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ILO knowledge strategy

"The Governing Body endorsed the results-based, knowledge-sharing strategy presented in document GB.300/PFA/9/2, (pdf 101 KB) account having been taken of the views expressed by the members of the Committee during the discussion of that item of its agenda." ( ILO: Minutes of the 300th Session of the Governing Body of the International Labour Office, Governing Body, 300th Session, Geneva, Nov. 2007, GB300/PV, (pdf 799 KB)).

Picture of Knowledge Sharing meetings in the ILO Picture of Knowledge Sharing meetings in the ILO Picture of Knowledge Sharing meetings in the ILO Picture of Knowledge Sharing meetings in the ILO



Why is knowledge sharing important for the ILO?

Some current ILO knowledge-sharing initiatives and good practices

- Factors driving knowledge sharing
- Toolkit for Mainstreaming Employment and Decent Work
- ILO Libraries
- Communications and Files Section (DOSCOM)
- International Training Centre in Turin
- International Institute for Labour Studies
- Baseline study on knowledge sharing
- Knowledge sharing on a daily basis


- The creation of an organization-wide approach is critical to embed knowledge sharing
- All knowledge-sharing methods are contextual
- The potential for knowledge sharing across technical cooperation projects is great
- Knowledge sharing must be linked to other strategies
- Managing expectations is important
- IT is important but should not drive the strategy

Links to other ILO strategies

- Human resource strategy
- Research strategy
- Information technology
- The evaluation strategy

Results-based framework

- Outcomes, targets and indicators


1. The 2008-09 programme and budget [1] committed the Office to submit to the 300th Session of the Governing Body a results-based knowledge strategy that would integrate information technology and human resources considerations. Furthermore, the report on "Strengthening the ILO's capacity" presented to the 96th Session of the International Labour Conference identified the question of knowledge sharing as one of six central objectives to be successful in the capacity-building agenda of the ILO [2]. This was reinforced in the conclusions which stated that "the ILO must improve its knowledge, skills base, data gathering and processing, as well as analytical capacities in all areas, both at headquarters and in the regions" [3]. It should also be noted that the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) is currently undertaking a study of "Knowledge management in the United Nations system" with a view to recommending the formulation of common definitions, terminology and general standards and guidelines on knowledge management [4].

2. A comprehensive knowledge management strategy has many dimensions and encompasses the full spectrum of generating, collecting, capturing, storing, codifying, transferring and communicating knowledge. This paper is focused on knowledge sharing, i.e. the transfer and communication of knowledge and creating a framework to institutionalize this in the ILO. Knowledge is of course more than information. It has been described as being about know-how and know-why [5]. Knowledge sharing is about connecting people with the knowledge they need - rather than collecting and compiling documents.

3. This strategy builds on lessons learned from experience to date, reinforces a number of important initiatives already under way, creates explicit links to related strategies and proposes the introduction of a limited number of new knowledge-sharing tools and practices during 2008-09. This strategy is intended to lay the foundation for a comprehensive knowledge management strategy to be developed over the medium term in the context of the next Strategic Policy Framework.

4. The overall goal of this knowledge sharing strategy is to enhance the quality of ILO work, with emphasis on innovation, results and operational effectiveness. It recognizes the importance of external as well as internal knowledge sharing and the key role of ILO constituents both as sources and as consumers of knowledge. This strategy firmly situates knowledge sharing in the results-based framework of the ILO and links it to the human resources, research, IT and evaluation strategies.

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Why is knowledge sharing important for the ILO?

5. Sharing knowledge is of strategic importance to any knowledge-based organization. Like many other such organizations, the ILO is involved in data collection, research, gathering, storing, codifying and dissemination of knowledge. While the Office creates, stores and disseminates a lot of knowledge, the quality is varied, it is dispersed across a wide variety of publications and formats and is not effectively supported by a coherent dissemination strategy.

6. Most ILO staff already practice some form of knowledge sharing in their day-to-day work. The Strategic Policy Framework (2006-09) underlined the need to institutionalize and operationalize knowledge sharing in a way that explicitly integrates it into regular policies and procedures and into the day-to-day realities of ILO work [6]. Working together with ILO constituents, the Office needs to capture the vast wealth of knowledge that exists within the Organization on the world of work to ensure that valuable lessons are learned, shared and built on, and to avoid time and resources spent on "reinventing the wheel".

