Knowledge is only as good as its application. Within the workplace, this transcends an employee's ability to apply knowledge. It also involves letting the right people access it at the right time. That way, employees can collaborate and innovate, and the business can progress.
Even though companies encourage knowledge sharing (for example, by having open office spaces), many employees don't share or get access to the right knowledge at the right time. It could be for many reasons, such as a busy schedule or leverage and competition, but the bottom line is - if employees are properly encouraged to share knowledge, it can be a true game-changer for the organization.
This article discusses 10 reasons to prioritize knowledge sharing in your organization. So, if you need extra motivation to continue asking employees to share knowledge, read on.
What is Knowledge Sharing?
Knowledge sharing is the act of transferring knowledge from one person to another. In the workplace, this involves idea exchange between individuals, teams, or departments within an organization for a common purpose.
Such knowledge can be explicit, which means it is documented and shared through books, manuals, or databases—or tacit, which is personal and can only be transmitted through verbal or non-verbal communication.
For example, a spreadsheet containing a procedure to answer customers' queries is explicit knowledge. On the other hand, tacit knowledge could be knowing the exact moment a prospect is ready to hear a sales pitch or knowing just the right words to use within your copy to persuade a customer.
Information vs. Knowledge Sharing
Too often, employees and even leaders confuse passing information and sharing knowledge. This is why many companies fail at knowledge-sharing initiatives. So let's clear things up.
Information is refined data that answers the questions of who, when, what, or where, while knowledge is valuable information that answers the questions of why and how.
Information improves representation, while knowledge increases consciousness. Information alone is insufficient to make predictions, but knowledge makes predictions possible if one has experience.
A seasoned sales manager, for instance, might use the sales figures report (information) and, using their experience and intuition, determine that a particular product is trending upwards in popularity and adjust inventory orders accordingly.
The manager bases this decision on knowledge—they have not only understood the information (sales report) but also used their previous experience and intuition to draw a meaningful conclusion.
Why Knowledge Sharing is Critical in the Workplace
Failing to share knowledge can cost a company of 100,000 employees about $240 million annually. That’s a steep price for not implementing knowledge transfer methods in the workplace.
If big organizations with deep pockets lose millions, what chance do small businesses have? Here are ten more reasons to invest in a knowledge transfer process.
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1. Improves Employee Engagement
Today, employee engagement is more critical than ever because engaged employees are more likely to remain in a company for longer, perform better, and contribute to the business's success.
Knowledge sharing allows employees to exchange information, skills, and expertise, fostering a collaborative environment. For instance, via secure remote access IoT, multiple team members can access the same data simultaneously.
This process helps retain intellectual assets and improves productivity, making employees feel more connected and valuable to the organization.
2. Enhances Productivity
Knowledge sharing enhances productivity by reducing redundant tasks. When employees have access to a shared knowledge base, they can avoid repeating the same mistakes and learn from past successes. This can lead to more efficient processes and streamlined workflows.
Also, when employees share their knowledge and expertise, they can offer fresh perspectives and innovative solutions to problems. This, in turn, can lead to creative product ideas, better customer service, and increased revenue.
Additionally, utilizing a schedule builder tool enables teams to effectively plan and allocate tasks, ensuring optimal use of time and resources.
3. Retains Intellectual Assets
Regardless of how engaged you keep your employees or how well you train them, there is always the risk of losing them. It is how it always has been. But losing these people doesn’t have to mean losing your intellectual assets. If you have a culture of knowledge sharing, people may come and go, but the knowledge stays.
A culture of sharing knowledge can also help to reduce the change fatigue that comes with constant change. With a knowledge base, people can easily access information, reducing the need for continuous training.
4. Optimizes Practices
Knowledge sharing in the workplace can be a game-changer for optimizing practices. By sharing their expertise and experiences, employees can learn from one another and develop more efficient and effective working methods.
A collaborative tool like MarkUp.io can make knowledge sharing even more accessible, allowing team members to annotate and share feedback on documents in real time, no matter where they are.
This can lead to streamlined processes, reduced errors, and faster task completion. Plus, by leveraging the team's collective intelligence, you can identify areas for improvement and implement changes that benefit the entire organization.
