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Knowledge sharing

Knowledge Sharing: A Way of Bringing Progress to Your Organization

  • Omer Usanmaz
  • January 16 2023

Does your organization promote a culture of knowledge sharing? If so, are the employees in every tier of your organizational hierarchy a part of the knowledge-sharing culture? A critical step for businesses and enterprises in the direction of growth is to build a cohesive workforce that practices effective knowledge sharing. The pandemic and digital era changed the face of work culture altogether and saw the advent of virtual spaces. Scattered workforces could form a sense of community within themselves, but were they productive? Was the communication streamlined and well-rounded as it was during the work-from-office setup? 

Every organization will have to bring reforms and restructure its working patterns with the changing world. For instance, hybrid work culture will need a cloud-based knowledge management platform to be implemented to maintain relevant data accessible to the individual staff and retrieve them as and when required. This article throws light on why knowledge sharing is essential and how it can bring about a productive change for your organization.

Sharing of Knowledge: Why Is It Necessary?

The concept of knowledge sharing is prevalent in academic study, and students grow into prospective goal achievers by gaining knowledge. At the organizational level, exchanging critical information is generally the communication between executives. Organizations with a culture of collective knowledge sharing where employees feel comfortable sharing ideas increase positive reinforcement. Team leaders need to be well aware of knowledge sharing, its benefits, and how it can be implemented relatively across your company. They need to understand that knowledge sharing need not necessarily be from higher company levels to lower levels. Learning and sharing knowledge can be mutual within the organization, especially when everyone has access to knowledge through the internet.

Knowledge hoarding was one of the factors seen in stagnant companies where managers expected more from their team members to perform, and there was no collaboration between people. It’s easier to overlook the knowledge sharing need and assign the staff with only the tasks that bring revenue to the company. But this notion works for a limited time frame and can prove fatal in the long run when the employees will no longer be updated on relevant skills and information. There’s no right moment to start building a comfortable environment that provides them a chance to learn and grow. Knowledge sharing is a continuous process, and no one ever ceases to learn in their entire career life.

Workplace learning directly impacts team member productivity and company growth. Companies will only be able to retain their staff if they feel that it is the right environment to grow personally and professionally. The learning environment dimension is split into three aspects, and companies must focus on these areas for learning and development:

  1. Onboarding
  2. Upskilling and knowledge
  3. Leadership management

Following the global pandemic, organizations started to build employees’ resilience to have digital knowledge. They were specially trained to shift and adapt to manage work overload and uncertainty.

Providing growth and learning opportunities is more accessible if you use the potential of your existing employees, who are a warehouse of knowledge that could help your company grow and expand further. Encouraging them to be potential leaders is also one way to nurture the next generation of staff.

How can your organization unearth the avenues of knowledge sharing? 

  1. Nurturing team member relationships, especially for remote or hybrid employees
  2. Improving team member productivity
  3. Improving the quality of work
  4. Cost savings on training
  5. Building leadership within the organization
  6. Retaining knowledge 
  7. Building peer learning atmosphere
  8. Devising and pooling ideas for better strategy and management 

In short, encouraging and promoting knowledge sharing in the workplace will lead to additional advantages, such as more revenue and a promising workforce for your organization. 

What Is Meant by Knowledge Sharing?

Knowledge sharing is exchanging information between people within a team or an organization. Based on its nature, knowledge can be of two types. Explicit knowledge comes from following the procedures or information already available and is universally known to be true. Tacit knowledge comes through practice and is developed through experience.  

As you might be aware, the process of sharing knowledge is beneficial for the one who imparts it and the one who learns from it. While leaders can gain better insights on a subject, workers can understand and feel important. The practice of knowledge sharing can be helpful for one to hone their leadership skills by educating and solving the new workforce’s doubts and problems.

Current organizations focus on developing an agile and adaptable workforce for increased business benefits and encouraging knowledge sharing, one way towards building it. A team member handbook is an excellent example of knowledge sharing about the work culture and communicating what is expected from the new hires. Employees engaged in knowledge sharing become a part of streamlined processes that provide them with directions and a broader sense of understanding of what they will deal with.  