7. The benefits of knowledge sharing to organizations have been well researched and documented, particularly over the last 20 years [7]. The main benefits can be summarized as follows: it helps to reveal tacit knowledge or hidden resources and to identify knowledge gaps; it provides a forum for brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, sharing experiences and good practices, and exchanging knowledge across different subject areas.
Of course, knowledge takes many different forms and different strategies are needed to ensure that the necessary pathways are there to provide easy and timely access to the knowledge that is needed. In the context of the ILO, encouraging more dialogue amongst specialists in different branches of knowledge would enrich research, and enable a more holistic approach to policy and technical advice. For one ILO technical cooperation project, the benefits were summarized as follows [8]:
- improved quality of work and operational relevance;
- avoiding duplication of work;
- speeding up work processes;
- dissemination of knowledge;
- fostering good relationships with colleagues and partners through recognition;
- communicating relevant information at the start of a project allowing it to move
forward with less ongoing input;
- highlighting problems earlier;
- increasing the likelihood that others will volunteer beneficial information;
- allowing tasks to be shared or delegated; and
- creating a positive atmosphere and stronger team spirit.

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Some current ILO knowledge-sharing initiatives and good practices

8. Several factors are driving knowledge sharing in the ILO. These include the development of Decent Work Country Programmes (DWCPs) and the use of the associated quality assurance framework (QAF); results-based management; the Strategic Management (SM) application in IRIS; mainstreamed strategies; InFocus Initiatives and joint outcomes; and an increasingly programmatic and thematic approach to technical cooperation. All of these developments are contributing towards creating an environment of open exchange and sharing of knowledge.

9. A major knowledge-sharing tool has been developed by the ILO at the request of the United Nations Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB): the "Toolkit for Mainstreaming Employment and Decent Work". This toolkit was developed by the ILO in collaboration with the United Nations system in response to the COSOC 2006 Ministerial Declaration which called on all agencies "to collaborate actively in the development of the toolkit for promoting decent work". It was adopted by the CEB in April 2007 and now is a powerful tool for sharing knowledge within the United Nations system, but with interesting prospects to develop further with tailor-made versions to address sectors, countries, themes, specific audiences, etc., spreading to the whole development community.

10. The Toolkit for Mainstreaming Employment and Decent Work consists of a checklist and a set of tools to be identified and posted by the whole system (in its first stage, all CEB member organizations have agreed to undertake this exercise and report to the CEB). The checklist is undertaken by the agencies as a means of having a baseline to measure progress in 2010 and 2015, linking with time-bound action plans to achieve better outcomes in terms of employment and decent work in their own mandates and action at the global, regional and country levels. This is helped by a process of identification and posting of tools connected with decent work aspects, to be carried out by the various agencies. This will be a major knowledge-sharing exercise within the system, with clear implications in terms of achieving policy coherence at all levels. It has, as its main objective, the creation of communities of practices in terms of themes within the broad Decent Work Agenda, fostering mutual capacity and learning. The ILO will be providing technical assistance in this process but also receiving technical inputs from other agencies with which joint efforts are to be identified and helped.

11. The posting of tools by the United Nations system will be progressively extended to other agencies from the development community: donor agencies, development banks, regional and national institutions, etc. The tools are classified in three main boxes: how-to tools (manuals, guidelines, training materials), knowledge-based tools (policy briefs, research, evaluation, knowledge networks, data) and good practices (with regional and national coverage). The tools, along with the checklist will be posted in an interactive platform that will be easily accessible for all agencies, with the possibility of interaction by means of "blogs" or "e-forum" clustered around themes. This interactive platform will serve as a "peer review" exercise to tools and other materials posted in the web site, thus enriching its value.

12. This effort will undoubtedly affect internal knowledge sharing in the ILO, both in headquarters and in the field, since it will give the opportunity to interact more efficiently with other agencies and to disseminate appropriate tools beyond the ILO. The organization-wide approach is crucial to embed knowledge sharing in the ILO so that this can help in extending this knowledge to other external partners.

13. The ILO Library is a key institutional resource and a key knowledge broker for the ILO - connecting people, constituents and the wider public to knowledge on the world of work. It contributes to knowledge sharing by identifying, collecting, organizing and disseminating ILO and non-ILO knowledge, by guiding users of ILO knowledge to ILO expertise, by preserving and providing subject access to the ILO's published institutional memory, and by leading an ILO Global Information Network which seeks to improve the transfer of ILO knowledge across the regions. Capturing tacit knowledge is one of the challenges of knowledge sharing. To help address this, the ILO Library has been designated as the focal point for organizing knowledge-sharing forums for staff at headquarters.

14. Having access to existing knowledge and being able to identify knowledge gaps is central to effective knowledge sharing and to strengthening the ILO's research and technical capacity. Keeping pace with the dynamic nature of knowledge, ILO libraries continuallydevelop a knowledge base which ILO constituents, the public at large and ILO staff can draw on. ILO libraries disseminate knowledge on the world of work compiled and made available by and through the ILO. Through its information services, the ILO's online knowledge base, Labordoc, the web-based information resources produced by the ILO Library, and the ILO Library's digitization programme, which provides online access to a large and growing number of ILO publications, ILO libraries connect users throughout the world to ILO knowledge.

