How to Encourage Knowledge Sharing in Your Organization
Since the world is transitioning to remote collaboration, effective knowledge-sharing is more critical than ever before. Colleagues, managers, and CEOs should all be able to exchange information with the greatest ease to streamline organizational operations and maintain the best possible services and products. Yet, too many companies lack the tools and behaviors to facilitate such a work environment. With this guide, you will gain a practical understanding of the significance of knowledge sharing for your organization and the best steps for its implementation.
Knowledge Sharing and Its Importance to Your Organization
Almost all organizations welcome new employees with an orientation of sorts. This introductory presentation is typically meant to acquaint the new workers with the organization's mission, vision, and objective. Secondly, it makes them aware of why they were hired and how they will fit into the company’s future. This forms the foundation of knowledge sharing and often comprises only the very beginning of ongoing training.
With this information, the individual is much better equipped to fulfill their role in a way that:
- Enhances individual and collective decision-making.
- Cultivates cultural advancement within your organization.
- Inspires leadership and innovation according to your organization’s objectives.
Unfortunately, as some employees grow within the organization, they may outpace their colleagues in the accumulation of organizational knowledge or become more invested in aligning their work with the company objective. This leaves knowledge gaps, and thus, operational inconsistencies. Filling these gaps requires the encouragement of further knowledge sharing (i.e., beyond orientation and initial training) between co-workers.
According to Queen’s University, School of Business, companies that practice consistent, effective knowledge sharing reap the following advantages:
- Increase in productivity levels by 31%.
- Sales volume will rise by up to 37%.
- Company performance will exceed competitors with low employee engagement by 202%.
- Individual staff motivation grows up to 4.6x.
Using the guidelines below, you can foster the practice of knowledge sharing within your organization and, thus, boost your team’s chances of experiencing these benefits.
How to Inspire Knowledge Sharing
Offer an Incentive. First, you need to recognize that your staff may not immediately see the need to engage in knowledge sharing. Whether they are remote or in a physical office space, employees may believe that knowledge is only gained through experience or formal courses. They might also feel that it’s not their responsibility to step away from their core responsibilities and seek guidance from senior colleagues (or offer such guidance themselves). If this sentiment is present within your organization, the best thing you can do to combat it is offer knowledge sharing incentives.
To incentivize knowledge sharing, you primarily need to show your employees that the practice is not only for the team's benefit but also for themselves. (Let's face it, personal gain is a critical part of professional motivation, even in healthy team settings.)
To identify the types of incentives your staff would find most appealing, get familiar with their personalities and professional goals, as well as the existing culture within your company. While monetary compensation may get some workers excited about training their colleagues, others may be more intrigued by professional perks like paid time off.
Provide the platform and team collaboration tools to facilitate knowledge sharing. Once you have your incentives in place, you must make it as easy as possible for your staff to share information with their co-workers. Too many obstacles inhibiting collaborative work will discourage employee participation, and ultimately, cause them to lose all interest.
Having a high-quality, intuitive knowledge management system such as AllAnswered is crucial to overcoming such risks. AllAnswered is an all-in-one knowledge base software designed for organizations aiming to nurture connections between colleagues and streamline collaborative operations. With this software, your staff can exchange these specific knowledge types:
- Tacit: This is the most challenging type of knowledge to manage due to its subjectivity. It is mainly earned through personal experience, and so can only be distributed when colleagues work together and train one another. Without an efficient knowledge management system, valuable insights, constructive feedback, and unique ideas can easily be lost in a sea of emails and disorganized memos.
Fortunately, AllAnswered offers highly accessible internal Q&A features, similar to the layout and functionality of Quora and Stack Overflow. This allows colleagues to quickly retrieve useful information to inform their work and share their learned experiences with others.
- Explicit: This represents the fundamental organizational information that all employees share, often introduced in orientation and related training programs, as mentioned above. It’s divided into the following:
- Dynamic: Elements of business operations that may change over time, such as sales tactics and public engagement guidelines, comprise this facet of explicit knowledge. Storing this information in a knowledge base software like AllAnswered ensures that employees will remain up-to-date on the organization's latest practices and standards thanks to mandatory verification schedules.
- Static: Things like employee handbooks and support procedures rarely undergo significant change, and thus, comprise the static portion of explicit knowledge. AllAnswered ensures that your staff can always refer to this information as they strive to excel in their professional role. You can integrate this knowledge management system into your current team collaboration tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Github, and more for maximum accessibility.
Commit to a long-term plan. Lastly, make it clear to your staff that knowledge sharing is not a one-and-done task. Instead, it must permeate every aspect of your organization's culture, from the overarching company objective to daily work duties, which AllAnswered can help with as well (learn how to build a successful knowledge management system). Your staff can collectively align with organizational goals much more smoothly when supported by periodic reminders and notifications as provided by AllAnswered. Open tasks can also be displayed on shared dashboards, so all members are aware of what must be done and when.
In these ways and more, AllAnswered is the ultimate team collaboration tool specially designed for learning organizations that aim to further encourage knowledge sharing throughout their company. By following this guide and integrating this knowledge base software into your standard practices, your company will experience boosts in productivity and overall improvements in business performance in no time. Contact us to request a demo and see how AllAnswered can introduce your organization to next-level teamwork and collaborative excellence.