10 Tips on Creating a Knowledge-Sharing Culture

Knowledge sharing culture

While healthy competition can keep your employees sharp. On the other hand, rivalry can be a reason for employees to start hoarding information in order to stay on top. This is not an environment that will give the best results for your company.

What is Knowledge-Sharing Culture?

Every company and organization has an environment ruled by a specific culture. This culture is based on both spoken and unspoken rules, levels of trust and camaraderie, and other qualities based on what encourages your employees to do their best. So, what does a knowledge-sharing culture involve?

In a knowledge-sharing culture, employees working and collaborating with each other is the rule of thumb. However, sharing knowledge within an organization is not just about collaboration, but providing the tools to do so as well. 

Implementing an open-door policy, creating an environment of trust and patience, along with appropriate software tools is a way to start a knowledge-sharing culture.

Why Create a Knowledge-Sharing Culture?

While a competitive culture forces employees to keep their skills updated, it can also scare away great talent and hinder productivity. Being able to effectively implement knowledge sharing will boost employee productivity by empowering your employees to share ideas and be open to positive feedback.

The average employee can spend about five hours every week searching for files and data they need to perform their tasks. This has caused Fortune 500 companies to lose roughly $31.5 billion yearly. 

Knowledge falls through the cracks in an overly competitive culture when employees move on. This causes new hires to spend longer learning the ropes. On top of that, the new hire would have a hard time finding someone to trust from whom to acquire the information they need.

How to Create a Knowledge-Sharing Culture?

1. Start an Open Door Policy

Your employees will not feel comfortable openly sharing information if management isn’t willing to do so as well. An open-door policy does not mean one’s workspace would be encroached on, it just means employees are welcome to share thoughts and ideas with their supervisors and team members. 

Employees should feel free to approach anyone in the company to answer any doubts or questions at any time, free of judgment. This would generate team bonding, which is pivotal to create a knowledge-sharing culture.

2. Implement Knowledge Sharing Software

What is your organization currently using as your task and information management system? Having a proper cloud-based knowledge-sharing software platform- like Kipwise- will allow anyone to access the information they need directly through their terminal. This will also make processing tasks quite easier and more effective.

3. Encourage Knowledge Sharing

Make sure there is time for your employees to share and bounce ideas among them. Some employees will be more excited than others to do so, harness the energy of those who are open to sharing.

It is also important for you to share information and upcoming projects with your employees. 

4. Reward Your Employees for Sharing Knowledge

Working in a knowledge-sharing culture is not always a natural process, some teams might find it easier if they are rewarded. External motivators -like when coffee shops give out a stamp card to returning customers. Offer such external motivators and rewards to everyone who shared ideas during a certain period.

Real-life rewards can be anything from free food and online gift cards to discounts for local shops.

5. Making Mistakes is Fine, but Document Them

For employees to know they feel comfortable sharing ideas, they must know making mistakes at work is O.K. and will not be judged or punished for it.

A way to do this is to not only discuss procedures and techniques that were successful, but also to analyze strategies that did not work as well and why. Use them as a learning experience, rather than a reason to judge and punish.

6. Assign Mentors

Hiring great talent is a priority for any organization, but you can lose time in training and getting them used to a knowledge-sharing culture. In all organizations, there’s a group of employees who are more knowledgeable or experienced. Capitalize on these team members by providing a platform to share their knowledge as mentors.

These mentors are meant to be someone the new hire can trust and go to with questions or concerns. It is important to note mentors are not meant to be your new employee’s immediate supervisor.

7. Allow Shadowing of  Employees by New Hires

Sometimes employees may simply not feel they have worthwhile knowledge or know what knowledge is worthwhile.

For such cases, you can arrange for your new hire to shadow someone who is comfortable in the knowledge-sharing culture. When the shadowing employees are able to observe how their co-worker operates, they will be more knowledgeable and, hopefully, be more comfortable sharing.

8. Ask Employees for Their Input

The best to know how your employees are feeling and how comfortable they feel sharing information is by asking them directly for their input. Assuming they don’t have valuable information or, that if they did, they would come to you unprompted. This is a mistake many organizations make.

It’s important to have a system to periodically collect feedback from your employees and other team members. This will ensure the knowledge-sharing culture is working as it should and employees feel comfortable in your organization. 

9. Schedule Social Events for Employees

Team bonding and building a sense of community, employees will become closer to each other and more comfortable sharing their ideas with each other. There can’t be teamwork if there isn’t a sense of a team.

When deciding on what social event to have, make sure is something all your employees can participate in.

10. Have Patience

You are taking the first step towards a healthier and more efficient work environment. However, you will need to be patient while your employees adjust. Competitive work environments are the norm, and employees who are used to this culture will have a hard time trusting a new culture.

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