15. The role of the Communications and Files Section (DOSCOM) is, first and foremost, to ensure that the Office's official files are correctly stored and to preserve documents (in paper, electronic, photographic or film format) in the medium and long term. This memory has been established and expanded as a result of ILO staff members' sound understanding and observance of the rules for managing and filing correspondence, internal and external reports, and other documents received or issued by the Office. In order to improve knowledge sharing, the Archives Committee and DOSCOM have focused their work on developing the electronic document management system (EDMS) and on training staff in managing documents and official files. Officials and departments should eventually have remote access to a central repository containing all active files and those that may be helpful to them in their work. This policy also implies an effort to standardize filing systems in the field offices, which should allow greater interoperability between headquarters and the field.

16. The role of the International Training Centre in Turin (the Centre) in transferring
knowledge through training is also central to an ILO knowledge-sharing strategy. The Centre has developed a learner-centred methodology that serves as a foundation for its activities. Participants are increasingly involved in sharing as well as creating knowledge, while the Centre continues to transfer knowledge from the ILO and beyond. In line with developments in information technology, e-learning is now integrated into the work of the Centre and is supported by multiple-source information databases. Virtual spaces are made available where participants and experts share practices and tools. The Centre has created a number of thematic communities of practice involving participants and experts [9]. As the Centre's specialized focus is a combination of technical and pedagogical competencies, participation in professional international networks ensures that it keeps abreast of both content and process-related developments [10]. The Centre is actively participating in knowledge-sharing platforms within the UN system.

17. The role of the International Institute for Labour Studies (IILS) is particularly important in building relationships with external research communities. It is essential for the ILO to be able to tap the knowledge on its key issues being developed in academic institutions and networks around the world. The IILS builds platforms for dialogue and exchanges, for instance through research conferences, public lectures and promotion of links with international associations and national centres of learning. It also helps to support the development of external networks undertaking research in the areas of concern to the ILO. The IILS also helps to expand the knowledge base on key ILO issues through its research programme, and supports debate and discussion on these issues in internal and external workshops. A new project on the history of the ILO will provide a particularly important platform.

18. A baseline study on knowledge sharing in the ILO was launched in July 2007. This involved an online questionnaire to be filled out by staff. The objective of this study was to establish what the ILO did well and identify the gaps and weaknesses in order to better focus resources and efforts. It also identified those departments that have strengths and how that knowledge can be better shared with the rest of the organization. All the data collected is being disaggregated by sector, department or work unit and the results will be available before the end of 2007. This survey tool will be used in the future to measure progress. The survey measured the following eight dimensions of knowledge sharing:
creating a supportive culture;
- gathering internal experience;
- accessing external learning;
- communication systems;
- mechanisms for drawing conclusions;
- developing an organizational memory;
- integrating learning into strategy and policy; and
- applying the learning.

19. In addition to the dedicated knowledge functions and initiatives described above, extensive knowledge sharing takes place on a day-to-day basis with constituents, with the wider public and throughout the Office through sectoral and regional publications, the ILO public web site and various networks and communities of practice [11]. Examples of such initiatives include the ILOLEX and NATLEX databases and the integrated IPEC web site (Standards and Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Sector); the Job Creation and Enterprise Development Resource Platform (Employment Sector); CIARIS and Community Zero (Social Protection Sector); the Global Union Research Network (GURN) and the Better Work Programme (Social Dialogue Sector); the Global Gender Network (GENDER); the UN Reform Knowledge Sharing Platform (PARDEV) and the Fund Control Officers Network (Management and Administration Sector). In the regions, examples include the knowledge-sharing initiative between the Subregional Offices of San JosÚ and Port-of- Spain, the Asia Decent Work Knowledge Network, the Africa Regional Employment Forum, the Labour Law and Labour Relations Network for South Eastern Europe, and global gender and employment knowledge-sharing projects in the Arab States. Knowledge sharing events on HIV/AIDS workplace issues involving the Regional Office for the Arab States, the Regional Office for Africa and the Subregional Office for South Asia are a good example of inter-regional knowledge sharing initiatives. Further details on these and other ILO knowledge sharing initiatives can be found on the ILO web site [12].

20. It is clear from the above paragraphs that a wide range of valuable knowledge-sharing initiatives and practices take place across the ILO, ranging from specific knowledgesharing components built into technical cooperation projects, to formal and informal knowledge networks and communities of practice operating at headquarters and in the regions as well as web-based initiatives, knowledge-sharing practices and tools developed with constituents, UN partners, interested parties and the wider public. However, the development and implementation of many of these knowledge-sharing initiatives, practices and tools lack coordination and usually do not reach beyond relatively limited audiences. In addition, opportunities for learning are often missed and some initiatives fade away as they lack sustainability over the long term. The staff involved in these developments are highly motivated, innovative and enthusiastic but often feel frustrated by a perceived lack of institutional support, the underdevelopment of a learning culture and limited institutional opportunities for widening and deepening knowledge sharing.

