How to encourage knowledge sharing
Practicing knowledge sharing in organizations enables employees to exchange information, expertise, and skills actively. With minimal investment in training and infrastructure, companies stand to gain a smarter, more unified workforce when they encourage knowledge sharing. Yet, there are still some obstacles, lack of time and motivation among employees, and finding the right tool being the primary concern.
As a manager, you are the font line leads for employees’ day-to-day work, and you can be instrumental in promoting knowledge sharing as a daily part of work life. In this article, we look at six ways to turn your teams into a knowledge-sharing unit.
1. Make knowledge sharing part of business as usual
It is important to make knowledge sharing an essential part of the job description for employees. The more routine knowledge sharing becomes, the lower the threshold, and the likelier employees will be to take part. Make it clear during the hiring process that you expect new employees to contribute to the shared knowledge pool. This gets things off on the right foot from day one.
Set aside time each week for a knowledge-sharing session, in which you and your team sit down to talk about lessons learned and insights gained. Facilitate an open discussion where employees feel relaxed and free to speak openly about what they know. You’ll also want to assign regular time slots for critical members to take time off the work floor to write or update learning content.
2. Incentivize knowledge sharing with rewards
Lots of people perceive knowledge sharing as inherently rewarding. You don’t have to increase an employee’s salary to get them to share their knowledge with others. For many employees, the prestige of being recognized as an expert is usually enough of a reward. But not for all of them. Naturally, some employees need more of an incentive. Want to know how to really encourage knowledge sharing in the workplace? By giving employees rewards. By letting them know what’s in it for them.
Make sure to give employees credit for the knowledge they share. Prominently display their names as authors on any learning content they contribute to, for example. You can also sing them out during team meetings, praise them for their contributions, or shout out to them in newsletters.
3. Make knowledge sharing user-friendly
The best way to share knowledge today is to use simple e-learning authoring tools and online platforms like Easygenerator. This enables employees to capture their knowledge and publish and share it with their coworkers. To get the most out of knowledge sharing, it’s essential to have software that is simple to master. No one enjoys using clunky, counterintuitive software. Opt for a stable, cloud-based solution or platform with zero learning curve and a user-friendly, what-you-see-is-what-you-get interface.
4. Embrace microlearning
One reason employees may be resistant to sharing their knowledge is that they don’t realize how valuable it is. Even tiny, specific pieces of specialized knowledge can contribute to the effectiveness of the team. It is crucial to establish a culture in which no information is considered too small to share. This is very much in line with the trend of microlearning, in which you share little nuggets of information using digital media.
Use e-learning authoring software that facilitates microlearning. That means your authoring tool needs to be mobile-friendly, and include options for uploading screen captures and videos. This way, employees can easily author and share small tips and tricks that make a big difference.
5. Lead by example
As a manager, you have a strong influence over your team. Your actions speak louder than your words. That’s why it’s important for you not only to “tell” your team to share their knowledge but also to “show” them that you are doing it yourself. It’s a question of practicing what you preach.
Often you will be the first person within your team to receive new knowledge (about an upcoming product launch, updates to company policies, or other things). Be transparent and informative about information like this. Share what you know and create an open exchange where your team feels free to approach you and ask questions. This sets the tone for the knowledge-sharing culture you are trying to establish.
6. Implement a knowledge sharing process
Employees will inevitably take a job at a different organization at some point in their careers. It will be a shame if they take all of their knowledge with them when they leave. Implementing a knowledge-sharing process helps you prevent losing their skills and know-how.