“Knowledge is power” is a mantra we have read and practiced a bit too many times but more so personally than professionally. In the business sphere, in particular, hoarding knowledge and competing against your own team members has been the norm for decades.
In the past few years, however, we have slowly transformed our work environments from strict, rigid office structures to flexible, open workspaces. The change in company culture has given way to open discussion, free conversations, and more sharing than secrecy.
Information is the biggest source of success in the present times. The more information you have, the better decisions you can make and improve your efficiency. And knowledge shared is knowledge multiplied. The more everyone is aware, the better it is for the company as well as the individual themselves.
Within a company, internal knowledge sharing allows companies to gather information from different resources and make an informed decision, which ultimately increases their chances of success. The need here is to develop a company culture where internal knowledge sharing is normal, rather appreciated for it provides opportunities for the improvement of the company and most importantly employees themselves.
We have dedicated this post to internal knowledge sharing, and the basic questions you might have in mind regarding the concept. Let’s get to it right away!
What Is Internal Knowledge Sharing?
Knowledge sharing in a company refers to the sharing of valuable information among the members of a company. One of the most important things in the process is setting up a company culture that promotes knowledge sharing.
It means promoting a collaborative environment, encouraging the smooth flow of information across channels, and having and using the right tools for the dissemination of important information throughout the company.
Companies are built up of individuals with a different set of skills, different experiences, and expertise. Shared knowledge from every individual can bring more value to the business. the biggest beneficiaries, however, are the employees themselves who learn from the experiences of others and help others grow with the knowledge they have.
The knowledge sharing occurs horizontally i.e., within the members of a team as well as, vertically i.e., between top management and employees. The free flow of information adds to the productivity of the company and provides valuable insights to the employees themselves.
Why Is It Important to Share Knowledge?
The dissemination of knowledge within the structure of an organization has two-fold advantages. On one hand, it comes in handy for the company, on the other hand, it helps employees scale their skills to the next level.
Here are a few pointers that might help you understand why knowledge sharing is important in a company:
- Increases Employees’ Satisfaction:
Knowledge sharing is not restricted to the best, most positive experiences. In fact, sharing bad experiences or failures allows employees to analyze the issues and identify the pitfalls they can avoid in the future to guarantee their own success in the process.
- Discourages Secrecy:
Employees are often in a mental tug of war with each other, trying to outdo one another one way or another. This competition is not a healthy one since they are competing against members of their own team when their focus should be to challenge their competitors.
By promoting a culture of open sharing and interaction, companies can discourage knowledge hoarding and in turn, encourage the distribution of information across an organization.
- Enhances Productivity:
The exchange of information within a team or an organization makes the workplace more productive. Knowledge from different areas allows employees to avoid common problems, take the best path for the journey, and think creatively to solve problems. All of this ultimately increases the productivity of the employees and the company.
- Raise Employees’ Confidence:
The access to valuable information makes employees more confident in the way they do things. Their decisions are not only a result of their own expertise but are built upon information that validates their way of working.
Their moves are backed by shared knowledge. The reservoir of knowledge provides insights into the hows and whats of the business processes. While new employees learn from the experiences and knowledge of their seniors, old employees benefit from the information brought by new employees. The two-way exchange makes employees more confident in the way they work.
- Improve Business Processes:
The pool of shared knowledge optimizes business processes, increasing the odds of success. The usage of this knowledge helps employees make informed decisions for the betterment of the organization which not only improves business processes but also proves beneficial for the employees themselves.
How To Encourage Knowledge Sharing Within an Organization?
Building a culture where employees can freely share their knowledge can be a bit challenging but with the right information, you can conquer the mountain without a hitch. In this section, we will share our knowledge with you so that you can make better decisions for your company.
Below are 6 tips that can help you develop a culture of knowledge sharing n your organization:
1. Create Opportunities for Knowledge Sharing:
Knowledge sharing can only happen if all employees interact with one another frequently. This will be impossible to achieve if employees do not have an opportunity to interact face-to-face.
The formal and informal conversations between employees are nothing new when working on-site. It is, however, a whole other deal for a virtual team. Remote teams do not have the opportunity to interact as freely as traditional teams do.
This issue, however, should not bar you from progressing ahead for there are hundreds of internal communication tools that can remove that barrier. These tools are an easy way of interacting with your team members and having shared access to knowledge on a single platform.
For teams working in offices, while they do interact face-to-face, there is no surety that they are sharing their knowledge with one another. To encourage the same in an official setting, you should create knowledge-sharing opportunities such as scheduling meetings, offering spaces for open discussion, encouraging informal communication, etc.
On-site or off-site, make sure employees have ample opportunities to interact informally and have a healthy relationship amongst themselves. The more opportunities employees have for open interaction, the more beneficial it will be for everyone.
2. Be A Mentor, Lead the Way:
Actions speak louder than words. Rather than telling your employees over and over again to exchange information, it would be better to set the chain reaction in motion by yourself. Lead the way by sharing your expertise in the area first and then asking for input from others.
