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9 Ways to Improve and Promote Knowledge Sharing in the Workplace

The knowledge and expertise of employees are a company's greatest asset. Sharing knowledge with each other drives up the value of employee knowledge and is considered an essential contributor to successful companies.

Sharing knowledge within a workplace leads to superior team performance and is a source of competitive advantage. Particularly within the teams driving productivity and innovation, knowledge sharing enhances capability and quality.

The benefits of sharing information at work are many: employee engagement; collective learning; innovation stimulation; positive employee experience; improved customer experience; knowledge retention; better problem solving and decision making; and remote employee education and onboarding. 

In order to improve knowledge-sharing at the workplace, companies need to create a collaborative environment.

Here are 9 ways to encourage knowledge sharing and collaboration in your organization:

1. Reduce Communication Barriers Between Employees

In order for a business to run smoothly and carry out the necessary day-to-day operations in an efficient manner, communication amongst all employees must be as effective and clear as possible. When this is not the case, employees feel detached from one another and unmotivated, which in turn results in mistakes that could potentially have drastic consequences on the business' productivity. 

This can be done in various ways, such as creating a platform to facilitate knowledge sharing, which could be in the form of an online knowledge-sharing forum where employees share their ideas for innovation and current experiments or using easy-to-access communication tools like emails, video calls, or Push-to-talk over cellular and chats. Furthermore, it could also take the form of an afterword activity (such as lunch or drink meet-ups), where senior employees can get to know the newer employees, and provide them with tips and recommendations on their new positions in the company.

Upskilling employees' communication skills through training courses can also help spread open, respectful, and authentic communication at your company.

2. Ensure Access to All Employees to the Pre-Existing Resources on Your Drives

Continuously updating knowledge into a central and easily accessible storage place is considered the best way to capture and share a team's knowledge. 

With tools like Google Drive and SharePoint available today, it's never been easier to make training and "how to" documents or videos easily accessible throughout a company.

Make sure that your employees know what resources are available to them and where they can find them. Also, make it company policy to put any document that will be used by more than one person in shared files rather than saving them to their computer's hard drive.

3. Set up Regular Team Catch-Up Meetings

Even within a team, it can be hard for employees to keep track of what their teammates are up to. Set up a weekly catch-up where everyone talks about what they are working on and might need help with. They will quickly discover how they can help one another. 

Asking team members to share their ideas and knowledge with each other will not only make them feel good but encourage others to also share their ideas.

If your company is larger, encourage collaboration between employees with similar roles on different teams. Not only will this allow people to get to know each other, but it opens the door for more knowledge sharing on a day-to-day basis.

4. Ease up on the Competition

A willingness to share information needs to be developed within the enterprise. While competition can be a great motivator in some cases, it also tends to shut down wider collaboration among different company groups. Reward knowledge-sharing and make sure that everyone understands how helping each other can help the company succeed-- creating more opportunities for everyone. 

5. Have Senior Employees Mentor New Employees

Your employees are your greatest resource when it comes to knowledge and experience. Make sure that your more senior employees have the opportunity to share what they know with the next generation of employees.

Not only does it help new employees learn and give them a prescribed person to go to for advice, but mentors get to expand their skills. They learn how to mentor and coach while obliging them to communicate the knowledge they worked so hard to gain-- transferring it from their brains into words. 

A mentoring training program to help individuals learn new skills, improve their performance and achieve their full potential, can help you get your prospective mentors started.

6. Provide Spaces for Employees to Have Informal Conversations

Whether formal or informal, knowledge sharing is considered the ultimate form of learning. Creating gathering places in the office that employees will naturally be drawn to during lunch or break time is one way to encourage this. Cozy sofas and tables, fancy coffee machines, and even recreational spots like ping-pong or pool tables can contribute to the sharing of knowledge.

Thoughtful recreation of impromptu "water cooler chats" is what you're after.

7. Create Opportunities for Cross-Functional Corporate-Level Projects

Working on something as part of a larger company project is a great way for employees to accomplish point four above (Ease up on the Competition). When employees work as part of a larger group they begin to better understand the purpose of their own team and how their work fits into larger corporate goals, not to mention expand their critical thinking and problem-solving.

As they share experiences and knowledge, employees learn they are more similar than they are different despite working in different parts of the company.

8. Allow For Constructive Feedback

The human element of a team is often neglected or overlooked by management. And this means conflict can arise. Different personalities, deadlines, and spending long hours together are all contributors to stress and friction.

Feedback in these heated moments makes a terrible advisor when the stakes are high. 

To prevent escalation or to detect issues proactively, regular feedback meetings can help everyone share opinions and "clear the air". You could discuss both work-related issues as well as settle interpersonal quarrels. The goal, at the end of the day, is to be able to have everyone be able to move forward and focus on the tasks at hand.

If team members are afraid to talk to one another then information sharing stagnates and the team becomes less effective. Of course, there is a difference between constructive feedback and complaining. Communication skills training can encourage teams to be open with and respectful of one another when providing feedback. 

Still, in every workplace environment, there are people who are less outspoken than others. To ensure even the more introverted team members have an opportunity to be heard, it is not a bad idea to use tools like feedback surveys, private message boxes, and Slack channels, for example.

9. Encourage Intra-Team Mixing

A sales guy and a tech guy might not naturally interact with one another during the workday. But, if you were to schedule regular meetings where they can exchange their personal experiences and share their knowledge about projects, products or services, the benefits will unfold.

Similar to the benefits of regular team meetings, asking intra-team members to share ideas and knowledge with each other will open up perspectives and ideas that would not occur had they continued to work in silos. 

Knowledge sharing is essential for a corporation to run smoothly and uninterrupted. Companies cannot afford to have knowledge walk out the door with leaving employees. A workplace culture that fosters knowledge sharing not only builds on the company's collective knowledge but creates a positive employee experience. 

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Last updated: 04 Nov 2022

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