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[Music Playing...] Hi, my name is April and I, along with my colleague Clara will share with you today what Knowledge Management looks like here at the IRS.

The Internal Revenue Service is a learning organization that recognizes our most valuable asset is our workforce.

The people within our organization is where the knowledge and expertise is held that enables us to accomplish our ultimate goal of providing the best possible customer service to the taxpayers.

As part of recognizing our workforce as an intricate part of accomplishing our mission the agency has place great value in developing a robust knowledge management program and we welcome any opportunity to share our KM journey in order to help other organizations achieve their goal of developing a knowledge management program.

The journey began with recognizing that we, as many federal agencies, are at great risk of losing expert knowledge due to the high percentage of our workforce that is eligible for retirement.

From this we identified a need to focus on improving the speed of access to information, improving decision-making processes, promoting innovation and cultural change, improving efficiency of our operating units and business processes, and in turn increasing taxpayer satisfaction.

OPM defined Knowledge Management as “a system that ensures continuity of leadership by identifying and addressing potential gaps in effective leadership and implements and maintains programs that capture organizational knowledge and promote learning.” For the government it’s about safeguarding ourselves against losing mission critical skills due to the massive amounts of retirements we have looming.

We’ve heard the horror stories over the last decade about a term coined as the “brain drain” meaning that we will see a huge percentage of our skilled employees eligible for retirement and taking their knowledge out the door with them.

You can see here that in just four years, 3 out of 10 federal employees are eligible to retire.

Although many federal employees continue to stay and remain an asset to the federal agency that they are a part of it is apparent that employees in this phase of their career could potentially leave at any time which is why it is imperative that we have a strategy to capture and share this expertise.

The IRS recognized the organizational challenges which existed within the IRS and created the need for Knowledge Management: First, we were continuously evolving organizational policy and best practices.

This required effective and efficient methods to draft and publish new forms, revise regulations and guidance, train employees, and verify compliance and spot potential fraud.

There was an information overload with difficulty in locating organizational information and resources, In addition, a lack of knowledge to leverage our existing systems and incompatible legacy systems.

Secondly was our retirement risk posed by a large numbers of senior IRS employees.

This bolstered the need for capturing, retaining, maintaining, sharing, and transferring expert knowledge and experience.

There was turnover and planned attrition resulting in knowledge flight and information was not disseminated to workforce in real-time.

Next there were budget cuts combined with increased customer demand.

This highlighted the need for the IRS to prioritize resource allocation among competing objectives.

There was a desire to increase efficiency and lower long-term operating costs.

We had limited time and mechanisms to share insights and solutions and we had new technology and security mandates.

Then we recognized individual business units were practicing a siloed approach to Knowledge Management.

This led to differences in knowledge capture and access; impeding collaboration, best practices, and Servicewide innovation.

Then there were pressures to increase coordination to innovate.

There was a non-standard, decentralized and outdated manual processes.

The enterprise information was stored in these vertical silos.

And there was a need to share solutions to decrease the impact of IT as a competitive advantage among the business units.

Lastly the IRS’s distributed workforce, this created obstacles for standardization of service delivery and outcomes as well as employee engagement within the organization as a whole.

We found that we had an increasingly dispersed workforce and new generations were coming into the agency with new approaches to learning.

In addition, there were different trends in telework and flexible work options.

All of these are truly not unique to the IRS, many federal agencies face these very same challenges.

In 2015 the IRS began its journey to develop a Knowledge Management & Transfer approach.

At that time what we had were individual KM initiatives which lacked an overarching strategic focus.

The stakeholders within these KM initiatives did not have a forum to share their best practices and coordinate their efforts.

Because of this KM initiatives were often duplicated across the service.

Essentially, we were recreating the wheel and working harder instead of smarter.

We recognized that due to the number of expected retirements we were at a greater risk for brain drain and it was essential to put the proper mechanisms in place to capture and share institutional knowledge.

What you see here is a timeline for Servicewide Knowledge Management.

In 2015 we began by conducting a proof of concept, conducted our first APQC (American Productivity & Quality Center) maturity assessment and standing up KMAC which is our Knowledge Management Advisory Council.

In 2016 we held our first ever IRS KM Summit to bring leadership together to share the KM vision and mission and share importance of establishing a KM program, since that time we continue to hold this Summit to ensure consistency so that the business units may share their best practices.

In 2017 we launched the IRS Virtual Library which was the first ever servicewide document repository that is organized by subject area.

In addition, we launched the Self-Help Online Tutorials, which we call SHOTs, which is a form of microlearning.

These are short 3 minute or less task specific tutorial videos.

These efforts earned our very first IRS Award.

