Last updated on Jul 28, 2020
Knowledge sharing is critical to modern day commercial success. Working with greater and more diverse information yields every day, businesses are struggling to ensure the right people, have the right information, when they need it most.
With this challenge, companies are turning to knowledge sharing opportunities and initiatives in order to ensure everyone can access what they need, be it a person, system or asset, whenever it’s required. This is the foundation of successful knowledge sharing.
There are two types of knowledge sharing, ‘Knowledge Pull’ and ‘Knowledge Push’.
This is what’s referred to when individuals actively seek out the information they desire, they know what they need and are merely attempting to fill in the gaps. This may involve visiting a library or contacting an expert directly. Whatever the case, this individual is trying to find the critical information on their own – the agency is in their hands.
This is what happens when information must be imparted upon a particular individual.
A 3rd party recognizes that the target requires the information, and then takes action to ensure that it is put in the right place for the user to see and access.
These two approaches offer a critical distinction in the knowledge sharing field and require alternative tactics for success.
As recognized above, knowledge sharing is often very much reliant on the individual in question. If the person is open minded, intelligent and enthusiastic, it will be much easier to share and develop knowledge collaboratively. If the individual is unwilling or uninterested, sharing becomes much harder and logistically challenging.
When it comes to developing a sustainable business, it’s essential that your workforce have an appreciation for what makes you different and how your group of talent can work together to make an impact. This is integral to developing a strong unique selling point in the market and unleashing the potential of your workforce, after all, it’s in everyone’s interests to know more about how the company works and what it does well. This requires regular knowledge sharing.
Your employees need to understand who does what and their role in the big picture, knowledge sharing gives them that critical perspective.
If you’re workforce have visibility on the best way to get the job done from start to finish, then they’ll be able to produce more with less, maximizing your business’s output.
With a comprehensive repository of key information, your employees will be able to upskill in the areas that appeal to them, allowing your workforce to regularly evolve. Pro-active employees will be able to further develop by reviewing additional information that may in fact help them do their jobs better or take the next step. A knowledge sharing platform presents the opportunity to your workforce to grow and develop, empowering them to take control of their own careers and future.
If the company is reliant on key individuals to deliver its proposition, that can be a particularly high-pressure situation – and this can reflect onto the worker in question. A knowledge sharing platform reduces this pressure by ensuring that key information is captured in a secure location that can be easily accessed by the right people.
The business benefits of knowledge sharing are easy to see, but the individual employee benefits are less clear. Many employees feel sharing their knowledge reduces their unique value to the company and weakens their future negotiating position. Afterall, if they train another employee to do their job as well as they do, it makes the individual that much less critical to the operation’s success. To overcome these fears, it’s important knowledge sharing is seen as a give and take philosophy, nobody should feel like they’re training their replacement and it’s important the actions taken by the business reflect this.
In addition, knowledge sharing should be encouraged naturally and not forced, it needs to be something your employees actually want to do and that just occurs as standard every day. If you need to schedule specified sessions, you’ll likely get a few who are uninterested or unmotivated to reveal their best tidbits.
Knowledge pull should be recognised and rewarded, those employees who are actively identifying what information they need, and where to get it have already bought into the knowledge sharing philosophy and are that much more likely to embrace it when someone approaches them.
Without a knowledge sharing strategy in place, you leave your business vulnerable to numerous threats, it may be something as simple as the common cold! What if you lose a critical team member at the worst possible moment? Do you have the staff or systems in place to cope without them? Who else knows what they know? Is it written down? Without an idea of who is sharing what, information siloes can quickly appear leaving your business vulnerable to the unknown.
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Businesses who embrace knowledge sharing and develop a culture that encourages employees to help one another grow and improve will see significant benefits, including:
As information won’t be stuck in the head of a single employee, you won’t be reliant on that one individual, this puts you in a much stronger position when it comes to managing contingencies and risk factors. Additionally, this also reduces the stress put on key individuals, as their presence won’t be necessary every time their specialist knowledge is required.
Working together is critical to maximizing company opportunities and output, but it’s easier said than done. In many instances, teams have poor visibility on their counterparts, and this can make identifying opportunities to collaborate tough. If each piece of the system only has on a view on their specific area, it’s unlikely they’ll be many opportunities to work together to deliver more.
With enhanced access to the data that really matters, customer-facing employees will be able to serve your customers to a much higher standard. In fact, with the right knowledge sharing systems in place, they’ll be able to extend the benefits of greater information access directly to the consumer. This may take the form of something simple, like how a particular system works and why to fundamental education on new services and opportunities. Long story, short, armed with a knowledge sharing platform, your employees will have greater power to deliver great service.
The importance of knowledge sharing in optimizing business success is paramount, but it will only work if your employees are prepared to embrace it’s potential. With the power to deliver benefits across business units and the wider corporate landscape, it’s integral rapidly growing businesses with ambition seek out a form of knowledge sharing platform. Those who don’t will not only miss out on multiple key benefits, but also find themselves at a disadvantage in the market as competitors embrace the opportunities and develop new competitive advantages.