Do you get upset if a colleague criticizes you or gives you negative feedback? And do you forget to use those experiences that others have made when you are solving your work tasks?
If yes, then take a closer look at how knowledge sharing can become an integrated part of your company. It will help you become an efficient learning organization.
What is Knowledge Sharing?
Maybe you think that you already have a lot of knowledge sharing internally in your organization. What about all the information like reports, product knowledge, rules, document, and procedures you have available?
But the case is that this available information often only contains 10 % of the knowledge sharing.
80-90 % of the knowledge sharing is the more unconscious “silent” knowledge. It includes the individual person’s experiences, the mistakes we previously have made, together with competencies, professional methods, knowledge, and learning.
A Supporting Learning Environment
Do you bluntly tell your opinion to a colleague? Or are you more hesitant? The premise for creating a supportive environment is that everyone should feel safe to express their thoughts and opinions (Peakon, 2018).
A supporting learning environment has room for mistakes and lets you share your thoughts. Including your mistakes. Sharing mistakes and learnings support the whole organization – without nasty backtalks and glares. Instead, allowing mistakes will open up to innovation.
Also, remember to evaluate the individual projects: What went well and what went less well? And from a manager's perspective, you need to engage yourself too by setting a good example.
As a manager, try to be open in debates, ask for new perspectives, and invite people to give criticism and feedback.
How to Spread your Knowledge
It strengthens the business when you share the knowledge and experiences that are already available among the employees. Nonetheless, knowledge sharing is complex and requires good management.
To begin with, in the knowledge management process, it's a good idea to develop mentor programs internally in the organization.
Having well-established mentor programs and processes will provide your less experienced employees better opportunities to develop faster.
Getting advice and counseling from experienced colleagues is not only good for the less experienced employees. It is a good way to encourage employees in their growth and work.
The mentors often gain a lot from the mentor programs as well. They become better at expressing in words the knowledge they already have available and will understand their work better too.
Many also find it inspiring and rewarding to participate in a colleague's growth and development.
Internal Subject Matter Experts
Encouraging your employees to share what they know will foster the knowledge sharing culture in your company. Use your internal Subject Matter Experts(SME)! They are great to facilitate the knowledge sharing activities.
Having your SMEs sharinging their know-how, expertise and knowledge with the rest of your employees who it might be relevant to, is a knowledge-goldmine. Make them part of the content creation no matter what the format it will be.
All though they might have great knowledge, they are not always the experts in transforming it into pedagogical great learning content. The recommendation is to have someone from your Learning & Development team to work closely with them.
The content created in collaboration with your SMEs can then be presented either as a physically workshop or as we recommend, in digital format. Example of digital ways of making the knowledge available in your organization will be discussed here below.
Want to know more on how to create SME-learning content? Check out this article.
Digital Knowledge Sharing
To facilitate knowledge sharing, a Learning Management System (LMS) can be useful. In the LMS you can create bite-sized learning modules based on your knowledge. This way, you can make it work as a knowledge management system to help your employees exchange information.
It's a good way of transforming the knowledge you have into easy to accessible learning content. You can use your LMS as an internal wiki for both current and future employees. Share your knowledge
Alternatively, you can announce knowledge sharing through your communication channels. For example, when an oral presentation will be given for a specific employee group.
Who knows – with an open invitation, other departments might be able to see the benefit of the knowledge shared.
Social Learning Wall
If you are using a good LMS, there is usually a feature called Social Learning. This can be used to engage and let your employees exchange information easily with each other.
It works similarly to how so many of our social media walls work on platforms such as LinkedIn & Facebook.
The important is that knowledge transfer happens! The purpose of knowledge sharing is to keep as much information in the organization as possible. By doing this, you will support the development and innovation of both the company and team members.
Example: How is Knowledge Shared in an Organization
Let's take ourselves as an example. At Learningbank, we often have cross-professional groups and departments. A lot of the work we do needs to be coordinated in collaboration with different people from different departments.
You might be able to find similarities in how you work in your organization – or perhaps you can be inspired.
Here are a few examples of knowledge sharing and sharing of competencies in our organization:
- One of our implementation consultants has supplied voice to a digital learning module for a client
- Marketing has helped with voice-over script and setup of audio equipment to recording
- Marketing has proofread content used for the digital learning modules
- The Customer Adoption team has helped with facilitating workshops about the platform
- HR and a project manager help test UX in the platform, as they understand the user’s way of thinking
- Sales & Adoption provide information from our end users and customers to both the marketing and development team
- We also create learning g modules on certain topics that is shared with and mandatory to the whole organization
Key Take Aways
- Start a mentor system
- Make a safe learning environment
- Share the mistakes, so others don’t make them
- Evaluate the projects
- Be open to criticism and feedback as a manager
- Use your SMEs to create learning content
- Share your knowledge digitally in an LMS
- Use your competencies across departments