This is the reason why a lot of organisations create”yellow pages” applications, which enable employees to find and contact other staff with particular experience and skills. However, these systems may be fraught with difficulty in their implementation, and often end up as out-of-date, glorified intranet telephone directories.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 generating and sustaining an effective, employee-owned yellow pages system.

1 Maintain a clear and distinctive vision. Be cautious about what it is you’re trying to achieve and avoid compromise. Everybody will need a slice of the action - do not lose sight of the overarching aim of your system - which makes it simple to find people who you don’t know.
2 Strive for individual ownership and upkeep. Create a process whereby only the individuals concerned can create and update their entries. This may drive a far deeper feeling of ownership across the populace.
3 Strike a balance between informal and formal content. Encourage people to share non-work info about themselves along with valuable business information. .
4 Support the photographs wherever possible. Nothing is more powerful and private than a picture. It speaks volumes about the person, raises the interest levels of others also creates personal ownership of the content. If possible invite people to incorporate an informal photograph. The security-pass-rabbit-in-the-headlights shots rarely show people in their own best light! Better to have a picture which says more about the individual and what motivates them.
5 Ensure that your product design is flexible and inclusive. Recognize that different folks relate to templates, prompts and construction in various ways.
6 Start with a customer-facing pilot. Critical mass is all important, so begin with a group of individuals who have a natural need to be more observable to internal clients. This might include things like supporting functions, existing communities or networks, or perhaps business areas with fresh direction.
7 Deliver through local enthusiasts. Centrally-driven push isn?t consistently the perfect method to engage the work force. Tap into local enthusiasts and champions if possible? They will know how best to”sell” the idea locally.
8 Utilize 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 undertaking.
9 Encourage usage, but lead by example instead of edict. Avoid mandating the population and use of the information directory. Folks might provide better quality articles if they feel that they are volunteering the data. In the end of the day, you can?t ever conscript knowledge - you can only ever exude it.
And let?s face it, there is very little point in finding the 1 person with experience or expertise that you require, if when you call them on the phone, they are reluctant to speak!
10 Embed into individuals procedures. Search for process and intranet”hooks” that may initiate and maintain the use of your knowledge directory (e.g. recruitment or induction of new staff, the launch of new networks, any reference on an intranet site which mentions a individual’s name can become associate with their personal page.