21. Therefore, the main challenge for the ILO is to ensure that it works in a more networked and collaborative fashion, both internally and externally, so that the knowledge and practical experiences of constituents and staff are leveraged to the fullest extent possible. Pathways to knowledge are needed as well as changes in work practices so that interested persons and the wider public seek out knowledge and have means to access it before launching activities that either duplicate or fail to reflect existing knowledge.

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22. Based on an evaluation of a number of ILO technical cooperation projects with knowledge-sharing components [13] as well as a review of other knowledge-sharing experiences in the ILO and in a number of UN and other international bodies, the following are the main lessons to be learned.

The creation of an organization-wide approach is critical to embed knowledge sharing
In order for knowledge sharing to be sustainable, it needs to be implemented organization-wide. Stand-alone knowledge-sharing initiatives have limited impact. They need to be deeply rooted over a long period of time in day-to-day work practices in order to have a significant impact.

All knowledge-sharing methods are contextual
Some knowledge-sharing methods work better than others in particular contexts. While many instances of successful knowledge sharing are linked to personal contacts and bringing people together face-to-face, virtual forums and other collaborative IT tools have an increasingly important role to play. The view that "personal contact is the key" [14] may no longer be the case as collaborative IT tools continue to improve, become more accessible and more widely used.

The potential for knowledge sharing across technical cooperation projects is great
Knowledge sharing is especially important for technical cooperation projects. Drawing on experience from other countries and other projects and using existing tools help to ensure viable results. There is a need to develop a method to share main conclusions and recommendations of technical cooperation projects and lessons learned, and also a way to record institutional knowledge from staff that leave when a project comes to an end.

Knowledge sharing must be linked to other strategies
Knowledge sharing should not be developed and implemented in isolation from other strategies. Its success depends on a strong human resources component, a certain minimum level of investment in IT as well as an organizational learning culture that discourages a territorial and compartmentalized approach to knowledge and instead encourages and facilitates sharing of knowledge.

Managing expectations is important
Knowledge sharing does not yield immediate results and its impact is not easy to measure. It is better if it is built over time on an incremental basis learning from experience. For example, an evaluation undertaken in 2003 of the World Bank knowledge-sharing strategy concluded that after six years the World Bank had still failed to embed knowledge sharing as a way of doing business - although it had succeeded in fostering a more open, knowledge-sharing culture [15].

IT is important but should not drive the strategy
IT tools such as email, the Intranet, electronic document and web content management systems provide an environment which can facilitate the sharing of knowledge within and across global organizations. Unfortunately, too often there is a tendency to focus on the technology (the means) rather than on the process (the ends). Technology should be based upon, and serve, the knowledge-sharing strategy, rather than the other way around. Nevertheless, the choice of the right technology is important; it should be affordable, easy to use and maintain, and be available to the largest possible user base.

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Links to other ILO strategies

23. The following paragraphs identify the main links and interactions between this knowledge-sharing strategy and a number of other related strategies within the context of the ILO's results-based framework.

Human resources strategy: Promoting a learning culture (GB.292/PFA/17, pdf 122 KB)

24. A knowledge-sharing strategy must be firmly rooted in the human resources strategy as its success relies on being incorporated into the recruitment and selection process, staff learning and development, the performance management and rewards system, as well as being part of mobility and reassignment. The competency framework of the Office will be revised to include knowledge sharing as a core organizational competency.

25. The increased importance of knowledge sharing as a competency will be better reflected in the various stages of the recruitment and selection process. For example, the requirement for a commitment to knowledge sharing will be stressed in job descriptions and vacancy notices whilst interview selection panel members will explore candidates' understanding of, and commitment to, knowledge sharing. The exercises conducted by the Assessment Centres will also be reviewed to explore candidates' practical experience of knowledge sharing.

26. The Human Resources Development Department (HRD) is reviewing the staff learning and development programmes to highlight the importance of the knowledge-sharing competency. Where appropriate, learning activities will include an element to promote and emphasize the importance of knowledge sharing. In addition, enrolment in the knowledge-sharing and management module in the Management and Leadership Development Programme (MLDP) will be actively encouraged.

27. Performance management is a critical tool for promoting a knowledge-sharing culture. Consideration will be given to how best to include the knowledge-sharing competency within the performance management system. Means are being considered to make managers more accountable for developing staff, facilitating learning time and implementing credit and reward strategies.

28. One of the central aims of the Resourcing, Assessment and Placement Services (RAPS) project is to increase the scope for position management and succession planning which can contribute to capturing both tacit and explicit institutional knowledge. Under the proposed new system, staff members who are being reassigned will receive greater notice of their impending move and this should increase the timely transfer of institutional knowledge. Tools to promote shadowing, exit interviews and handover briefings between incoming and outgoing staff will be developed.

