Knowledge is power, so the old saying goes. But knowledge is only powerful if it’s shared. The Great Resignation is impacting companies worldwide. So, can you afford to have crucial company know-how walk out the door? A knowledge-sharing culture helps address this problem and unlocks the true potential of your workforce. In this post, we give you the lowdown on shared knowledge. Among the topics we dive into are the following:
- What is shared knowledge?
- Types of organizational knowledge
- Benefits of sharing company know-how
- Ways to encourage the exchange of internal expertise
Ready to get started? Let’s begin with a definition of shared knowledge and why it matters.
What Is Shared Knowledge?
It’s the exchange of information, ideas, and insights between co-workers. It goes beyond communicating data and statistics. Instead, knowledge sharing taps into the hands-on experience of workers who have applied that information in their daily jobs.
Think of it like baking a cake. You may have a list of all the ingredients – that’s the raw data. But shared knowledge is what tells you the process involved in creating the perfect Black Forest gateau.
What Types Of Knowledge Do You Find In Organizations?
There are two main types of knowledge:
This kind of fact-based information is found in documents, policies, and procedures. Examples you may have in your business are SOPs, product manuals, and explainer videos.
This category is all about on-the-job experience. It encompasses the insights and understanding that can only come from doing. This category is harder to capture and transmit. Sales is an excellent example of tacit knowledge. Clinching that killer deal is an art that’s hard to put into words. However, your top-performing salespeople will have a ton of hands-on tacit knowledge to share.
What Are The Benefits Of Sharing Knowledge?
A knowledge-sharing culture reduces the potential for repeated mistakes. When it comes to getting things done, workers can skip the trial-and-error phase and jump straight into implementation. Uncovering better ways of doing things is just one of the fantastic benefits. Here’s a run through some of the others.
Support Productivity and Agility
Shared knowledge helps you overcome roadblocks and hurdles more easily. Not only do you learn from the mistakes of others, but you also get to find out about what works. Less time spent reinventing the wheel means more time spent on productivity. It also increases your agility and adaptability. You can quickly respond to changing circumstances through problem-solving, innovation, and creativity.
Keep Hold Of Your Internal Know-how
Around 4.3 million US workers quit their jobs in January alone. Churn is inevitable in every company. But it doesn’t have to mean you lose all that expertise and know-how. A knowledge-sharing culture ensures that critical internal capability stays where it belongs – within the company to be accessed by others.
Improve The Customer Experience
Shared knowledge helps your people do a better job, period. And even more so for customer-facing workers. Imagine a call center employee who’s engaging with a customer. The customer raises a query, but the staff member doesn’t know the answer. An IM on team chat quickly resolves the issue. The result is one happy customer who’s super impressed by the speedy and knowledgeable service.
Connect Remote Workers With Company Knowledge
More of us are working from home or in hybrid setups than ever before. Remote workers can feel like they are out of the loop. However, often they can bring fresh perspectives and new insights that their colleagues can benefit from. Sharing knowledge in hybrid workplaces builds stronger connections and a sense of community for all.
Develop Strong Corporate Culture
Employees love to learn. Communicating and tapping into shared knowledge are powerful feel-good motivators. Your people feel valued and have a voice, building a positive company culture. And if shared expertise makes your job easier or helps you improve, then even better.
Retain And Develop Staff
According to one study, 94 percent of participants said they would stay longer with their employer if offered learning opportunities. In the context of the Great Resignation, providing learning opportunities and developing workers through shared knowledge makes a difference.
8 Ways To Promote Shared Knowledge In The Workplace
Unlock Your Workforce’s Potential With Shared Knowledge? Creating a knowledge-sharing culture can feel like a mammoth task, especially when your to-do list is already way too long. Help is at hand. Here we share some easy-to-implement tips to get you started.
1. Overhaul Your Onboarding Process
Onboarding is perhaps the most vital function of knowledge sharing. New hires need all that collective knowledge to be effective in their role from day one. And there’s a lot for recruits to get their heads around. Check out the Best Practice Guide To Employee Onboarding to ensure your onboarding process is up to scratch.
And don’t neglect to encourage the new employee to share their expertise with others. After all, their bright ideas and fresh perspective were probably crucial to your decision to hire.
2. Create Spaces For Knowledge Sharing
Some traditional office setups unintentionally act as barriers when it comes to shared knowledge. Closed office doors, separate cubicles, and workstations make spontaneous knowledge sharing tricky. Likewise, large, open-plan offices can hinder effective collaboration.
Review your office setup to ensure you are not hindering the flow of information. Consider introducing quiet areas and social spaces where staff can get together, collaborate and share expertise.
