function and to the HRD Managers: · Developing enabling capabilities in individuals and the system · Integrating the development of the people with Organizational development · Maximizing the learning opportunities of Individuals in organizations through various mechanisms. This is also a reflection of the falling standards of performance of various HR Development activities. The HRD practitioners need to equip themselves with capacity and competencies needed to build the HRD function as hands on. The HRD function should focus on intellectual capital generation activities and at the same time ensure a good ROI on training and other interventions rather than merely facilitating in . articulating HR philosophy and liaising with top management? Monitoring HRD implementation and conducting Human process research are the two poorly performed functions across most organizations. proactive strategic partner with practical contributions to organizational goals and performance effectiveness. HRD (Human resources development) Managers and HRD Departments were created in this country essentially to promote a learning culture. autonomy and responsibility · Decentralization. Creating a development motivation among line managers by organizing visits to other organizations for them is one of the least attended activities OD and self renewal activities are also among the least effectively performed activities On the basis of the results the study concluded the following:     HRD Managers need to recognize the stake holder expectations and understand the overall business and strategic context of their function. Some of the other results of this study reported are:     Among the various roles performed well in some of the companies the top scoring roles are those dealing with influencing personnel policies. As the expectations from HRD function are changing and they are expected to perform more value adding functions and activities. This is perhaps an indication of the raising expectation of line managers from the HRD managers. The HRD practitioners need to strengthen their partnership and credibility with their stake holders by involving them in policy making and communicating constantly. ensuring the alignment of HRD with business goals and strategies and other systems. . Second.at a level below the average. there was a definite fall in the effectiveness with which these are being performed as compared to a decade ago.

the role of HRD Managers over a period of time has shrunk tremendously. The HR Manager (new name for the traditional Personnel Manager popularized in mid eighties to keep up with times) derives his power from his association with policy making. It is in this context worth examining if creating a new Role called Chief Learning Manager or Chief Knowledge Manager like other countries have done will help Indian corporate sector. 79% stated that reducing costs is a priority area. The HRD roles are being reduced gradually to recruitment and retention roles essentially involving salary revisions. Since the time India had the first dedicated HRD Manager (L&T appointed Dr. learning and using information. 88% mentioned knowledge Management as a priority area. CLMs and CKMS The Davos World Economy Forum conducted a survey of how the US CEOs look at the future. teams and the entire organization to collectively and systematically create. In another definition. . Knowledge Management is defined by Anderson Consulting as "The systematic process of acquiring. In spite of the need for competency building in a globally competitive environment real Human Resources Development has not got the attention it deserved. the population of HRD Managers has grown in the country. 78% mentioned that creating global supply chains us a priority area and 76% mentioned cross country optimization of manufacturing as a priority. synthesizing. If any. knowledge management is the engine that transforms ideas into business value. Today most organizations seem to use the HRD Managers for people maintenance and control roles rather than development roles. ESOPs. HRD roles are supposed to derive their power from their expert knowledge. Unfortunately the growth of the role is not in proportion to the needs in this area. creating. share. D F Pereira as DGM HRD) in the year 1975. There is very little effort made or time left for competency building. and from the employee they serve. The survey revealed that 94% of the CEOs mentioned that globalization as a priority area. India took the lead. In this way. Dave Ulrich's books indicating the changes needed in HRD roles are widely read and quoted but very little of it is followed. and maintenance roles) and development functions.The HRD Function was differentiated from the Personnel Function based on the finding in L&T that creation of a learning environment through HRD tools suffers if the same group of people are to look after personnel (essentially monitoring. and experience to enable performance". HRD Audit by the author of over a dozen Indian companies in the recent past has revealed that the real HRD Managers envisaged two decades ago are getting practically extinct. It was integrated also into the HR function along with differentiation as a lot of development issues depended on personnel policies and both functions were required to work hand in hand. control. Perhaps HRD is one area where such designations came in the US much after India had them. and apply knowledge to better achieve the business objectives. performance Appraisal and reward systems. insights. implementation. networking and facilitation skills. KM is defined as the new discipline of enabling individuals. capturing. and closeness to CEO. creation of learning environment and to aligning HRD with business strategies.

