Knowledge of your audience, knowledge of your industry, knowledge of business strategies, knowledge of organizational structure, knowledge of having the right person in the right place. Knowledge is a question of competitive advantage. All individuals carry some knowledge within a certain field. What matters is how we share it in the most efficient way. We have all been to “learning meetings” where the inefficiency level is below 0. That has to change. There needs to be a strategy set on how a company shares its internal information and knowledge.
In this post, we will emphasize why it is so important to establishing an environment where sharing experiences and knowledge is a tremendous factor for success.
What do you know about your colleague?
Do you know what the person sitting next to you work with? No matter if you’re in a start-up or a well-organized company, it could be challenging to know what the person sitting next to you actually work with. Wouldn’t it be a huge help if you did? Knowing who has the right competence within your firm is a time and cost savior for the entire organization. Many times you already have the right person internally, but you lack the information about it. Every manager should know their employee’s skills to the extent that they know how to properly place their resources. If an employee feels encouraged to move freely over the organization to help, educate or improve a specific area they will feel more involved, important and seen. Those three factors are extremely important to build a strong culture of sharing as well as letting your employees take ownership.
According to statistics from Quandora, 48% of the knowledge employees receive at their work is unique. Meaning information they would not have been able to collect from schooling or through professional training. However, in order to access all the knowledge from employees, one meeting will not do the trick. A workplace learning system that the entire organization can connect to no matter location has to be established. Such a system are often referred to as an E-Learning System. E-learning platforms can for many be boring and yet another time stealing system that slows down rather than increase the efficiency. That is no point of establishing it. In order to create a successful knowledge sharing culture, an e-learning tool has to be modified to your company. Don’t lose money because you fail at taking care of your internal knowledge.
“The average interaction worker spends an estimated 28 percent of the workweek managing e-mail and nearly 20 percent looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks”
Pitfalls of knowledge sharing
Expectations and reality are always the fundamentals of evaluating if something is good or bad. With most things being available on the internet there is an expectation of speed in delivery and availability. These expectations come from the external world but brought into the organization. However, everyone cannot be available 24/7 at work, everyone has their own tasks and at times, people go on vacation. What do you do if the person who knows how to fix that specific problem is on vacation for 2 weeks? This cannot be the bottleneck of the business. There are expectations from the entire organization that this will not happen because it slows down the entire supply chain. Three clear pitfalls you do not want to fall into when it comes to knowledge sharing are (Panopto):
- Waiting on a co-worker for knowledge
- Searching for knowledge inefficiently
- Duplicating efforts
Don’t allow your employees to push up deadlines or having to cancel a meeting due to them waiting for information from a co-worker. Nevertheless, don’t encourage your employees to “reinvent the wheel” again, it is enough if one has already done the task. Also, don’t underestimate the time to spend on searching for information. Employees spend approximately 8 hours per week searching inefficiently after the right knowledge. These pitfalls can easily be avoided with the help of the right tools and systems.
By providing systems that both engage your employee’s as well as helping them find keys to solve their problems, will increase the inefficiency and decrease the frustration that comes along with not finding the right information. Make it more fun! Learning does not have to be boring or necessarily steal your time. It could really be a time saver in the long run. Therefore, establish a platform that works for the entire organization. Help your employees to work smarter, not harder. Let them be the experts within certain areas and let them inspire the rest of the organization.