Research strategy: Generating and disseminating knowledge

29. The ILO's action needs to be grounded in sound research. Ultimately, the Organization's effectiveness is determined by its ability to gain and use the knowledge needed for its policy agenda. This involves both assembling and using existing knowledge, and developing new knowledge as and when needed, in order to put these at the disposal of ILO constituents and partners. The Office must also be able to communicate its knowledge to a wider audience through its publications in order to influence thinking and policy.

30. In 2005, the Research and Publications Committee (RPC) was established [16]. It has prepared an overall framework for a research strategy which has both short-term and long-term goals. Its immediate aim is to set a coherent and cost-effective agenda, deliver research results that meet high-quality standards, and enhance the technical capacity of the Organization. In the long-term, this strategy must ensure that the ILO is recognized worldwide as the global centre of knowledge on the world of work in general and on decent work in particular.

31. It is necessary to distinguish issues where the main task is to compile, synthesize and make available existing knowledge from those which call for new research. The former is an essential part of the work of all sectors and regions, and needs to be pursued on a broad front. Both research and action depend on the availability and use of both ILO and non- ILO knowledge, which means knowing where it is located and how to access it, and having a clear understanding of knowledge gaps and research needs. New research, as opposed to better organization and sharing of existing knowledge, will need to be concentrated on a limited number of strategic themes on which there is a knowledge deficit, and a clear demand and need for an ILO contribution. All sectors and regions are expected to identify a limited list of priorities on which research resources are concentrated [17].

32. Better management, sharing and use of ILO knowledge also calls for more effective policies for publication and dissemination of research results. The ILO's new publications policy introduces tighter quality control and a more strategic choice of publications. This includes an upgrading of the International Labour Review and readier access to key research outputs on the ILO web site.

Information technology: Enabling knowledge sharing (GB.300/PFA/ICTS/1, pdf 232 KB)

33. The Information Technology Strategy submitted to the 298th Session (March 2007) of the Governing Body [18] included initiatives that contribute to, and are linked to, knowledge sharing. Building on the success of email and the Internet, new user-friendly collaborative working tools are being introduced. Web-based forums provide a secure environment where informal exchanges of information and knowledge can take place, through a searchable database that is automatically archived to retain the history of these exchanges and the knowledge they contain. A Wiki (a medium which can be edited by anyone with access to it and provides an easy method of linking from one web page to another) allows users to easily create, organize, and edit web pages using a browser. A blog (a web log) is an online journal or newsletter, where information can be instantaneously posted through a browser. Plone, a Content Management System developed by the Open Source Software community, has been recently installed at the ILO and will provide these tools to ILO officials as well as to external partners and colleagues.

34. The Electronic Document Management System (EDMS), which is currently being deployed at the ILO, [19] will provide a critical and valuable technological foundation for knowledge sharing. It will provide a single searchable global repository of official documents, internal papers and working documents, mission reports, emails, and other multimedia content. Current document storage consists of several incompatible and unconnected databases; it is inefficient, time consuming, and leads to the unnecessary duplication of documents and does not facilitate knowledge sharing.

35. The Web Content Management System (WCMS) was deployed in the ILO as the underlying technology for the new ILO public web site that went live in April 2007. The WCMS streamlines and standardizes the creation of web content thus facilitating knowledge sharing by providing a more coherent and unified presentation of the Organization. Furthermore, a new search engine (FAST) was introduced to make it easier for visitors to find the information they need across all ILO published web pages.

36. IRIS has at its core a centralized repository of finance, human resource and project data. IRIS gathers, consolidates and shares information. It is a critical strategic resource - currently underutilized-and should be a key to improving knowledge sharing in the ILO. As IRIS codifies and enforces many ILO policies and procedures and underpins financial rules, it provides a framework for greater collaboration and coordination across the Organization.

37. IRIS provides a standardized set of tools that can be used to transform raw data into useful information. IRIS also has the potential to support more effective communication and decision-making among groups, particularly those separated by time and distance. The Strategic Management application of IRIS enables geographically dispersed staff to communicate and collectively share knowledge during programme and budget development, programme implementation and implementation reporting. IRIS technologies such as automated email notifications, dynamic workflows and event-driven alerts distribute the right content to the right people at the right time. Following the introduction of IRIS, a number of communities of practice were formed spontaneously at headquarters to enable IRIS users to share knowledge and experience. In the context of field roll-out of IRIS, IRIS users at headquarters will play a key role in the transfer of knowledge to field office staff.