Furthermore, much shared knowledge takes place around the water cooler or coffee station. So, ensure workers have lots of opportunities for informal conversations to share their knowledge.
And don’t neglect your remote workers. Get creative with a virtual set of options so these employees can connect with co-workers. Intranet blogs, webinars, and # channels on business IM work just as well.
3. Make Sharing Knowledge Standard Practice
Meetings are a reality in every workplace. Overhauling your meeting structure is a straightforward way to promote shared knowledge.
Start by hosting weekly learning round-ups with your team. Encourage staff to share an insight or learning gained that week. Maybe they have come across a helpful resource or tool that would benefit others. Perhaps they gained some insights from an industry workshop. This is an opportunity for the whole team to exchange their expertise.
Furthermore, ensure project teams hold review meetings at the end of every project. Get them to talk about wins, losses, progress, and setbacks. And then ask the team to share those insights so the whole department benefits.
Normalizing shared knowledge in this way sends a powerful message about its importance. And it also ensures it becomes a habit.
4. Encourage Experts To Share Their Knowledge
Your business already has a host of internal experts with plenty of knowledge to share. Often all that’s missing is an organizational platform to do so.
Let’s say the New York office has had fantastic success with an outreach marketing campaign. A lunch and learn is a social way to share the team’s tacit knowledge. And why not live stream the event? That way, remote workers and other office locations can also tap into all that expertise.
Your people will like to learn in different ways, so get creative and offer lots of options for sharing expert knowledge. Podcasts, vlogs, webinars, slide decks, and blogs are fantastic options. And they are also accessible to off-site workers.
5. Build A Knowledge Hub
There’s a host of tech solutions out there to support knowledge sharing, from knowledge management systems to intranets.
Whatever option you go for, a central knowledge hub is vital. A searchable library of procedures, data, and information takes care of explicit shared knowledge. Staff have at their fingertips the collective expertise of the whole organization.
Other options to consider for sharing tacit knowledge in your central hub include the following:
- Employee profiles – highlight internal expertise and make it easier to connect with internal experts
- Team chat – set up team or departmental channels for in-the-moment knowledge sharing and trending # channels to share insights on work-related topics
- Capture and document knowledge with automated forms
- Assess understanding with online checklists and quizzes
6. Develop Mentoring Arrangements
Over 84 percent of Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programs. And with a good reason, as mentoring programs are perfect vehicles for sharing knowledge. Senior managers can mentor more junior staff. And peer-to-peer options are great for connecting staff who might not otherwise work together. Flash mentorship is another short-term possibility that focuses on specific skills or projects.
And the good news is mentorship doesn’t just support shared knowledge. It’s also a valuable tool for employee development and succession planning.
7. Celebrate Knowledge Sharing
Sometimes employees need an incentive to get involved. Everyone loves being recognized, so why not shout out the worker whose shared knowledge has benefited the company. It could be a bright idea resulting in productivity gains or cost savings. A company-branded mug or barista coffee on the house are also tangible ways to reward knowledge sharing.
In addition, you can make knowledge sharing a criterion in your performance reviews. If staff know they are being measured on their shared knowledge, they are more likely to prioritize it.
And for an added incentive, many companies make knowledge shared a pathway to promotion. However, before doing so, you should make it clear what your expectations are around knowledge sharing.
8. Make Knowledge Sharing Easy
Not everyone feels comfortable leading a webinar or writing a blog post. Offer a wide range of knowledge-sharing options so that workers can find one that suits them.
You may also want to get HR involved in holding informational interviews or even videoing demonstrations. The aim here is to remove potential barriers to sharing knowledge and make it as easy as possible for employees.
Shared knowledge is the exchange of explicit and tacit knowledge within a business. It ensures workers can access the collective wisdom of the whole organization. It helps break down departmental silos. And it also addresses knowledge hoarders who hang on to information that would benefit others, whether intentionally or intentionally.
Knowledge sharing brings a wealth of business benefits, such as:
- Increased workplace fellowship and social interaction, especially important for remote workers
- Enhanced creative problem-solving and more agile working
- Improved productivity and better customer service
- Retention of company knowledge so that it’s not lost when a staffer leaves the organization
- Assists with employee retention and professional development
Developing a knowledge-sharing culture isn’t as hard as you might think. The eight practical and easily introduced solutions we identify will kickstart shared knowledge in your business. Before you know it, sharing knowledge will be second nature to your workforce. And you will have unlocked the true potential of your people.
MyHub is a leading provider of cloud intranet solutions. Our simple to setup intranets are used by businesses worldwide to support knowledge sharing and knowledge management. Find out why in a free demo or 14-day trial.