In 2018 we continued growing, the Virtual Library reached over 1 million hits and we developed our Community of Practice collaboration site.

In 2019, the IRS’ KM&T program was being recognized as a best practice among governmental agencies.

And in 2020 our team expanded, we were able to bring in individuals that have specialized experience to build out new KM tools and improve our existing tools.

We are currently working on improving our metrics by developing executive dashboards, incorporating smart search capabilities into our tools and conducting case studies for potential robotic processing.

Because of our commitment to develop a robust knowledge management program we are now in a position to enable our workforce to create efficiencies within their business processes.

In turn these efficiencies result in improved service to internal and external stakeholders.

Our structure for knowledge sharing is based on organizing content by subject matter which breaks down that siloed approach.

And we are well on our way to capturing that institutional knowledge that is so critical to retain.

Our mission through Knowledge Management and Transfer solutions and services is to provide centralized, on-demand access to the institutional and expertise employees need to perform their jobs and enhance the taxpayer experience.

Our KMT vision is to position the IRS as a leading knowledge sharing organization that fosters a Servicewide culture of collaboration, learning and innovation to operate more efficiently and better serve taxpayers.

Our future vision is to see KM become engrained in the culture of our IRS workforce throughout every cycle of their career within the agency.

To look at this from a different perspective we wanted to share with you our Servicewide KM Maturity Model for FY18 through FY20.

In order for KM to be successful it has to have a formal methodology and part of this is developing a strategy to move forward as well as reflect on the foundations that have already been built.

You can see here we started off in FY 18 with a goal of building and strengthening our foundation.

During this time, we worked hard to build our executive sponsors and KM Champions.

In FY 19 our goal was to institutionalize KM as a workforce solution.

During this time, we focused on getting buy in from senior and frontline managers and created our KM&T Business Unit Representative Group to serve as our Internal KM consultants within their Business Units.

In FY 20 our goal was to enhance and create an integrated workplace experience.

We partnered with the Office of Online Services within the IRS to create an enhanced user experience of our KM&T tools and solutions.

Now in FY21 we focused on optimizing the servicewide KM experience.

We are working with our business unit stakeholders to determine where KM can be integrated into existing systems.

We are introducing KM to agency new hires as KM is included in our onboarding orientations.

And we are looking to leverage advanced technologies where possible.

Sponsorship is essential to building a successful KM program.

When developing sponsorship, it’s important to be clear on what you are asking, and it really simply comes to three things.

First, we are asking our KM leaders to participate actively and visibly throughout the project.

This includes allocating the necessary resources and funding.

Setting expectations and establish clear objectives for the KM project.

Hold the team accountable for results.

Attending frequent project review meetings and actively reviewing the progress.

Remove any roadblocks and provide timely decisions on project issues.

And it’s important to be accessible to the project team; clear your calendar when necessary to attend these key events.

We ask our KM teams to build a coalition of sponsorship and manage resistance.

This includes building a strong sponsor coalition for the change among key business leaders and stakeholders.

Determining and communicating the priorities between the KM change and other change projects.

Establishing alignment around the overall business direction and the objectives of this change.

This includes resolving conflicting operational objectives with other senior leaders and management.

Ensuring that a consistent message about the change is being communicated by managers and recognize outstanding sponsorship and manage resistance from those managers that are not supporting the change with their employees.

Communicate the risk of not incorporating knowledge management into these work process.

And lastly, it is also vital for leadership and KM teams to communicate directly with employees.

This includes building awareness with employees about why the change is being made.

Share the risks or costs if no change is made, show how this change aligns with the overall direction of the organization and share the goals for this project and personal expectations with employees.

Also, always important to celebrate successes with employees; be present and visible.

And listen to employees and encourage feedback; be willing to answer the tough questions as well as be willing to communicate to employees repeatedly in order to reinforce the message.

These are the objectives that were created as part of our KM program and these goals are truly what drives Knowledge Management adoption across the service.

The first objective is to build awareness, we want to ensure all employees understand the importance and benefits of Knowledge Management as well as their role in utilizing KM tools.

The second objective is to increase usage and contribution to the KMT tools.

We are creating a shift in culture here at the IRS by encouraging routine interactions with KM&T solutions and creating a sense of ownership that inspires employees to contribute updated, pertinent content to our KMT solutions.

The third objective is to expand our network.

We continuously engage leadership and employees at all levels in dialogue about the Servicewide approach and benefits of Knowledge Management.

And the final objective is to continuously evaluate our effectiveness.

We place great value in listening to feedback throughout the adoption plan and have adjusted our processes and tools accordingly to achieve the desired business results.