Knowledge sharing means knowledge exchange, and organizations should have a plan to utilize both explicit and implicit knowledge within their company. Knowledge transfer is especially about strategizing a plan to get critical knowledge from experienced employees and how it can be utilized for the organization’s future growth in case they are leaving.

Why Is Knowledge Sharing Important for an Organization?

The organizational needs are dynamic and susceptible to change now and then. The pandemic taught many organizations to be prepared to handle disruption and work through uncertain times to maintain the pace of growth. It also taught organizations how to overcome the challenges by adjusting and accommodating through building remote or hybrid workplaces.

Companies still need to focus more on skill development and mobility within the workforce to cater to the job requirements and uphold the organization’s mission and vision.

For staff hiring and retention to increase, employees should be given an opportunity for internal mobility within the organization with promotions that cultivate extrinsic motivation. Workers should not have the “know-it-all” attitude but at the same time not be hesitant to become subject matter experts or take the initiative to learn something new every day. Appreciation for workers who take the initiative to share their knowledge and be team players also creates intrinsic motivation to cultivate the right approach and behavior toward knowledge.

The organization is responsible for every new hire, just as they are responsible for the job role they are hired for. Organizations should provide value to each individual by exposing them to company culture with valuable knowledge. The knowledge-sharing opportunities should give them scope for internal job prospects. Allowing your new hire an opportunity to share their knowledge will empower them. Learning from others creates collaborative teamwork and builds a strong workforce.

To prepare future leaders in your organization, give them a chance to learn from more experienced employees and senior leadership. Your new hires will be energetic and enthusiastic about learning opportunities. Gen Z employees will be more curious and may utilize the learning content more than your other employees.  

Knowledge sharing is a good way of making employees who struggle with communicating their needs share their knowledge for motivation and courage. Some might even be freshers and uncomfortable sharing what they know and do not know in the new environment. It is the best way for organizations to overcome communication issues of workers, especially remote workers, through positive words and showing they too can perform like others.

Ways to Encourage Knowledge Sharing 

Workplaces that encourage knowledge can be implemented in different ways to unlock the potential of each team member and improve their skills. Here are some of the ways for organizations to encourage knowledge-sharing successfully. 

  1. Encouraging to Develop the Right Mindset
    Knowledge sharing should not feel complicated, especially when there is a talent pool for your workers to learn from. Accessibility to knowledge and the pathway should be more accessible, and leaders should encourage workers to ask questions to clear their doubts on any subject. Asking questions creates curiosity and a learning mindset. 

  2. Implement different ways for effective Knowledge Sharing
    An organization planning to share critical knowledge about its way of work can demonstrate this by adopting new and improved methods that make learning easy and enjoyable. Virtual meetings, cloud sharing of documents, Emails, video-based content, and other digital repositories facilitate knowledge sharing conveniently.

  3. Encouraging to take initiatives and creating leaders
    Leveraging knowledge sharing can be done by pairing new hires with experienced workers. Doing this can make the learning process and onboarding faster and more effective. New hires can perform better and at a faster rate by equipping them with the right set of skills.

  4. Utilizing existing subject matter experts
    The experience of subject matter experts allows workers to gain insight and learn what they need to do faster than a formal training program. It’s one of the primary reasons most employees stay in an organization. Furthermore, it makes them more efficient and offers them self-satisfaction when they become more proficient in their work and knowledge.

  5. Formulate a Process
    It is crucial to democratize the knowledge-sharing process and encourage all leaders to develop innovative ideas. The top-level management should hold monthly meetings to discuss ideas and develop a knowledge-sharing framework. While developing a framework, one factor to keep in mind is to keep knowledge-sharing opportunities connected to internal promotion and mobility within the organization. It will encourage participants from all levels and skills to learn from each other.

    Want incredible results out of the knowledge-sharing program? Make a comprehensive list of all the best practices and draw these as conclusive objectives for your experienced workforce in relation to their performance level. This way, it can guide your experienced workforce to follow the roadmap in building a quality knowledge-sharing program.

