Have you heard about the practice knowledge sharing, but not about why it’s so important for organizations to implement it? We’ll let you know why it’s essential and what’s in it for you.
Employees have lots of knowledge that is crucial for your organization and their colleagues. Sharing knowledge helps them connect, perform better, and become stronger as professionals. Some examples of advantages of knowledge sharing for your organization is that you can save money on training, and capture and keep know-how, even if one day employees decide to work somewhere else.
Here are 7 things that point out the importance of knowledge sharing in organizations.
Lots of employees have knowledge that is valuable to their colleagues. It would be a pity if it just stayed in their heads. The benefit of knowledge sharing in organizations is that employees with expertise pass everything they know on to others. That way, they turn it into an asset everyone can draw from, into collective knowledge their colleagues can apply to their work. You can even use it to create guidelines, blueprints, and streamline processes. This ensures that employees work effectively and consistently and that you (and your customers) can expect the same output and quality.
According to the educational theory known as Bloom’s taxonomy, knowledge is acquired in six stages starting with remembering (the lowest form of learning), understanding, applying knowledge, analyzing, evaluating and finally creating (the highest form of learning).
In the final stage of learning, employees are able to create resources based on the knowledge they have gained. That’s the key to knowledge sharing: by creating resources that others can use to perform better and learn from, employees deepen their knowledge and gain new insights again and again.
A big importance of sharing knowledge with team members is that all employees have access to information. They don’t have to wait until an employee with specific knowledge returns from holiday, or spend an hour looking for the answer to their question. They can find it when they need it, digest it, apply it to their work, and perform better and more effectively.
Have you ever heard a colleague speak about a specific topic, and realized you weren’t aware they knew so much about it? Your colleagues might feel the same way, even about themselves. An importance of information sharing is that it makes employees discover that they actually are experts on a certain topic. Or that their colleagues are. Seeing that others benefit from their knowledge can be a huge deal – especially if you reward them for having shared it. Knowing that they are an asset and that they can help out their colleagues can make them feel recognized and can give them a sense of purpose.
By sharing knowledge about specific topics, employees can support each other in acquiring a new skill set. This makes knowledge sharing especially beneficial for new colleagues — colleagues that want to learn about something else, or colleagues that want to get out of their comfort zone. It helps them a lot if you create an environment where everybody feels comfortable asking questions and rewarding the employees who are eager to learn.
It takes time for employees to participate in knowledge sharing actively, but it is more efficient in the long run. Employees who are experts in a specific field often have to answer questions from colleagues, give presentations, or work on courses for the company. These actions combined take a lot longer than creating a course. And creating a course is an activity that employees invest time in only once. After sharing their course, colleagues can watch it as often as they want, whenever they want, from wherever they are.
Most employees won’t stay at your organization forever. And when they leave, they take their knowledge with them. But if they share it with their colleagues, their explicit and tacit knowledge will be passed on to others and will stay within your organization. This is especially true when it comes to senior employees or those who are about to retire. Those long-standing employees have so much knowledge that it’s a massive loss if they don’t make sure it becomes part of your collective knowledge.
Read more about how to overcome knowledge sharing barriers.