And as our KM program grows, we will continue to evaluate our effectiveness and adjust as necessary.

And now I will hand this over to my colleague Clara who’s going to share with you a little more of the IRS KM journey.

Hello, my name is Clara and I’m going to discuss how to equip our employees.

There are four key components to Knowledge Management- People, Processes, Technology & Content.

Although, they are all important, the most vital component of Knowledge Management is the people.

Each person plays a crucial role in the success of our Knowledge Management and Transfer program.

So, let’s talk about people and why we are the most important component of Knowledge Management.

Who holds the knowledge?

That would be all of us, we each hold knowledge that is vital to the success of the IRS.

An estimated 80 to 90 percent of all knowledge exists as individuals’ experience, expertise, or insights.

This tacit knowledge is transferred primarily through conversations and immediate feedback based on direct observations of an activity.

Therefore, knowledge transfer techniques focus on connecting people and building social networks.

The Knowledge Management process and its activities are integrated into the numerous staff and organizational processes used in the preparation and conduct of operations.

This integration enables the transfer of knowledge between and among individuals and organizations.

Processes include our policies workflows, and best practices.

Our processes are the way we do our work and share information to support that work.

Knowledge exchange occurs both formally—through established processes and procedures and informally through collaboration and dialogue.

The Knowledge Management process also seeks to ensure that knowledge products and services are relevant, accurate, timely, and usable.

When we discuss technology, we are talking about the tools we use to support our business practices.

These include our databases, software, programs, networks, SharePoint sites, and so forth.

Our future state includes Robotic Process Automation and Intelligent search capabilities.

Content includes all the materials the people have created- job aids, policy, training materials and desk guides.

It’s all the information we need to know to do our day-to-day job tasks.

Key partnership are important, we recognized early on in our journey that we needed the right relationships to adequately support our technology infrastructure.

Our Knowledge Management & Transfer tools are built on SharePoint, which is the shared platform for the IRS Intranet.

As a part of the Human Capital Organization, it was imperative that we partnered with organizations like Information Technology and our Communications and Liaison Division, and Records Management to establish SharePoint governance, and ensure compliance with federal and Treasury regulations and policies.

We also looked to leverage internally and contracted technical talent and resources between the groups.

The Knowledge Management stake in this partnership includes managing and supporting nearly 120 site collections, which are maintained by a cadre of trained Knowledge Management site collection administrators, owners, and contributors from each of our business units.

Through these partnerships, we are creating a culture of collaboration, and are seen as peers with these key stakeholders and not just their customers.

This is so important because we are able to be on the front end of infrastructure conversations that impact our entire enterprise.

So now that we have a seat at the table, we can also be conduits for emerging technologies like smart search and Robotics Process Automation.

In sharing our journey and accomplishments it’s also important that we share our challenges in adopting Knowledge Management because your organization will experience challenges and it’s important to recognize them.

Some of the challenges that we encountered included: A tendency to hoard experience and information, we found there were many siloes within the agency.

Knowledge was being documented but it was not being shared.

It was either saved on personal drives or on Business Unit collaboration sites.

Employees who could benefit from the information did not have permission to access.

There was limited understanding, it has truly been a cultural change within the agency to share information and the first step to that was to educate our workforce on the benefits of Knowledge Management, the ease of access to knowledge and how it could create efficiencies and streamline work processes.

There was SharePoint frustration, although SharePoint is widely used within the agency today, when Knowledge Management was first introduced Servicewide many employees were beginning to learn to use SharePoint for the first time.

We had to ensure that we were providing the best training to our content developers and created our sites with the user in mind.

Managers were hesitant to allot time to staff to contribute to Knowledge Management.

This is a very important area when it comes to sponsorship.

Leadership determines where our most valuable resources, time, and people, are dedicated, so it’s essential for leadership to emphasize the value Knowledge Management can bring to any program area.

There was preference to continue using prior processes as a primary means to obtain information.

Change Management must be a part of the Knowledge Management initiative.

With any Knowledge Management initiative comes change and Change Management is a process to prepare and support individuals to successfully adopt an organizational change.

Individuals must understand the “What’s in it for me” concept.

There was a perception that Knowledge Management content stored may not be recent, our content taxonomy was designed to ensure information placed on the site would be routinely reviewed by a subject matter expert.

Tools and solutions need to have controls to ensure a review process.

We also experienced reluctance to explore Knowledge Management solutions.

We have found the best way to address concern is to ensure there is a strong communication and outreach plan to bring awareness and provide training.

And Knowledge Management viewing was seen as an extra burden, this led us back to emphasizing the benefits of Knowledge Management.

We want to share best practices the IRS continues to use to maintain a successful Knowledge Management program.