By being open, you will encourage employees to open themselves. By showing the way things are done, you will encourage them to ask questions freely, and will further improve the company culture, making it more flexible and welcoming.
3. Encourage Sharing with Rewards and Recognition:
To make sure employees are actively engaging in conversations and are sharing information, set rewards and recognition for the same. By offering rewards, you can encourage employees to be more open and flexible.
Here’s how you can do it:
Learn From Failures:
Let your employees know that failures are no full stops. In fact, each failure forms a step on the ladder that only takes you higher and higher. With each downfall, you learn a new way of doing things, and each problem you encounter helps you identify a solution for the future. Every failure is a sign that you tried.
So, make sure your employees are aware that failures are a step towards betterment, they do not stagnate progress in any way.
Recognize Their Efforts:
One of the best ways of promoting knowledge sharing is by recognizing individuals’ efforts. To appreciate their contribution to the knowledge pool, send them a personalized, official email or text on the company’s portal.
The appreciation will not only boost their morale but also encourage others to do the same.
You can also reward employees with small tokens or gifts when they share valuable information with everyone. The small gifts will make them feel recognized and appreciated, boosting their confidence.
4. Build A Shared Pool of Internal Knowledge:
To make sure everyone has access to the information they need and can freely use it, build a pool, a repository where all the information can be stored and retrieved as and when needed.
You can use an online tool to create a platform where you can store documents, videos, images, etc. with a knowledge base available to everyone in the organization, you can also make sure that everyone has access to the same information. You can also disseminate the knowledge using the same platform.
You can also use a dedicated knowledge management system for this purpose. Research has shown that 74% of companies believe that efficient knowledge management has improved their productivity by 30-40%. These tools are specially designed for storage, organization, and management of knowledge.
Employees can access these platforms, and easily search, and filter the information they need. the shared pool of knowledge also makes sure that all employees have the same information, and it has not gotten altered midway.
5. Schedule Social Events for Employees:
Formal interactions do not produce fruitful results because they are done in an official setting. No matter how hard one tries, one cannot get comfortable in a setting that requires one to act in a specific way.
To break free from this silo, you have to organize social events where interaction can be more informal and open. Relationship building should be the main aim of organizing such events. Employees are likely to be more open in social events and exchange conversations they normally wouldn’t do in a formal environment.
By creating opportunities for interaction, you will strengthen their relationship with one another. Remember, the social events you organize should encourage conversations and interactions. A pizza party at your local café will be better than a cricket match on the city ground.
6. Organize Knowledge Sharing Sessions:
If and when your organization hits a rock and stands still, you need a trigger to set the things back in motion. This is the time when you can call experts and have them deliver a motivating, knowledge-sharing session to encourage your employees.
You can invite an expert from the industry or ask employees to nominate someone of their choice. An interactive session where employees can ask questions will be even more beneficial since it will bring more clarity and will help them eliminate possible risks and issues.
The advice from the experts will also be more imperative. You can organize an in-person session or use Zoom for the purpose. The session will promote a healthier environment in the organization and will lead to better results in the future.
What is the Future of Knowledge Sharing?
As we see all over the organizational paradigm, more than 90 percent of the professionals in a company want the opportunity to share their knowledge with everyone.
And with good reason, because as the culture of disparate teams, remote working, and siloed knowledge grows, the need for securing the right tools, applications, and knowledge repositories has become increasingly critical.
This is because the teams working together, in whatever capacity for the company, need to overcome the knowledge barriers that come between them and have to know anything and everything important to their work.
One of the most effective knowledge-sharing platforms available on the market is automated, real-time, and capable of retaining all the important knowledge while discarding any and every piece of information that is no longer important or relevant to your work.
Suppose you choose the application that you are using as AI-powered. In that case, you are in for a treat because an AI-powered application ensures that all of your employees trying to access the knowledge base can do so in one centralized location rather than going all over the place for a simple piece of information.
This is becoming more and more important that you choose an application that is AI-powered because every day, new skills are introduced. With the growing expertise gap between different team members, you must have a knowledge base that is accessible to anyone who wants to elevate themselves.
Using nTask For Knowledge Sharing:
nTask is primarily a project management tool but it is designed to help users with knowledge organization, storage, and management. Its various features help teams communicate, share files and information, and collaborate on tasks for better working.
Here are a few of its most promising features as a knowledge management system:
- Share documents, images, videos, etc.
- Communicate and collaborate with colleagues via comments
- Turn comments into tasks and move tasks to the project board
- Activity log
- Schedule meetings with specific agendas
- Take notes
- Organize and store information in folders
- Allow access by setting permissions
Follow the tips listed above if you wish to bring more clarity, efficiency, and productivity to your organization. Make internal knowledge sharing a norm for the benefit of your employees and the organization.
Remember you are one unit, not competing with one another but your competitors. Make sure you are armed with everything you need for this battle and start by sharing everything you know.
More Articles For You: