10 Best Practices & Tools to Enhance Knowledge Sharing within the Organization
There are endless numbers of business challenges across the world, but the solutions mostly remain localized – not learning from the experiences. So, what is the major difference between the companies that progress and fall? The answer to this complex question is very simple – knowledge sharing within organizations, i.e.- captured knowledge needs to be disseminated, scaled up and replicated.
Incorporating a knowledge sharing culture is mandatory for organizations to succeed because there is always a risk of losing or forgetting the acquired knowledge. The conduit of knowledge sharing needs to be shared rather than just storing or documenting it because when your staff struggle to access information employees need and can’t find it on time, the bottom line of your company suffers.
Whether it is verbal or digital, sharing leads to a better knowledge base of employees and fosters a culture of knowledge management. Hence, it is crucial to boost such a culture that facilitates employees to use digital platforms and share knowledge for the betterment of the organization.
The ultimate key is developing a knowledge sharing platform where employees feel comfortable in putting up their opinions, ideas, personal viewpoints, and seek assistance of peers/seniors/experts when needed.
Why is knowledge sharing important at workplace?
Knowledge sharing encourages social interaction at the workplace and leads to the preservation of existing knowledge so that it is not lost when employees switch or retire from the companies. It enables everyone to access the relevant information at a central place and speeds up the response times.
- Reuse the best problem-solving experiences
Reusing what others have already learned and created can save a lot of time and money, increase work productivity, and minimize risks. To get success in reusing the knowledge, it is important to have a good knowledge base and content, and it should be easy to find for the members of the organization.
The components of knowledge management help in streamlining the work and increasing the productivity of employees. Some of the components include people (user manuals, training documents), process (used methodologies, best-proven practices, storytelling, lessons learned), and technology (e-learning, content management system, integrated chat applications).
- Boosts competence and efficiency
Did you know that your employees could take a substantial amount of time to look for the right information or locate the relevant search result? It means that a lot of productive time is spent unproductively to seek information.
The best practices of knowledge sharing in an organization shrink most of the unproductive time spent in searching for the information. And at the same time, all the employees will have easy access to the right information, whenever and wherever they need it.
- Stimulate workplace innovation
Sharing the best knowledge management practices encourage your employees to share their innovative ideas and help deliver better results. The stimulation of knowledge and increased idea sharing helps the employees to be more productive and on the cusp of new trends and markets.
- Faster and better decision making
Knowledge sharing within teams is not only beneficial to your employees but also fruitful for business performance. When all the tasks are performed efficiently in the organization and every member works in a streamlined manner, it ensures faster, better decision making and eventually improves the productivity and performance of the organization.
- Improve sales and customer relationships
The importance of customer cannot be overstated as it is ranked before finance and product to achieve business success. Knowledge management plays a crucial role in managing customer relations. For example, when a customer service agent spends a lot of time to search for the relevant information to resolve a problem or answer a question, customers will end up being frustrated and ultimately dissatisfied.
With a knowledge-sharing platform, the search effort and time can be reduced drastically. It provides access to consolidated information, making it easier to use.
- Reduce know-how losses
Know-how is a very important asset for the organization and its management directly impacts the business performance. The knowledge sharing practices can capture best of the knowledge and make it accessible to employees.
It makes scarce resources readily available across the organization. Earlier, the presentations, trainings, white papers and case studies fulfilled these needs but now, centered knowledge sharing platforms are the necessity to make information accessible.
- Build a corporate community
Sharing knowledge is one of the best intuitive ways to form a closely-knit community. A dedicated platform for information sharing and management helps businesses to capture and store knowledge in the most accessible ways. Building a community also ensures the consistency of knowledge sharing within the organization.
- Reduce cost and time
Knowledge sharing best practices allows employees to share important information they have along with their achievements and experience. It eliminates the redundant effort of employees and saves them from committing the same mistakes. Moreover, they can get the ready solution at the right time. In addition to saving time, it also reduces the cost that your business may incur to solve the problems.
Best Practices and Tools
Considering the huge benefits of sharing knowledge in the workplace, it is no secret that it is one of the best ways to improve the productivity and performance of an organization. Sharing helps to encourage leadership, fill knowledge gaps, improve efficiency and more. You can also drive a knowledge sharing culture in the organization by choosing the right tools and implementing best practices.
The question here is, how to share knowledge in an organization? Here are some of the most effective practices and tools to encourage knowledge sharing:
- Establish knowledge sharing habits
The key to effective knowledge sharing practices is not to educate about sharing practices but help them understand the potential benefits from their fellow worker’s experience.
A knowledge sharing tool helps in automating and standardizing the knowledge management but there are several challenges at the time of implementing this system. The most prominent challenge is to create a culture of knowledge sharing and collaboration.
A knowledge lifecycle helps in building the processes and stimulate knowledge transfer within the organization. Let’s understand the lifecycle of knowledge first.
The lifecycle of knowledge is mainly concerned with the organization of data and outlines the building, storing, pooling, and extending the knowledge. Here, the role of technology becomes very important to support this learning community. Employing technology helps you streamline communication, discussions, knowledge dissemination, and much more.
- Go cloud for sharing the knowledge
Accessibility is the key to the best knowledge management. And by keeping the resources on the cloud can help you make the knowledge easily accessible across the organization. Choose the right content management system that provides the following features:
- Online or cloud access that allows you to access the resources anytime, anywhere.
- Intuitive user experience that tunes with the employees and does not require intensive training
- Defined authoring process and direct link sharing
- Manage multiple roles and permissions for content access within the organization
- Integrate seamlessly with social and collaboration tools.
- Re-usable templates to save time
We will start this with an analogy here –
Despite having feature-rich DSLR camera, why most people take photographs using their mobile phones? The reason is accessibility and serving the purpose of capturing the moment.
Same goes with the knowledge sharing platforms…!! When you select a knowledge management tool, concentrate on the must-have features like quick link sharing, accessibility, responsiveness, social collaboration, authoring, role-based access permissions and, rest all is a bonus.
A good knowledge management platform is progressive and offers multiple content options like resources, modules, courses, knowledge sheets, etc. across different subject genres. These templates are re-usable, saves time and provide an overview of possibilities to the organization.
- Incentivize the knowledge sharing activities
Now, who does not love rewards? There are many different ways to reward your team members who embody the knowledge sharing practices. To start with, a social media post on the company page, an appreciation email, or an announcement can be done for the team member. Their valuable contribution needs to be valued as it benefits the fellow-workers as well as the organization.
Specify the content that has been shared by the team member with some tangible benefits that encourages everyone to make their part of the contribution. You can also consider giving a bonus to the employee who share the most important information in the quarter or year.
- Make a conversation conducive environment
The impact of physical space should not be overlooked while making efforts to increase knowledge sharing activities in the organization. Make some social-friendly spaces in the office that encourages collaboration. Some of the easy fixes are casual seating in common areas, coffee stations, conference rooms, etc.
- Enhance onboarding and training practices
The onboarding and training seem to be unrelated here at first glance. However, knowledge sharing is one of the most useful resources for new hires. Often, they spend a lot of time to contribute their ideas and feel nervous to express in the group setting. As a result, they lose their interactive skills and knowledge over time.
The contribution and collaboration of new hires are as important as existing employees. And knowledge management can fulfill this purpose. For example, a mentor can be allocated for each hire so that they feel empowered to speak up in the group. Never assume that they don’t want to contribute but always encourage them to provide their opinion.
- Sharing of Internal accomplishments
Every individual has different strengths and weaknesses and they contribute to the team and organizational goals in different ways. It is important to boost the morale of your team members and celebrating internal accomplishments is one of the best ways to do it. The employees feel valued and in turn, create more value for the organization.
The knowledge sharing platform ensures that your employees feel recognized and valued with the help of team nominations, social board shout outs, growth tracking, thank you and appreciation cards and many alike activities.
- Use state-of-the-art knowledge sharing tool
The selection of a knowledge sharing platform is one of the major business decisions as it directly impacts the productivity of employees and business performance. You must have found yourself repeatedly answering the same set of questions, searching the content in different applications for an inordinate amount of time.
An effective knowledge sharing platform allow you to streamline the business processes, search for content quickly, store documents and media content easily, locate experts, ask questions, and much more. The right selection of a knowledge sharing tool can maximize the impact of valuable contributions made by every employee in the organization.
- Encourage sharing in multiple forms
Everyone is different and has their own choices. Not everyone is a public speaker or writer, and not everyone is comfortable sharing their documents, training tutorials with the entire organization. An important goal of knowledge sharing is to allow everyone to feel comfortable spreading the knowledge in different ways. Then, how to share knowledge effectively? Some suggestions to encourage this initiative are:
- Increase face-to-face collaboration time for employees who are already comfortable to express their ideas.
- Set a specific time to share content to ensure that the knowledge is documented, shared and revisited.
- Off-site events should be scheduled to set the collaboration in motion.
- Linking knowledge to actions
Even if knowledge is an important asset for the organization, it must prove itself in action. The businesses that continue doing business without learning, continuous reflection and corrective actions, application of learning and solution paths are most likely to fall soon, when compared to the organizations that use knowledge for improved business outcomes.
The last word
Developing a knowledge sharing platform and building a knowledge sharing culture looks different at initial stages. Implementing these best practices and tools can act as a launchpad for your organization. And soon, your organization will start maximizing the benefits from the knowledge sharing and valuable contributions of the team members. Last but not least, the selection of the right knowledge sharing platform is the first step towards creating a knowledge culture in the organization.
The right knowledge sharing platform allows you to access the information anytime and anywhere, quickly search relevant information, ask questions, chat with team members, store the content securely, streamline onboarding, training, and other HR processes, encourage everyone to contribute ideas and create synergy.
Is your information also scattered across disparate systems like most of the organizations? If you don’t want any further worries of content management and knowledge sharing, using an effective intranet on Microsoft Office 365 can help by unifying the relevant results in one place and providing easy access to information to employees. Schedule a DEMO to see it in action.