Continuing our partnership efforts with stakeholders.

This allows for a collaborative effort that leverages existing working relationships and creates new opportunities to work together.

These endeavors promote the sharing and capturing of knowledge, increases networking and provides just-in-time information, which benefits your organization.

The next best practice is using various communication strategies.

To ensure your employees are engaged, conduct driving adoption sessions to further educate employees about knowledge management and how to efficiently use the tools in performing their jobs.

Promote knowledge management by developing communications to keep employees informed of your latest knowledge management efforts.

Next, we are engaging executive champions.

Develop an annual Knowledge Management Summit, provide program updates, engage with participants regarding driving adoption, as well as explore trends and new technologies relevant to Knowledge Management.

This event serves as an opportunity to keep executives informed about Knowledge Management activities, accomplishments, and future strategic planning.

Now let’s discuss building relationships across the Service.

From the beginning of your program, engage stakeholders to develop the taxonomy that structures your content and continues to engage them through your community of practice.

People are present in everything you do, from the knowledge capture process to spreading awareness about Knowledge Management solutions and critical knowledge.

It is vital to develop guidance.

Develop documents and training materials for Knowledge Management tools for the benefit of end users.

After that comes establishing governance.

Create a Knowledge Management Advisory Council.

This council will serve as a cross-organizational advisory group.

They will provide program oversight and act as communicators and change champions to their respective organizational units.

Each agency has its own criteria to meet the definition of a governance board.

It’s important to explore what those guidelines are and how to align your Knowledge Management initiative.

And lastly leveraging diversity.

Diverse experiences are an asset when it comes to collaboration and innovation.

Show how your team has been able to leverage their networks and previous work to inform how to approach and operationalize Knowledge Management within your organization.

By adopting these best practices your organization will produce favorable results for your Knowledge Management initiative.

There were lessons learned when developing the Knowledge Management Program.

Which were, discovering the elements of success.

If we are to truly reduce knowledge loss, we need people to understand the value of Knowledge Management solutions and incorporate them into daily practice.

Work diligently to migrate technical content while meeting strategic objectives.

Whether stakeholders contribute content or provide feedback their input is important to our success.

Next, engaging stakeholders from the beginning.

Cultivating a well-equipped, diverse, flexible, and engaged workforce.

Enhance succession planning and knowledge transfer processes.

Then establishing foundational guidance and governance.

The goal is to provide employees with the appropriate technology, processes, and governance using the 4 Knowledge Management & Transfer pillars.

First, connect through Knowledge Transfer.

Next, share using Content Management.

Then, learn by providing education and improve Data Management.

Lastly, bringing together a team of diverse backgrounds and experiences is very helpful to the Knowledge Management program.

Throughout this journey we have refined our efforts and recognized that Knowledge Management will never be a one size fits all approach.

As a result, what we have is a variety of approaches to incorporate Knowledge Management into our work process.

Some of these approaches now include establishing a driving adoption team to deliver presentations from a high-level overview of Knowledge Management and Transfer down to a specific tool or solution supported by the Knowledge Management and Transfer Team.

This effort enables us to demonstrate all of the tools and solutions available to our workforce.

Many times, knowledge is not shared because experts do not know how to share the knowledge they possess.

As teams begin to build out their Knowledge Management programs, we assist in creating a roadmap to accelerate their Knowledge Management Program development.

This roadmap helps the team identify the tool or solution that will meet their Knowledge Management need and details the steps needed to build out this tool or solution.

Equipping employees with the ability to use knowledge capture tools, to include job aids, knowledge transfer resources, lessons learned and the Virtual Library by offering online and live training sessions.

Our Self-Help Online Tutorial team works with customers to create videos that can be customized to their work processes.

We also provide consultation in coaching and mentoring resources, making our workforce aware of all the resources available for self and career development.

We also support knowledge sharing through Communities of Practice by providing a centralized location to register and create Communities of Practice.

This allows employees throughout the service to search and participate in areas of their specific interests.

The conclusion is Knowledge Management works.

A workforce within an organization has a need to connect the knowledge dots, understand who knows the information, collaborate and network, build trust and put energy into the project.

We need to incorporate best practices and determine, who knows what, who knows more than their job title and who does what.

Knowledge Management brings this together through logical actions.

Our Knowledge Management program at the IRS was established to bring knowledge together.

Evidence shows that when a company or organization invests in Knowledge Management performance is improved because the workforce has resources readily available, which allows employees to do their jobs effectively and base decisions on best practices.

Thank you for giving the IRS the opportunity to share our Knowledge Management program.

Enjoy the rest of your day.

[Music Playing...]