Vice President Knowledge Management is also known to exist. These positions are new. employees' tacit knowledge and paper files. Organizational Architect. Learning Coordinator.According to some authors KM is not a HR. Chief Knowledge Officers (CKOs) are the focal points to leverage the organizations' knowledge into tangible business results and to gain competitive market advantage. Some of the organizations having such titles include: · Bank Boston · Coca-Cola · Ernest & Young · Ford Motor Company · General Electric · Hewlett-Packard · Prudential Insurance Company · Sun Microsystems · Unisys · US West · Pillsbury Xerox Corporation · US CIA · British Petroleum Other titles like Managing Partner of Knowledge Management (Anderson Consulting).000 a year in terms of salary. · Design and implement a knowledge and or learning infrastructure to tie together corporate databases. IT or other domain but a strategic business development issue. . USA there are likely to be anywhere between 50 to 250 Chief learning Officers and Chief Knowledge Officers in the world. A learning organization is an organization that learns continuously and thus transforms itself. There are no universally accepted definitions of these terms. They draw between $80. Knowledge leader. Senior Knowledge librarian. Director of Organizational Effectiveness. According to one estimate made by Dr. This is growing. develop the culture. Knowledge facilitator.000 to $ 750. Learning specialist. the responsibilities are evolving gradually and duties vary among different companies. KM Consultant. Chief Learning Officers are the focal points to leverage an organization's learning into tangible business results to gain competitive market advantage. Sample of responsibilities for CKOs and CLOs include: · Strategic planning at the highest levels of the company · Ability to integrate diverse groups and work across all functions. Director of Knowledge Management. Organizational learning is a parallel process: a continuous and strategically used process. Knowledge Coordinator. build awareness of knowledge management or organizational learning. President New Century management Inc. Dede Bonner.

and a Champion of knowledge and Learning. culture of high trust. rapid expansion mind set. Responsibility for building the next generation Leaders rests with the CLOs CKOs. Leave management. It is high time probably to give a new life to HRD. strategic planning systems. The organizational systems and structures include good IT systems.Maintains focus on training and development but is sensitive the entire array of HR practices. organizational effectiveness · Work closely with CEOs Dave Ulrich and team in their book on "Leadership for results" have outlined the following four skills for the CLOs: 1.2 Billion-Dollar market in the US (Dataquest). On the values front. The CLOs and CKOs perform multiple roles like that of a Consultant. Industrial relations. belief that knowledge and learning offer competitive advantage and customer orientation. IT and business units. and creating a new agenda for . KM involves getting people to disseminate best practices. It is estimated that KM is a 7. salary and benefits management etc. This role represents a unique and historical opportunity for HRD managers to influence senior managers. supportive senior management. ·Strong people orientation and interpersonal skills ·Familiarity with technology and best practice studies ·Experience or capability in strategic thinking ·Familiarity with knowledge management tools or the newest learning methodologies ·Strong customer service orientation ·High level of flexibility The conditions for the success of these roles fall into two categories: organizational values ad organizational systems and structures. Competencies required include: ·Visionary outlook. Provident Fund management. integrated HR. measuring results. Performance Technology (PT) Knowledge management and HR professionals seem to be synergistic roles.Understands the nuances of making change and applies the change 3. measurement tools and standards. by abolishing the old HRD roles of Personnel Management. Technologist. Environmentalist.The CLO knows appreciates and influences business strategy including customer relationships and financial performance 2.· Consulting activities. Transportation. Entrepreneur. The roles and responsibilities are gradually evolving. at least in some organizations. impact the company's bottom line and build professional credibility.Understands the essence of information and knowledge management and creates an organization in which learning occurs 4. 2 out f three are people issues and KM deals with these. It is in many cases a strategic as well as a possible informal role for the HRD professionals.

• Conducting motivational climate surveys that help managers understand and develop their learning capabilites like achievement motivation training. For example. • Reinterpreting various HR practices and re-focusing on their potential as knowledge managemnt tools. This of course need not apply to those HRD Managers who are doing excellent job already in promoting learning and competence building. • Using modern HRD tools like 360 degree feedback as leadership building tool and Assessment centers as competency building tools etc. • Creating in-house learning networks. understanding and using power dynamics for facilitating learning • Using 'post-training' assignments to bring people together after the training to share their successes or otherwise of putting the learning inputs into practice. and as learning faciltiaton tool to learn about customers. How HRD managers can contribute • Creating a knwoledge sharing culture. • Using 'virtual discussion groups' or using organisational intranets setting up for a special purpose task force for action learning groups . learning culture and turning organizations into learning places. problem solving culture. and their expectations from their juniors. the author has been promoting Performacne Review Discussion as a tool for seniors to learn from juniors. The hope is that at least through title changes the lost focus on learning can be brought back.change and competence building through CLOs and CKMs.

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