5. Facilitates Better Decision-Making
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Sharing ideas and expertise leads to better decision-making at all levels of the organization. Employees have access to information and insights from their colleagues. They can make more informed decisions. And this leads to better outcomes and increased success.
Knowledge sharing can play a critical role in the operational risk management process because it allows employees to leverage their collective experience and expertise to identify, analyze and mitigate risks. It also increases their awareness and understanding of risk and how they can manage it.
6. Overcomes Time Constraints
When getting work done, time is of the essence. However, sometimes the pressure to meet deadlines and complete tasks overwhelms employees. This is where knowledge sharing can help.
Sharing knowledge in the workplace can save employees time by allowing them to learn from one another's experiences and expertise.
Instead of spending hours trying to figure out a solution to a problem, an employee can reach out to a colleague who has already dealt with a similar issue. This saves time and reduces the risk of errors or mistakes.
Moreover, knowledge sharing can help avoid duplicating work. Suppose an employee is working on a project another colleague has already completed. In that case, they can leverage their colleague's work, saving time and resources.
7. Promotes Job Security
One of the reasons employees hoard knowledge is to become indispensable. Employees with valuable knowledge are more likely to be kept around, even if the company is working through difficult times. But sharing has more benefits.
When employees share their knowledge, skills, and expertise, they create a culture of collaboration and continuous learning, enhancing organizational performance.
This, in turn, can lead to increased job security for employees as the organization becomes more competitive and better equipped to handle challenges and changes in the market.
Moreover, when employees have access to knowledge and information, they are better equipped to adapt to new roles and responsibilities. This makes them more valuable to the organization and enhances their job security.
8. Fosters a Culture of Continuous Learning
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Knowledge sharing can help foster a culture of continuous learning by encouraging employees to seek out new information and insights. Employees who feel empowered to share their knowledge and expertise are more likely to be curious and open to new ideas, leading to ongoing employee training and growth.
In order to facilitate effective knowledge sharing, it is essential to provide tools to gather information from clients. These tools can range from intuitive online surveys and questionnaires to interactive feedback mechanisms. By employing such tools, organizations can tap into the valuable insights and experiences of their clients, enabling them to gather a comprehensive understanding of their needs, preferences, and challenges.
With robust data collection tools in place, businesses can create a seamless feedback loop, fostering a collaborative environment where clients feel empowered to contribute their ideas and opinions. This not only enhances customer engagement but also allows organizations to align their products, services, and strategies with the evolving demands of their target audience.
Additionally, incorporating a video testimonial from satisfied clients can be a powerful way to capture and share their experiences, adding a personal touch and further promoting the value of shared knowledge.
9. Balances Explicit and Tacit Knowledge
Through knowledge sharing, employees can effectively communicate and collaborate to balance tacit and explicit knowledge.
When employees share information, they are more likely to share explicit and tacit knowledge, leading to a more well-rounded and comprehensive understanding of a particular topic or issue.
For example, a junior employee might have access to explicit knowledge about a particular process, but a senior colleague might have tacit knowledge about handling exceptions or unique situations.
The junior employee can better understand the process by taking advantage of the knowledge and expertise of their more experienced colleagues.
10. Connects Remote Employees to Knowledge
Remote workers can often feel isolated and disconnected from the company to the extent that knowledge sharing becomes tricky. However, remote employees with a knowledge base can easily access information whenever needed.
One way to facilitate knowledge sharing among remote employees is by using the best desktop sharing software. With desktop sharing software, remote employees can collaborate and share information in real time, as if they were in the same room.
This can help break down communication barriers and ensure all employees have access to the knowledge and expertise needed to succeed.
Sharing knowledge also makes remote employees feel more connected to their colleagues and the organization.
Knowledge Sharing Drives Organizational Success
Organizations that adopt a culture of sharing ideas and expertise will innovate and succeed. As we live through the AI revolution, organizations must leverage this technology to enhance learning and retention.
A knowledge retention strategy will ensure your organization captures and preserves valuable knowledge, including processes, best practices, product information, and more. It is a part of knowledge management and identifies knowledge resources at risk and must be retained.
A continuous learning and improvement culture can be created by prioritizing knowledge sharing.
Therefore, it is essential to encourage knowledge sharing in the workplace. Providing employees with the tools and resources they need to share and access knowledge effectively is also crucial.