The evaluation strategy: Underpinning knowledge sharing (GB.279/PFA/8, pdf 24 KB)

38. The ILO's evaluation function creates opportunities for innovation and knowledge sharing. The evaluation function contributes to the overall ILO knowledge base through its systems and approaches to knowledge sharing at local, national, regional and global levels. The tools and activities it supports provide multiple opportunities for sharing knowledge. This includes disseminating results, applying lessons learned and ensuring prompt follow-up to findings and recommendations. The ILO is expanding its current technical systems and capacities to better disseminate evaluation outcomes internally, to constituents and to national and global partners. This includes the development of a web-based electronic evaluation management system, iTrack, to monitor the evaluation work flow and manage each year several hundred new documents - new evaluation reports, terms of reference and reporting on follow-up to recommendations and lessons learned. This application has an easy-to-use web-based user interface. It is compatible with, and can exchange information with, IRIS. The system is extendable to all regions for internal input and external access.

39. The evaluation function has established an operational network where designated persons in each region and sector ensure timely and comprehensive inclusion of evaluation information in the knowledge system. This network helps to coordinate project-level and country-level evaluation products and activities. It provides a means of sharing good practices and lessons learned, controlling quality and raising awareness. These new responsibilities are accompanied with targeted training and support.

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Results-based framework

40. The Programme and Budget for 2008-09 further clarified the results-based framework of the ILO and reinforced the central principle of results-based management which is "that an organization must manage and measure its performance against real-world outcomes to which it intends to contribute. For the ILO, this means that its contribution to making decent work a reality for all is the ultimate goal that justifies its work programme and its budget. RBM requires clarity about what outcomes are sought and who is accountable for achieving those outcomes" [20].

41. The following table sets down a limited number of outcomes and associated indicators and targets for internal and external knowledge sharing for 2008-09. Measuring the impact of knowledge sharing is not easy and poses difficulties for all organizations [21]. The overall objective of the knowledge-sharing strategy as defined in paragraph 4 of this document provides the point of departure for defining measurable outcomes, targets and indicators. The results of the baseline study undertaken in 2007 will be used to further refine these outcomes, targets and indicators.

Outcome 1. Improved staff recognition on progress made on knowledge sharing in the ILO
Target for 2008-09
1.1 Progress made on eight different dimensions of knowledge sharing [ii] as assessed by ILO staff. Baseline to be constructed through staff survey by the end of 2007. Progress is made (assessed through staff survey) on at least three dimensions out of
eight by the end of 2009.

i. This column indicates whether the measure concerned is aimed at improving internal or external knowledge sharing. "I" refers to measures internal to the Office only and "I+E" refers to measures aimed at the Office, constituents and various external groups.
ii. These eight dimensions are as follows: creating a supportive culture; gathering internal experience; accessing external learning; communication systems; mechanisms for drawing conclusions; developing an organizational memory; integrating learning into strategy and policy; applying the learning.

Outcome 2. Knowledge sharing is systematically incorporated into HR functions
Target for 2008-09
2.1 Proportion of ILO managers who have knowledge sharing as one of the competencies to assess staff in the newly developed performance management system. The current performance
management system does not assess staff on knowledge-sharing competency.
All ILO managers have knowledge sharing as one of the competencies to assess their staff in the newly developed performance management system.
2.2 Percentage of staff members with access to tools required to make their profile available on the Intranet.

Absence of consistent tools
available to staff to make their profiles available on the Intranet.

All staff members get access to tools required to make their profiles available on the Intranet according to their areas of expertise (Yellow Pages).
2.3 Measures to preserve institutional memory [iii].

(i) Absence of tools required to conduct retirement and exit interviews.
(ii) No specific database on

(iii) No specific training for
safekeeping of records and

(i) Tools are made available to managers to conduct retirement and exit interviews.
(ii) Creation of a database of retirees through the Yellow Pages mentioned above in Indicator 2.2.
(iii) All newly recruited staff and 30 per cent of the existing General Services staff are provided with web-based training to maintain consistency in record keeping and archiving.



iii. Indicators 4.1 and 6.2 will also serve towards preserving institutional memory.

Outcome 3. Knowledge sharing is mainstreamed in programme and budget
strategies, DWCPs and technical cooperation project documents
Target for 2008-09
3.1 Proportion of P&B strategies that include elements of knowledge sharing.

To be constructed for P&B
proposals for 2010-11.

All P&B strategies for 2010-11 explain the role of knowledge sharing in achieving ILO
3.2 Proportion of DWCP documents that include elements of knowledge sharing.

Not all DWCP documents
incorporate knowledge-sharing elements.

(i) Quality Assurance Framework assesses DWCP documents on whether or not knowledge-sharing elements are taken into account.
(ii) All new DWCP documents take knowledge-sharing elements into account.




3.3 Proportion of the new partnership framework agreements and technical cooperation programmes
that take knowledge sharing
aspects into account.

Very few partnership framework agreements and technical cooperation programmes take knowledge sharing aspects into account.

