Knowledge is the lifeblood of your business. It’s what allows you to compete in your market and deliver value to your customers. It really is that simple. As such, with an appreciation for this essential asset, you need to make efforts to maximize knowledge sharing opportunities.
Playing such a critical role in your business success, it makes sense to think about how internal information is managed and distributed. Just think of the opportunities, if all your workers had access to the key insights that help your very best employees meet and exceed expectations every single day, then imagine what your organization can achieve if that information became common knowledge. Using the knowledge of your best workers to help others raise their game is just one way knowledge sharing can benefit your organization.
In this blog, we look at the 5 best ways to maximize knowledge sharing in your business and how you can unlock the fantastic benefits it can deliver.
1. Set Time Aside to Share, Contribute and Discuss
Finding opportunities for your staff to share key information is often half the battle when it comes to making the most of the knowledge within your business. Your employees likely struggle to find time to share what they know with those who might benefit. This means your business has the information, an individual willing to share, and potential recipients who could benefit from it, but nothing bringing them all together.
By making efforts to lay out a specific time to share information, you’ll be able to optimize its value in your business. In fact, by bringing together those who possess essential information with those who benefit, you can create highly valuable conversations that not only helps distribute the information, but also unlock the potential to refine and improve it further.
For example, if one of your senior staff members is sharing tips on how a process works, there may be opportunities to iterate further with multiple stakeholders involved in the conversation. Remember, with different perspectives in play, you’ll be able to further enhance the value of your internal information, maximizing it’s value for all involved.
2. Build an Internal Knowledge Base
An internal knowledge base presents significant knowledge sharing opportunities for your organization to fully utilize internal information. Offering a means of capturing, managing and storing internal knowledge, a knowledge base provides a common area where insights can be recorded and managed, for the access and use of others.
With an internal knowledge base, organizations are able to record information that helps the business operate and compete. Covering the likes of best practices, commercial insights and how-to’s, a knowledge base can deliver value across business units and seniority. In fact, with the right strategy, everybody in your organization can benefit, it’s that easy!
The best knowledge bases not only capture key information, but also are organized and easy to search. This is important for the successful sharing of information. If captured data is difficult or time-consuming to access, then it’s likely to be ignored or under utilized. Remember, ease of access is just as important as access itself – just having the information is not enough.
Organizations who embrace a knowledge base within their business can truly maximize the opportunities presented by knowledge sharing and take full advantage of its potential.
3. Schedule Off-Site Business Social Events
When it comes to successful knowledge sharing, there needs to be a recognition that it won’t always come from formal events, sometimes the opportunity to share needs to be more casual. By scheduling off-site social events, you give your employees the chance to talk to people they wouldn’t normally encounter in their day-to-day life and this opens up the opportunity for information to be shared across business units and even geographies.
For some individuals in your business, this informal approach will be the most effective as in many instances it’ll lead to them learning in a natural way. Sometimes exposure to the right people is all that’s necessary to achieve successful knowledge transfer.
Off-site events also present the opportunity to cultivate the positive culture that often enables effective knowledge sharing within an organization. Something worth remembering!
4. Consider Mentoring Opportunities
Mentoring programs are common within many organizations and are designed to help junior employees upskill and access the knowledge of their senior counterparts. This makes good sense. It’s likely the key information your senior staff possess is only known by a select group of people internally, and as a result, there is the possibility that your company could lose this information if select people leave. Mentoring helps avoid this vulnerability by maximizing the distribution of key information.
Beyond mitigating risk, mentoring also helps your younger staff members do more with less and optimize their contribution to your organization. This can have a significant impact on your productivity and ultimately your bottom line. By upskilling junior employees, you’ll be able to help them develop their career while also getting more for less.
When it comes to mentoring and knowledge sharing, everyone’s a winner. There’s no good reason not to have a mentoring program that helps employees and your company improve.
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5. Encourage Face-To-Face Discussion With Relevant Employees
Company culture plays a big role in the success of knowledge sharing initiatives. If employees regularly chat and discuss work matters, then chances are that information will naturally disperse itself across your business.
While this approach isn’t as regimented as previously mentioned opportunities, it’s much more natural and for some individuals will be the most effective way of learning.
In order to further encourage day-to-day discussions, employees need to feel like they can engage with their colleagues throughout working hours, without the fear of reprimand. Small things like this can have a massive impact, and so it’s important the culture is conducive to what you’re trying to achieve. They say sharing is caring, and if you genuinely care about effective knowledge sharing, then you’ll develop a culture that encourages communication and teamwork, for the good of all involved.
With the right knowledge sharing strategy in your business, you can ensure your organization’s collective knowledge is being optimally used and shared to assist all interested parties. This not only helps drive improved efficiency, but may also unlock new opportunities to expand, diversify or develop. With your employees regularly sharing what they know, you’ll have an evolving workforce that’s contributing to the growth of company success, and ultimately, the bottom line.
While knowledge sharing can seem challenging at first, with a little energy and investment, it can quickly become 2nd nature. It often only takes one or two instances of successful sharing before it picks up momentum. If your employees see the benefit of the knowledge they gain in their work day, then they’re likely to become more proactive in sharing further. This quickly creates an environment where knowledge sharing occurs in multiple forms, helping your employees do more with less and enhance their contribution to your organization.
Remember, knowledge sharing is only as successful as the strategy behind it. You need a solid plan in order to make the most of the information locked away within you organization. Providing you’ve mapped out your approach, you’ll be able to get the ball rolling and start seeing the benefits of knowledge for yourself, sooner rather than later.