Ways to increase knowledge sharing in your business
Businesses today thrive in a knowledge economy, which makes intellectual capital one of the most important assets a company can have. And because accessing all sorts of information is as simple as ever, many are keen to cultivate this resource.
One way of doing so is through knowledge sharing. Exchanging information, skills, and expertise is not only essential in coaching your employees; it also develops unity and engagement in the workplace. Knowledge sharing can facilitate decision-making, foster learning and broaden horizons, and stimulate cultural change and innovation — all of which are catalysts for success.
Here are some things you can do to develop a culture of knowledge sharing within your business:
Encourage various forms of knowledge sharing
Not everyone is an expert in public speaking. Some are more comfortable discussing with small groups. Meanwhile, others find it easier to express their ideas through graphics or written works. Recognize that every single employee has something valuable to share, and allow them to do so using a medium they’re most comfortable with.
What’s more, different forms of knowledge call for different forms of expression. For instance, skill-based knowledge is best shared through demonstration, not through reportage.
One way to ensure that everyone gets a chance to share their knowledge is to make time for it. For employees who flourish in group collaboration, schedule small group meetings where they can bounce ideas off of one another. This is a great venue for outspoken individuals to share their thoughts and for the more timid ones to practice.
Another thing you can do is to let your employees get creative — set aside some time for creating and contributing content. For instance, dedicate an hour each week for everyone to submit their own photo or composition to be included in the company newsletter. This is a creative way to share and document valuable information, which your employees can revisit at any time.
Lastly, schedule off-site events and meetings. These include work- and non-work-related activities like a company-wide picnic or a team meeting at a new cafe. Sometimes, all it takes is a change in scenery to get the conversation going.
Reward knowledge sharing
Everyone loves rewards — getting one essentially means you accomplished something great. And that is exactly what should happen when you make an effort to impart knowledge.
For starters, give recognition to your employees when they share ideas that can be beneficial for the business. Give them a shoutout in an email or acknowledge their input during a team meeting. Specify exactly what they contributed and mention tangible ways of how this will benefit everyone.
Give small tokens like certificates, keychains, tumblers, t-shirts, and other prizes to employees who demonstrate outstanding collaboration skills. Consider giving a monetary incentive to those who share the most significant contributions — those that are highly utilized in the business — every quarter or year.
Having a reward system is a surefire way to kickstart collaboration and innovation.
Re-examine your training and onboarding methods
Oftentimes, new hires feel nervous about immediately coming forward and speaking up in a group setting. Let them know and make them feel from the outset that all ideas are welcome and that you value the skill set and knowledge that you hired them for.
The easiest way to get them to talk is to ask. Make it a point to seek their opinion, from where they think you should have your next team lunch to what they think about particular company rules. They’ll eventually feel comfortable offering their opinions openly.
A couple of ways to ease them into the culture is through mentoring and job shadowing. Developing a successful mentor-mentee relationship has a big impact on new hires — knowing they have guidance and that there’s someone they can ask freely, without judgment, will empower them to speak out.
Meanwhile, allowing the new hire to shadow another team member who isn’t their superior will help them learn the ropes of collaboration. Choose an employee who’s used to expressing their ideas while respecting everyone’s opinion, to set the tone of a knowledge sharing workspace.
Explore knowledge sharing tools
Organizing information makes pieces of content easier to access, sort, and understand. There are numerous software available for streamlining processes, seeking experts and asking questions, storing and sharing documents and videos, and instant messaging and video chatting.
For instance, a workplace communication tool like Slack can help you encourage and facilitate conversations among your employees. Meanwhile, a productivity suite like Office 365 Business Essentials offers several applications and a hub for teamwork, allowing for easier team collaboration.
The right knowledge sharing tools will encourage you and your team to contribute ideas and collaborate more efficiently.
Need tips on how to utilize technology to increase knowledge sharing within your business? Our experts have you covered. We at Integrated Technology Services (ITS) can help you grow your business in the Lowcountry with our comprehensive IT solutions.
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