The Ultimate Guide to Knowledge Share Techniques
by Elle Werle
“Knowledge is power. Knowledge shared is power multiplied.” – Robert Noyce, Co-Founder of Intel
According to a report from the Society for Human Resource Management, Fortune 500 companies lose about $32 billion each year by simply failing to share knowledge. And these are the most effective, efficient, and profitable companies out there!
We challenge you to find a situation in which knowledge shared would not improve things. Whether it’s at work, home, school, in your relationships, or elsewhere, knowledge truly has the power to change dynamics, motivate, correct, and help people thrive.
Knowledge Share Techniques
While a lot of knowledge sharing is done informally via chats and Slack, we can make an effort to formally schedule into our workflows. Benefits include a better understanding of each other, teams being on the ‘same page’, fewer meetings, more comprehensive understanding, and more.
Here we present and discuss ways that you can infuse knowledge sharing into your organization.
Create a culture where everyone can talk to everyone else. Where everyone wants to talk to everyone else! This can be done in a few ways. First, and so simple it sounds silly, you can start by physically removing barriers. For those of you at the office, an open-plan concept (or at least open-door policy) can make higher-ups more approachable.
For remote and hybrid teams, managers and C-levels can make themselves available with an ‘open-door’ policy on Slack, email, and/or other communication platforms. Video is also encouraged as it creates a much more personal touch, and can take less time than it takes to type up an email.
We all want to be a part of a workplace that is fun and effective. A place where you actually want to be. The very basis of this culture is a workplace where people communicate freely.
2. Knowledge Bases
We’re just going to come out and say it: knowledge bases are awesome.
Most of us see them on websites of products and services we use (here is an example). Typically these are customer-facing, and generally include a list of FAQs and troubleshooting guides for clients to self-serve before having to reach out to a customer service team member.
But there are so many other amazing applications for a knowledge base. Create one internally, as an ordered repository of information. It is a place where knowledge is shared organization-wide and indexed. You can include video tutorials, step-by-step guides, flowcharts, and more.
Dismantle information silos in your organization with knowledge share tools like knowledge bases.
3. Use Multiple Knowledge Share Tools
Do not limit the people within your organization with a lack of tools. People learn in different ways, and you want to make sure everyone is on the same page. People generally share knowledge through email, Slack, text, or just chatting with each other.
We encourage you not to forget video. Video is an indispensably effective tool for knowledge sharing. Specifically a tool that allows you to record yourself and your screen simultaneously. This way you get the personal touch and tonality of a video, with the demonstrative ability of a screen share.
Whatever tools your organization decides to use, encourage the use of them tirelessly. Everyone should use them (see below point). Ask your colleagues what tools they use the most, find to be most effective, and enjoy using.
4. Lead By Example
Whether remote or not, culture and mindset should be modelled from the very top. Senior stakeholders should practice what they preach by demonstrating the value in knowledge sharing.
This means that collaboration will be more important than hierarchy. Senior colleagues shouldn’t be willing to co-author, share, collaborate, co-create, and move toward a goal as a unified team. A vibe and culture that normalizes knowledge sharing from the top down will lead to more of it.
5. Manage Information Silos
According to Investopedia, an information silo is “an information management system that is unable to freely communicate with other information management systems.” Within an organization this plays out as departments that don’t share information.
Some reasons that information silos are formed are because management doesn’t see the benefit of integrating a system with others, or because it does not want to or can’t afford to make the necessary changes.
There are a few key problems with information silos. First, they can create redundancy by making multiple people look for the same info in different places. Second, they create confusion when information from different sources doesn’t match. Gone unchecked, this can lead to frustration. In the end, misinformation due to the lack of transparency ultimately creates preventable inefficiencies.
6. ID Internal Communication Barriers
Clear communication and the natural ability to communicate with colleagues is key to preventing barriers. Online forums or activities to facilitate communication can be helpful, especially to ‘get the ball rolling.’
Whenever knowledge sharing is not a seamless, simple process, a communication barrier exists. Provide tips, feedback, suggestions, and guides for colleagues to improve their communication skills and remove these barriers. Informed and communicative employees have the headspace to help your business grow.
Sharing knowledge within your organization is imperative, but likely won’t come naturally. With a purposefully designed workplace culture, the right tools, and effective leadership, any organization can become a “knowledge share” institution.
Understanding the importance of sharing knowledge is a great place to start, both for senior and junior stakeholders. For happier employees and a more profitable bottom line, make sure knowledge can flow through your organization seamlessly.