(i) All new partnership framework agreements require active use of and
contribution to ILO knowledge base.
(ii) More systematic assessment of the knowledge sharing components of all new technical cooperation programmes is put in place.




Outcome 4. Dissemination of ILO research, statistics [iv].and publications is strengthened
Target for 2008-09

4.1 Measures to facilitate and strengthen dissemination of ILO publications.

(i) No single access point to
information on ILO publications (external offices have individual bibliographic databases).

(ii) 10 per cent of all ILO
publications are available
(iii) Few research publications are published in languages other than English.

(i) A single access point to ILO information is created by integrating ILO external bibliographic databases
into the central database (Labordoc).
(ii) At least 25 per cent of all ILO publications are available online.
(iii) Executive summaries of all high profile research publications to be translated into French and Spanish and made freely accessible in electronic and/or print form.








4.2 Number of additional labour market data series that are available in the form of regional estimates

Regional estimates are available for two series.

Regional estimates are made available for at least another two series.


iv. The collection, production and dissemination of statistics are an important part of any knowledge-sharing strategy. An external audit of statistical activities in the ILO is currently under way. The results and recommendations of this audit will be used to develop further indicators on statistics which will be integrated into this framework.

Outcome 5. Improved knowledge sharing with the UN agencies, constituents and other
organizations in general and in particular in the context of UN reform
Target for 2008-09
5.1 Measures to strengthen ILO knowledge sharing through participation in UN reform.

(i) ILO participation in the working groups on UN reform is not mapped out.
(ii) The Intranet web site on UN reform was launched in 2007.

(i) ILO maps out its strategic participation to the various interagency working groups on UN reform and participates in the relevant community of practice/knowledge network.
(ii) The Intranet web site on UN reform adds interactive features and becomes the main source of knowledge sharing on management and coordination issues between headquarters and field offices.






5.2 Office-wide measures to improve knowledge sharing with the UN agencies and other organizations.

(i) The ILO launched a toolkit for mainstreaming employment and decent work in the UN organizations and specialized
agencies in 2007.
(ii) The ILO does not share its Intranet with any organization.

(i) At least 50 per cent of the UN organizations and specialized agencies have conducted their initial self assessments as described in the "Toolkit for mainstreaming employment and decent work" and formulated action plans to promote the goals of full and productive employment and decent work.
(ii) Knowledge sharing system with the UNDP is put in place to allow reciprocal access to Intranet sites and staff contact details.








Outcome 6. Improved IT-enabled environment that facilitates knowledge sharing
Target for 2008-09
6.1 Number of new centrally provided IT collaborative tools required to create discussion forums, networks and communities of practice.

Currently all staff in headquarters and external offices have access to collaborative tools concerning email, Skype, videoconferencing
(available in 65 per cent of external offices), Listserver and Virtual Discussion Board.

(i) At least one additional tool is made available to all staff, including in external offices, to create web-based interactive discussion forums using, for example, wikis and blogs.
(ii) 100 per cent of the external offices have access to videoconferencing
facilities by end of 2008.






6.2 Measures to improve information retrieval, updating, thematic organization of the content and design of the ILO web site.

(i) Only 30 per cent of the
organizational unit web sites
fully comply with the design
standards set by the
Department of Communications.
(ii) Only 2 per cent of the
organizational unit web sites at headquarters use WCMS to update the content.

(i) At least 60 per cent of the existing organizational unit web sites fully comply with consistent ILO web site standards.
(ii) At least 25 per cent of the organizational unit web sites use WCMS at headquarters to update
the content.




6.3 Proportion of documents related to evaluation available from one source.

Lack of easy access to evaluation-related
documents and absence of
a database.

All documents related to evaluation are available and searchable from a web-based


6.4 Proportion of circulars and mission reports available through EDMS and availability of a standard template for mission reports through EDMS.

(i) Circulars are being integrated into the EDMS.
(ii) Absence of a standard
template for mission reports.

(i) All circulars and mission reports are available and fully searchable electronically.
(ii) Create a standard template for all mission reports.




6.5 Measures to roll-out IRIS to external offices.

Full functionality at headquarters and limited functionality in some
external offices.

(i) A pilot external office uses full IRIS functionality.
(ii) A results-based plan exists for the IRIS roll-out to all regions.
(iii) At least one region uses full IRIS functionality.




v. Different levels of access rights to the database will be established depending on whether the user is an ILO official, donor or other type of user.



