How to Leverage the Expertise of SMEs

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Subject matter experts (SME) are assets for a business. They have expansive knowledge and experience in specific subject areas. Their expertise is often built over time from hands on experiences.

Here are seven ways to leverage their expertise:

  1. Problem solving. With her in-depth experience and knowledge, a SME can easily identify the source of a problem and develop a solution in a timely manner.
  2. To ensure that the expertise doesn’t reside with one person only, have the SME share her knowledge through structured training programs.
  3. For some employees, on-the-job coaching is more effective. Assign junior employees to the SME for coaching.
  4. Practice improvement. Delegate the responsibility to explore improvement opportunities to the SME. She is in the best position to highlight issues that require fixing and develop workable improvements.
  5. Sounding board for new ideas. A SME could identify issues and concerns fairly quickly when presented with new ideas. Make her a go-to person for consultation.
  6. Ambassador for change. SMEs generally have followers who respect them for their expertise. A SME can influence and garner support when she is on side for the pending changes. Having a SME as an ambassador could expedite change adoption.
  7. Assessment of new software. A SME can quickly assess whether a new software could deliver the benefits it promises. She can make comparisons and determine usability from a practical viewpoint.

SMEs exist in all functions of a business. Seek to garner their expertise to improve your business. However, avoid overwhelming them which could lead to defection. To retain the talent, it is necessary to continue to challenge them and make the work interesting.

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