Data silos make accessing crucial information difficult and can hold the whole organization back. To overcome these limitations, consider adding a knowledge manager to your team.
Knowledge managers have a critical role in a company's storage and distribution of information. These professionals also oversee the company's knowledge management system (KMS), which creates a central source of truth for company information.
Information is power. Having access to your company's knowledge resources enables collective success. To better understand what a knowledge manager does and how they bring value to an organization, let's start by exploring what knowledge management means.
What is knowledge management?
Knowledge management involves documenting, storing, and organizing company information. A knowledge management system (KMS) is a platform that's been developed by an organization to maintain and communicate critical knowledge.
The "knowledge" can be any type of documented asset, such as training videos, how-to articles, internal data, processes, or policies. Together, these documents form a knowledge base which is, essentially, a centralized hub to store, organize, and access information.
Knowledge management systems may sometimes be referred to as knowledge programs or knowledge frameworks. These systems hold information about the company or a specific department. Access can be shared with both internal and external parties. Examples of popular knowledge management systems include monday.com and ClickUp.
What is a knowledge manager?
A knowledge manager is the person on your team responsible for overseeing and maintaining a company's knowledge base. Knowledge managers also distribute information within the organization and to external stakeholders.
The Knowledge Manager's Role
Knowledge managers ensure that everyone has access to the knowledge base. Every employee should have access to the data they need to perform their jobs.
Often, a company has multiple knowledge managers overseeing different parts of the business. Data-driven and information-heavy departments can benefit most from having a knowledge manager on their team. That includes IT, research and development, product, engineering, and operations.
Even departments like human resources or customer service can find value in having a knowledge manager. This dedicated professional can help keep training materials, onboarding documents, and policy guides organized.
What does a knowledge manager do?
A knowledge manager plays a key role in the way a company's data, processes, and knowledge are organized. Without this role, information can end up siloed. This may potentially prevent employees and key stakeholders from getting access to the resources they need.
Knowledge managers ensure that the knowledge base is kept up-to-date and compartmentalized in a way that's easy to navigate. They also document insights that employees wish to contribute and record information about a company's products or processes.
A knowledge manager must be efficient, communicative, and organized to succeed in this role.
If there isn't already a knowledge management system in place, a knowledge manager may be responsible for developing a knowledge framework that meets the needs of different departments and employees. To improve internal processes, knowledge managers should also know how their team currently retrieves and contributes information.
Once there's a defined process in place, this manager is responsible for training employees on the knowledge management framework. As a knowledge manager, you will need to develop communications and awareness programs to promote the knowledge base.
Additionally, this person manages any relevant knowledge program tools. That can include learning management systems, content management systems, and knowledge management software. These tools allow both internal stakeholders and external parties, like customers, to find information.
Knowledge Manager Job Description
If you're looking to hire a knowledge manager or want to see if this role is a fit for you, start by exploring a knowledge manager's job description. Responsibilities include:
- Designing, developing, and managing programs related to knowledge management.
- Deploying training, communications, and awareness programs related to knowledge management.
- Identifying ways to improve the current knowledge management system.
- Developing new programs and solutions that meet the needs of the department.
- Collaborating with team members to capture new information that can be stored in the knowledge base.
- Maintaining the knowledge management system or platform (website, CMS, LMS, etc.).
- Conducting evaluation strategies to gauge knowledge program effectiveness and return on investment. This can include metrics collection, analysis, and reporting.
- Encouraging a knowledge-sharing culture across the organization.
When it comes to skillsets, knowledge managers should have excellent organizational and communication skills. You'll also need to balance multiple priorities at once.
Experience working with or organizing data may also prove helpful. You will need to be able to distill complex data clearly and in a way that everyone understands. Computer competency can also help these managers navigate the technology stack used in a company's knowledge base.
Let's see what these requirements look like in practice. Here's a job posting for a knowledge manager on TikTok's Trust and Safety team:
As you can see, the person who lands the role will need to have most of the abilities and experiences discussed above. That includes great communication skills, experience with a knowledge base, and project management skills. A Bachelor's degree is also required.
When setting a salary, the base pay for a knowledge manager in the U.S. is $78,762 per year, according to PayScale. However, this number can vary depending on the company size and the individual's experience level.
By 2028, Zippia predicts this career to produce 46,800 job opportunities across the U.S.
How to Become a Knowledge Manager
No one career path will guarantee you a job as a knowledge manager. Often, people in this role have experience as technical writers, project managers, or program managers.
Experience in human resources may also be helpful. You may be tasked with organizing training material or knowledge related to HR processes.
Customer support and community management professionals can also successfully become knowledge managers. Connecting customers with information is already one part of knowledge management.
Let's take a look at how Ciaira Castorena, a knowledge manager at HubSpot, got to where she is now.
Ciaira started her career as a technical support associate. Then, she moved into community management at companies like Jive Software and Intuit. With her experience managing community platforms, she can navigate knowledge bases as a knowledge manager.
When it comes to education, candidates will likely need a bachelor's degree to score a gig as a knowledge manager. According to Zippia, 62.5% of knowledge managers have a bachelor's degree. Meanwhile, 21.7% of knowledge managers have master's degrees.
Navigating Knowledge Bases
If you're looking to pivot into a knowledge manager role, there are many paths you can take. However, familiarizing yourself with knowledge management and knowledge bases will give you a competitive edge.
You can start by improving your organization's communication and organizing internal documents. Use our knowledge base article template to get started.