The previous blog looked at why employees hoard knowledge, and described the benefits of sharing. In this second part we suggest tips and tricks organizations can use to encourage knowledge sharing
Knowledge sharing is critical to a company’s success. It makes onboarding easier and gives every team member the context they need to excel at their job. Plus, knowledge sharing helps your teammates stay connected. The more knowledge you share, the more you shape and define your company culture.
When employees freely share knowledge and information with each other, experts agree that it builds competence and rapport, encourages collaboration and teamwork, and improves outcomes for the entire organization.
So how do we encourage individuals and teams to share the knowledge that enables success:
Use knowledge management technology - Using the right tools like KnowledgeIQ can be a way of embedding knowledge sharing. Pooling knowledge into an easy and efficient platform that sorts the important from the outdated and learns from all the interactions you have with your customers is vital.
Sometimes, knowledge hoarding results when staff are worried about revealing sensitive information such as trade secrets or details that should be restricted to a specific team or client account. Technology can help by creating secure systems, permissions structures, and review procedures that allow people to store and share knowledge confidently
Remember technology alone isn’t enough to create a knowledge-sharing culture, it does though give workers a handy way to collaborate, but there have to be other efforts in place.
Create a knowledge sharing culture - We all have knowledge compiled from years of experience, from interactions with customers, from every conversation with every person. Keeping that knowledge locked away doesn’t help anyone – least of all your customers. A few tips below:
Train people - To create an effective knowledge-sharing environment, employees need training on the dos and don'ts of knowledge sharing. Provide training on how to create engaging content for the knowledge base as well as on the rules and regulations specific to your organization. It is also important to train employees on how to use the tools your company provides for knowledge sharing to create and consume content without any hassle.
Find training that will help your team collaborate. In a more general way, professional development gives employees the chance to build skills and boost confidence. This will make them more receptive to sharing.
If people hoard knowledge because they want to protect their careers, show them the opposite is true. Tie KM to performance expectations and career progression to show that sharing knowledge is the way to get ahead
Time flexibility. Much of the way that knowledge sharing naturally takes place is just through office chatter. You might find out about a different department’s new initiatives while you’re at the watercooler or checking in with your friend on the other side of the office. When managers expect people to constantly be “working” they might be preventing knowledge sharing from taking place. Give employees signals that it’s okay to step away from their desks, to talk to their colleagues, or to not always be working on a concrete task.
Set aside time to share information. If you want the experienced member of staff to mentor the newbie, they need time to do this. If it’s a large amount of information, the person may need help with existing work so they can find time to share.
Revisit your onboarding process. It’s extremely important to set the tone from the beginning with your new hires. Take a look at your onboarding process; where can you include more opportunities for knowledge sharing other than in manuals, guides and documents? For example, inject new elements into your onboarding process, such as:
Create clear guidelines. No one on your team should have to guess what’s worth sharing. There needs to be clear instructions and context, otherwise, you risk inactivity.
Inactivity creates siloed thinking within your team and robs your co-workers of potentially valuable information. Every team should have clear guidelines on what goes into a knowledge base and what doesn’t. Communicate clear guidelines for what is—and isn’t—OK to share.
Sharing knowledge empowers everyone, gives everybody opportunities, and improves experience at every level. There’s nothing more frustrating than not being in control because of a lack of access to the knowledge you need. Equally there’s nothing more irritating for customers than poor service attributed to lack of knowledge
Want to find out more on how KnowledgeIQ can help you bring together and retain your organizations knowledge. Request a discussion with of our experienced team members today or download or brochure for more information.
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