That is the reason why many organisations create” yellow pages “ applications, which enable employees to find and contact other staff with specific expertise and techniques. Nonetheless, these systems can be fraught with difficulty in their implementation, and frequently end up as out-of-date, glorified intranet telephone directories. This article, drawn from a best-selling knowledge management fieldbook by its author, identifies ten important steps involved in creating and sustaining an effective, employee-owned yellow pages system.

1 Maintain a clean and distinctive vision. Be clear about what you are attempting to achieve and prevent compromise. Everybody will need a piece of the action - don’t lose sight of the overarching aim of your system - making it simple to find people who you don’t already know.
2 Strive for personal ownership and upkeep. Create a procedure whereby only the people concerned can make and update their entries. This will drive a far deeper sense of ownership throughout the populace.
3 Strike a balance between casual and formal content. Invite people to share non-work info about themselves in addition to valuable business information. Consider prompting to this with”fun” questions such as:“what was the first single that you bought?” , “what is your favourite film?” .
4 Support the photos wherever possible. Nothing is more powerful and personal than a picture. It speaks volumes about the individual, raises the interest levels of others and creates personal ownership of their content. If possible encourage individuals to include an informal photograph. The security-pass-rabbit-in-the-headlights shots seldom show people in their own very best light! Better to have a picture which says more about the individual and what motivates them.
5 Make sure your product design is flexible and inclusive. Recognize that different people relate to templates, prompts and structure in various ways. Use focus groups to test opinion.
6 Start with a customer-facing pilot. Critical mass is important, so begin with a bunch of individuals who have a natural desire to be observable to internal clients. This might include encouraging functions, existing networks or communities, or perhaps business areas with fresh direction.
7 Deliver through local fans. Centrally-driven push isn?t always the best way to engage the work force. Tap into local enthusiasts and champions if at all possible? They’ll understand how best to”sell” the concept locally.
8 Use success stories as a marketing tool. Reinforce the viability of this knowledge directory at every opportunity. Publicize any examples or successes widely, and early, to fortify your project.
9 Encourage use, but lead by example instead of edict. Avoid mandating the population and use of the knowledge directory. People might provide much better quality content should they think they are volunteering the data. At the conclusion of the day, you can?t actually conscript understanding - you can only ever volunteer it.
And let?s face it, there’s little point in finding the 1 person with experience or expertise that you require, when you call them on the phone, they are unwilling to speak!
10 Embed into people processes. Look for procedure and intranet”hooks” that may initiate and maintain the use of your information directory (e.g. recruitment or induction of new staff, the launch of new networks, any mention on an intranet site which mentions a individual’s name can become link with their personal page.