How to encourage knowledge sharing at workplace?Estimated Reading Time: 7 Minutes
The knowledge employees bring to an organization is your most valuable resource. Human power keeps a business running and the innovative spark that propels a business ahead of its competitors. The expertise, innovation, and fresh ideas provided by a team give the business a competitive edge, improving the bottom line, and ultimately providing a better experience to its customers. Thus, it is very important to create a culture of knowledge sharing and team collaboration in any organization.
Why is Knowledge Sharing Important?
Knowledge-sharing culture is the bread and butter of an organization, regardless of whether it’s a small business or a well-organized company. Improving the circulation of knowledge throughout the organization will increase social interaction in the workplace that will lead to:
- the rise in creative problem solving
- boost efficiency
- improve the bottom line
- encourage company-wide innovation
- preserves existing knowledge
- improved response time
Whether it’s verbal or digital, sharing leads to the creation of a stronger knowledge base and fosters an organized knowledge management system. In this sense, knowledge shared can be used and reused to create novel and valuable information and knowledge.
Ways to Improve Knowledge Sharing in the Workplace
With the right encouragement and approach, you will enable every department to get the information they need and to have a supportive platform for sharing novel ideas.
Implement a Knowledge Sharing Strategy
Knowledge sharing is about more than getting information from one person to another. Knowledge sharing is extracting individual and collective expertise held by your team members and making that knowledge readily accessible to other people in your organization. Every team member should get a chance to contribute fresh ideas, solutions, processes, and feedback to improve the company. This could be much easier with the right knowledge-sharing strategy in place.
Encourage Various Forms of Knowledge Sharing
Not everyone is an expert public speaker or professional and not everyone feels confident sharing their written work, documents, graphs, tutorials, etc. within the entire company. While the end goal of your knowledge sharing initiative should be for everyone to feel comfortable spreading the wealth in a multitude of ways, allow people to begin where they are comfortable. Below are a few suggestions to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard:
Face-to-face collaboration: For those employees who flourish in face-to-face situations, arrange weekly or bi-monthly meetings either in organization premises or through remote sessions. Team members who already feel comfortable with this will have an opportunity to express their ideas, and team members who are a little shyer will get some great practice.
A central place to share and contribute content: Ask your employees to share their expertise, content, ideas on company products, policies, and processes at a centralized place. This strategy will ensure that valuable knowledge is being shared and documented, so it can be revisited again and again.
Schedule off-site events and meetings: This can be anything from a company-wide happy hour to a team meeting at the new cat cafe. The point is to change up the scene. Sometimes all it takes is a refreshing space to set the collaboration in motion.
Ensure Effective Communication
Businesses can carry out the day-to-day operations smoothly when communication amongst all employees must be effective and clear. In a biased communication environment, employees feel detached from one another and unmotivated, which results in mistakes that might have drastic consequences on the business' productivity. This can be done in various ways, such as creating a platform such as PHPKB to facilitate knowledge sharing, which could be in the form of an online knowledge-sharing space where employees share their ideas for innovation and current experiments. Companies can also deploy informal knowledge sharing with internal knowledge bases, where employees can communicate after-work activities, where senior employees can get to know the newer employees, and provide them with tips and recommendations on their new positions in the company.
When like-minded people collide, something massive or even a new idea can occur. Like-minded people don’t just run into each other randomly; they can meet up at a company’s event (virtual or real) organized specifically for improving conversations among people. Apart from formal meetings, creating an opportunity where people can meet and communicate freely can lead to meaningful peer-peer conversations. A knowledge-sharing culture gives employees the possibility to gain, assimilate, but also transfer new knowledge, this being an excellent way to create value. Becoming a company with a solid learning culture can even become a magnificent tool for employee engagement and retention. Employees feel valued and appreciated when their employer invests in their growth and development, by putting a continuous stream of learning opportunities at their disposal.
Sharing Success Stories
The success stories of brilliant leaders become the cause of motivation for the juniors. In a digital workplace, the management must be good at sharing their success stories either personally or as case studies in the form of knowledge articles to encourage the employees. It’s not only the training or the manuals that help employees gain new knowledge; it’s the personal success stories that are shared to make them smarter, encouraged, motivated, and more productive.
Open Door Policy
An effective knowledge-sharing culture exists in an environment of trust and mutual understanding in the office. One way to do so is to implement an open-door policy that helps in breaking barriers among employees and brings them closer intellectually and emotionally. When an employee feels that he can walk up to his colleagues and seek any information, no matter how minute, without being judged or mocked, he opens up, becomes willing to ask questions and share his knowledge in return. Leaders should not have biased behavior towards their favorite employees in the decision-making process and should seek ideas from all the team members.
Best practices to inspire innovation include:
- Creating a climate of reciprocal trust
- Encouraging a culture of upward communication
- Emphasizing speed over lengthy studies by large committees
- Offering candid communication and honest feedback
- Inspiring through action
Knowledgebase software develops stronger foundations for a knowledge sharing and management system. Information overload and knowledge hoarding exist in companies because of the unavailability of proper tools and technologies that promote knowledge sharing. The employees can look into a centralized knowledge base for all their informational needs and can perform their activities such as respond to a client, devise a plan, resolve an issue, estimate developments, evaluate markets effectively.
A dedicated knowledge-sharing platform will encourage innovative ideas that may bring flexibility to a stratified workplace environment. Knowledge sharing software help eradicate communal nervousness associated with sharing information, allow workers to easily share knowledge. Knowledge-sharing platforms also allow admins to reckon the frequency of knowledge being shared and by whom. Companies can motivate employees to contribute to knowledge sharing who are reluctant because of their insecurities.
Team Collaboration Tools
Knowledge sharing is essential for a corporation to run smoothly and uninterrupted. Valuable information can be exchanged among employees which enhances their performance and create a healthy professional relationship. For example, a sales employee and a technical expert might not naturally interact with one another during the workday, but with collaboration tools of knowledge management software, they can share knowledge about products or services and watch the benefits of this shared knowledge unfold.
Reward Knowledge Sharing
Everyone loves incentives; with no incentive to contribute ideas or solve problems, many employees will stick to only completing their daily tasks, so sharing small rewards can go a long way. For example, highlight an employee for excellent work to the rest of the company regularly or give prizes to the teams that have done exceptionally well. Companies can offer incentives in the form of bonuses, commissions, new projects or opportunities, leadership roles, and networking events.
Allow Constructive Feedback
Teams can have some friction or conflict, especially in a stressed environment of deadlines. Organizations should encourage feedback in the form of rating, comments, or through meetings where everyone can share their opinion. Feedbacks allow members to share work-related issues and settle interpersonal quarrels. Still, in every workplace environment, there are people who are less outspoken than others. To make sure everybody's heard, companies should organize feedback surveys besides meetings, this way the more introverted team members voice their remarks anonymously.
Systematically Document Team’s Knowledge
The success of your knowledge management system depends on your team’s ability to easily understand and leverage the information in it. To ensure that happens, you need to have guidelines about how content should be created and updated. Lay down the guideline templates for members for content generation. Besides, your knowledge management software should have features where employees can effectively present their knowledge through bullet points, pictures, screenshots, embedded media such as videos and PDF. PHPKB knowledge management software comes with a feature-rich editor that creates professional-looking content with ease and without any technical knowledge.