  6. Breaking down silos 
    Successful organizations have showcased how knowledge sharing benefits everyone, from the top to the lower level. One of the actual benefits that organizations foresee of encouraging knowledge sharing is to increase the efficiency and quality of work and, thereby, the revenue of the entire organization. Knowledge hoarding by subject matter experts happens with other employees when they compete for higher positions. Collective efforts may take a backseat when the workforce becomes selfish for their benefits and needs. Organizations need to teach better values and ethics to individuals with the concept of helping each other to grow and prosper together. These values will reflect your employees’ attitudes, behavior, and work towards their peers and your company. 

Employees That Need to Participate in Knowledge Sharing

Before setting objectives for knowledge management strategies for your organization, you need to have a clear idea of what the outcome should be and what your worker’s expectations might be. It should start with asking questions such as: What are the knowledge sharing goals? What is the level of knowledge to be shared at each level? Who should all be involved at what level?

New hires

The knowledge-sharing structure should be revamped time and again to fit their new role. Team member onboarding, individual mentorships, and peer learning help new hires cope with their new environment and become familiar with the company culture. 

Managers and Future leaders

Though they don’t get trained often, their knowledge base can also come from imparting their knowledge to the new hires and being exposed to handling new tasks. Their knowledge majorly may come from the experience of handling their team members and projects. Knowledge sharing and mentorship can be a pathway for their success by learning vital skills and taking responsibility for their actions. 

Remote workers

Though they often feel like they don’t belong within the team or face challenges getting enough learning opportunities, promoting virtual connections with their managers and team members or leaders can fill this Gap. Today’s applications and AI-powered knowledge-sharing platforms keep remote workers feel connected on a personal level.

What are the Benefits of Knowledge Sharing?

Knowledge sharing does not necessarily mean identifying the more experienced to educate the less experienced. Be it an employer or a team member, both have an equal role and realize the advantages of knowledge sharing. Sometimes knowledge can even happen among peers that may help a low-performing team member perform better. Here are some of the key benefits of encouraging it in your organization:

Increase Team Member Commitment

Employees, especially new hires, will look forward to learning and applying what they learned in their work. The knowledge-sharing opportunities they access will decide most of their behavioral factors for work opportunities and how they will perform. Their commitment to work can increase when they are familiar with what they do. The ease of getting a task done will generally depend on their knowledge about the job roles and tasks. An organization that expects its workers to be dedicated should offer enough opportunities to encourage younger workers to stay committed to learning and gaining knowledge. 

Aid Learning and Growth

Employees learn better when they connect with others. Team activities and sharing learning content are two ways to connect and reflect on what they learned. Knowledge-sharing activities will be more successful when workers can retain what they learned. Essentially, individual learning and collaborative learning can promote an efficient and effective workplace. Organizations can use activities like QA sessions, multiple choice quizzes, surveys, etc., to make both individual and social learning fun and develop a skilled workforce.

Build a Positive Work Culture

An organization that insists on knowledge sharing will emphasize learning and skill development. They will be committed to the growth of each individual and will provide learning and growth opportunities through mentorship programs, online training, and other knowledge-sharing methods. Organizations that focus on building a learning culture will spend time developing learning and development activities and encourage their workers to be part of the same. That’s because they understand how important it is for their employees to learn and be productive.

Retain Expert Knowledge

Explicit and tacit knowledge is valuable to any organization. It can even be used to reframe the existing processes or procedures for the organization to stay updated and advanced. If knowledge-sharing opportunities are not present in an organization, tacit knowledge cannot be utilized as employees leave a company searching for better opportunities.

Effective Knowledge Sharing: A Step To Build A Thriving Organization

Efficiently and effectively managing mentors and mentees will bridge the gaps within any corporate framework. Skills and knowledge, when distributed fairly, create harmony and promote staff to be team players. Following the best practices for developing a mentorship program can make knowledge sharing a part of your organization. You would have realized how sharing knowledge can bring countless benefits to your organization by now. From team member growth to upskilling, offering knowledge-sharing opportunities in your workplace should be the ultimate goal of your organization’s long-term development plan. The focus of organizations should always be to make knowledge sharing systems a part of both existing and future workforce training, as it contributes as one of the aspects of workplace progress.

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