  1. 1. Programme and Budget for 2008-09 (pdf 1.02 MB). A similar commitment was contained in the RBM road map presented to the 297th (November 2006) Session of the Governing Body (GB.297/PFA/1/1, (pdf 147 KB)).
  2. 2. Strengthening the ILO's capacity to assist its Members' efforts to reach its objectives in the context of globalization, Report V, 96th Session of the International Labour Conference (2007) (pdf 495 KB).
  3. 3. Report of the Committee on Strengthening the ILO's Capacity, 96th Session of the International Labour Conference (2007).
  4. 4. Draft report on "Knowledge management in the United Nations system" (JIU/REP/2007/6, (pdf 392 KB)). In 2004, the JIU issued a note on Knowledge Management at the International Labour Organization (JIU/note/2004/1, (pdf 285 KB)).
  5. 5. David Gurteen: Creating a knowledge sharing culture,
  6. 6. "To maintain its status as a leading knowledge institution in the world of work and influence global and national policy debates, the ILO must invest in strategies on knowledge management and knowledge sharing...The experience and knowledge gained by the ILO are organizational assets which should be safeguarded and used to inform future activities and service to constituents. An integrated, systematic approach to managing the wealth of knowledge collected by the ILO, in addition to managing the wide range of ILO products, would strengthen the ILO's capacity by improving the quality and operational relevance of ILO services, avoiding duplication of effort, speeding up its processes and facilitating knowledge dissemination...Knowledge sharing would bring the field and headquarters closer together and ensure that the ILO's services and products are grounded in local realities and better customized. It would also promote better partnerships within the ILO and, through knowledge networks, outside the ILO." Strategic Policy Framework for 2006-09 and related guidance from the Governing Body (291st Session, November 2004).
  7. 7. Some of the best known reference texts include: Nonaka, I. and Takeuchi, H. 1995. The knowledge-creating company: How Japanese companies create the dynamics of innovation, New York, Oxford University Press; Prusak, L. and Davenport, T. 1998. Working knowledge: How organizations manage what they know, Boston, Harvard Business Review Press; Senge, P.M. 1990. The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization, New York, Doubleday/Currency; Sveiby, K.E. 1997. The new organizational wealth: Managing and measuring intangible assets, San Francisco, Berret-Koehler Publishers; Wenger, E. 1998. Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity, Boston, Cambridge University Press.
  8. 8. An introduction to knowledge sharing and ILO projects, ILO, Geneva, 2006.
  9. 9. For example, Solicomm is a collaborative learning network of workers' organizations; Delnet is a virtual community for sustainable local development strategies, the Turin-Bologna-Castilla la Mancha is a practitioners network in industrial relations.
  10. 10. The Centre is currently participating in the following networks: International Industrial Relations Association (IIRA); RÚseau International des Institutions de Formation dans le domaine du Travail (RIIFT); Working Group for International Co-operation in Skills Development (WGICSD); European Distance E-learning Network (EDEN); United Nations Online Network in Public Administration and Finance (UNPAN); Training for Development (joint donors' competence development network) (TRAIN4DEV); International Social Security Association (ISSA); United Nations Learning Community of Practice (UN LC)
  11. 11. Communities of practice (CoPs) are "groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in these areas by interaction on an ongoing basis". (Wenger, E. 2002. Communities of practice. Learning, meaning and identity, Cambridge University Press).
  12. 12.
  13. 13. Marc Steinlin: First steps on the stairway to wisdom: Evaluating the integrated employment creation knowledge-sharing projects, Feb. 2006; Mandy Macdonald: Final evaluation report of the technical coordination and knowledge-sharing project on the theme of "Gender equality and the world of work", Feb. 2006; Luis Zegers: Independent evaluation of the project "Knowledge sharing on decent work and the informal economy in the context of poverty reduction", Feb. 2006.
  14. 14. Knowledge Unplugged: The McKinsey & Company Global Survey on Knowledge Management (2001).
  15. 15. Sharing Knowledge: Innovations and remaining challenges, Operations Evaluation Department Report, World Bank (2003) (pdf 2.14 MB).
  16. 16. The terms of reference of the ILO's Research and Publications Committee are to develop and oversee research strategy for the Office as a whole; develop policies and mechanisms to ensure that quality standards are met in the research of the Office; develop policies to strengthen institutional capacity to deliver technically sound, empirically based policy research; formulate and monitor Office-wide principles for publication policy to support DCOMM's overall management of publications and their dissemination, covering methods to ensure that publications meet technical quality standards, consistency with ILO policies, and correct and consistent use of ILO statistical information (Circular No. 612, Series 1, dated 7 Oct. 2005).
  17. 17. See "Overview of the Global Employment Agenda implementation" (GB.300/ESP/2, (pdf 152 KB)); paper for a good example of this new approach.
  18. 18. Information Technology Strategy, (GB.298/PFA/ICTS/1 (pdf 60 KB)).
  19. 19. Electronic document management system (EDMS) (GB298/PFA/ICTS/3 (pdf 30 KB)).
  20. 20. Preview of the Programme and Budget proposals for 2008-09 and related questions (GB.297/PFA/1/1 (pdf 111 KB)).
  21. 21. Measuring the value of knowledge management, NeLH online KM library:

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