In the past companies suffered because employees were sitting on knowledge and not sharing it with their colleagues. The end result has been that employees were not working effectively since they have had trouble accessing critical organizational knowledge. Luckily, this trend is changing.
In today’s knowledge-based work environment, much of what we need to know we learn from others’ experiences. A critical question we need to answer is, “How do we encourage our employees to share their knowledge?”
Below are a few examples of how you can encourage knowledge sharing within your organization
Coaching. Each employee needs a mentor or a coach. Employees need to work with a coach who will help them succeed within the organization, provide daily input about their work, and guide them toward adopting the organization’s best practices. Developing an organizational model where employees receive recognition for demonstrating their personal growth within the organization can be an excellent tool.
What’s in it for me? Is the question you, as a manager, need to answer. Our personal context is usually the first filter we use when evaluating our environment. This is especially true when we’re asked to participate in some type of organizational change.
Rewards. Reward your employees for contributing valuable knowledge. Recognition is a very important internal motivator, and when you recognize your employees, they will be motivated to contribute, collaborate, and identify new opportunities.
Feedback. Continuous feedback is a natural part of the job, and it is important for developing an employee’s motivation, satisfaction, and performance. When an employee is motivated with constructive feedback, for example, with positive evaluations and recognition, they will behave in a manner that will result in a better appraisal. Rewarding individuals who share knowledge will drive this behavior.
Integrations. Make it easy for your employees to share so they can do what they do best, help the customers. Organizations are shifting toward a work environment that is more specialized and adaptive. Many organizations have implemented a knowledge-based tool to deliver more effective support for their employees. Once the knowledge tool is in place, it can be integrated with the organization’s ITSM or Incident Management system. An integrated knowledge solution makes support easier for both customers and the IT support organization.
Encourage vicarious learning. People often hesitate to ask others for help or advice since it requires admitting that they don’t know something is important. Instead, employees work in isolation, and often recreate work that their colleagues may have already completed. Acknowledge people who engage in interactive learning and recycle (rather than reinvent) knowledge. Encourage an open-door environment that encourages employees to seek and share knowledge.
Training. Receiving professional knowledge training through an external organization often helps inspire employees to adopt a knowledge sharing strategy. Management realizes that there is a great need for effective knowledge education and training. Effective training helps develop an organization’s knowledge-sharing culture.
Companies are sitting on far more knowledge and expertise than they realize. Creating the conditions that enable and encourage vicarious learning are critical for bringing out the best a team or organization has to offer.
As Lew Platt, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard (HP) said,
“if only HP knew what HP knows, we would be three times more productive.”
Implementing a motivating methodology
If you think the above sounds interesting, you should look into the methodology Knowledge Centered Support (KCS). Contact us for more information.
Lena Stormvinge, Knowledge Specialist, ComAround