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HR Insight

Permanent vs. Contract: How should you employ your Knowledge Manager?

Posted on August 11, 2020

Bringing in a knowledge manager can dramatically change the way you collect, store and use information within your organisation. In order to make the right changes you will need to decide whether this will be an ongoing, permanent role or one that is best completed on a contract.

Creating a Permanent Role

Incorporating a permanent knowledge manager into your team will ensure that there is always someone in charge of your information so that nothing gets missed, lost or overlooked. Your knowledge manager can create systems for collecting, storing and sharing information within the organisation. As a permanent member of the team, they will then be able to guide others to ensure the system is used effectively and to update it as necessary. New knowledge can quickly be incorporated into the system and you will have an expert available who can manage large amounts of information and make it available for the rest of your team to use and learn from.

Creating a permanent role for a knowledge manager could be a good idea if the following benefits are important for your organisation:

  • Having a permanent knowledge manager on staff can be a better option for larger organisations with a lot of data to manage and many people who need guidance to make best use of the system.
  • A permanent role can be the best option for organisations that are always creating a lot of new knowledge that will require ongoing management by a specialist, for example in a fast paced industry or a rapidly growing company.
  • A permanent manager will always be there to handle any queries or to adapt the system as your needs change.
  • Hiring a permanent member of staff can be more efficient and cost effective if the alternative would be to draw other people away from their usual responsibilities.
  • A permanent knowledge manager will accumulate experience and understanding of your organisation, which will in time improve their ability to work effectively. If your permanent knowledge manager is a full time member of staff, they will also be completely dedicated to your organisation in the long term.

Using a Contract Worker

Although having a permanent knowledge manager can be beneficial, it isn’t always necessary in every organisation. Sometimes it can be better to bring in an expert on a short term contract to establish or update a system for knowledge management. Once the system is in place, the permanent team members should be able to use it to access and share information. You may need to assign someone to ensure that the system is being used effectively, but this won’t necessarily be a full time job and may not require an expert if you are a smaller organisation dealing with limited amounts of information.

You might want to bring in a contract worker in order to enjoy the following benefits:

  • Hiring a contract worker can enable smaller organisations to work with an expert who they might not be able to afford to hire permanently.
  • Contract workers are ideal if there is a specific knowledge management task that needs to be completed, such as updating your training procedures or creating a new system that can then be managed by another member of staff.
  • Contracting a knowledge manager can be more cost effective if you don’t have enough work for a permanent member of staff, for example in a smaller organisation. It can also be easier to budget for a short term contract as you can plan to spend a fixed amount at a time that suits you.
  • A knowledge manager who has worked with many different organisations on a variety of different projects will bring lots of experience and ideas with them.
  • Having an outside perspective can enable a contract worker to get a clearer, less biased view of your organisation and what needs to change.

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