The Power of endorsement

Knowledge is arguably the most important production factor of any organization. Therefore, making knowledge assessments is vital for short and long-term management decisions. Most organizations and supporting tools use different forms of self-assessment to do this. Check out this post on the three most prominent biases to self-assessment.

Social endorsements by colleagues can be a great addition to self-assessments. However, social endorsements can also introduce new biases. Therefore, you should do at least these three things:

  • Positive
  • No differentiation
  • Anonymous
    Only allow for positive endorsements: “This colleague does know a lot about this topic.” Never promote negative endorsements. With only positive endorsements, the worst thing that can happen is that you get no endorsements.
    No differentiation between different endorsers; no emphasis on managers, domain experts, senior employees or anyone. If you want to emphasize their efforts, motivate them to use the endorsement capability to promote other experts. Don’t give them a bigger voice in the endorsements.
    Anonymous: An endorsement triggers the psychological return reflex. If someone endorses you, you like to return the favour. It’s very social and very human to do so. LinkedIN endorsements are driven by this mutual endorsing. From a knowledge management perspective, you don´t want to promote this. It is much more valuable to endorse a potential expert anonymously because that expert will then endorse other experts solely based on their knowledge and not on socially desirable behaviour.

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