How Fostering A Knowledge-Sharing Culture Can Lead To A Success Story
Sharing knowledge has been an important fuel in society’s evolution engine. Deriving from the past, this process has made its way into the corporate environment successfully. We talk by experience, since here in eLI we have been blessed to witness the tremendous effects of a solidified knowledge-sharing culture which also lifted us to the Best Workplaces in Greece 2022. Since we love sharing knowledge, we are happy to share our experience about it as part of our 10th-year anniversary articles. After all, sharing is caring, right?
Let us kick off with a combination of two well-known quotes: “knowledge is power” and “teamwork makes the dream work.” Putting these two together can unlock the potential of a knowledge-sharing culture. In general, a team depends on the varying expertise of its members. Every member is called upon to share their knowledge and unify their efforts towards one main goal. Here at eLI, we respect and ask for every member’s knowledge when we want to move forward. After all, each employee brings a different perspective to the whole, and that can lead to endless opportunities for innovation.
In this article, we present the most effective methods to build a knowledge-sharing culture in your organization. But first, let’s start with a story from one of our members, shall we?
A Story From An eLI Member
Is there a better way to explain knowledge sharing than by asking an employee to share their experience? We think not. Therefore, here is a real-life example of benefiting from this unique working culture:
“If I want to be honest, I did not have much experience before working at eLI. When I came on board, I was eager to learn more and develop both my skills and my personality. That eventually led me to become a great listener, taking notes and asking questions. Task by task I was able to gain confidence, develop, and evolve in the workplace. One of the ingredients was the knowledge-sharing culture. Since day one, I was able to gain every possible information asset associated with my tasks. In simple terms, I had the right toolset to get the job done. In such an environment, I can contact and share my ideas with anyone in the company, allowing me to contribute further than my current role allows.
Equally shocking was the moment my colleagues and managers started asking for my opinion on projects. This interest to learn from me got my attention immediately and changed my attitude. I realized that people here respect and value the opinions of others. That was also happening with tasks I had no expertise in. Immediately, my view on how a corporate environment should operate changed for the better. I, myself, try to pass this knowledge-sharing culture to the new employees and witness with pride the same light in their eyes that once covered mine!”
5 Ways To Cultivate A Knowledge-Sharing Culture In Your Company
1. Build And Preserve A Knowledge-Sharing Culture
As you might have already imagined, creating a culture of sharing knowledge from scratch is not an easy task to do. It requires research, implementation, testing, and maintenance. However, every big journey starts with a single step! So, let’s take a look at the bite-sized guide for this.
Encourage Your Employees To Share
The magic of a workplace is that every individual is different. They all bring a variety of skills and personalities that all fit in the pattern of company values. What this also means is that not everyone is open to communicating and sharing. Usually, it is something that they might have inherited from their previous professional experience or personal life events. Your task in this case is to show your employees that the workplace culture you dream of is different from what they have expected or experienced in the past.
How to encourage your employees to share knowledge? You can start by making them feel valued for what they know and contribute to the team. In general, an employee who feels confident in their knowledge is more likely to share it with their colleagues. Moreover, start practicing listening. Show by example that you are not an all-knowing person and be open to hearing advice from the expertise of your employees.
Incorporate Knowledge Sharing In Daily Tasks
By practicing something daily, everyone gets better at it, right? The same applies to concepts like the knowledge-sharing culture. Pave the path to success by starting with a stepping stone, such as a small task. Any small, daily tasks can include an aspect of knowledge sharing. Therefore, you might want to consider applying it to all the tasks of the company afterward. What will the outcome be? Well, you will notice that everyone will provide opinions on both small and large tasks, which will unlock opportunities that you yourself might have missed.
Would you share your personal information with a stranger? I guess the answer is no. Well, guess what. Neither would your employees! This fact brings up the necessity for team bonding. Solid team bonding certainly takes time to achieve, but the process itself is fun and entertaining. Simply put, start by organizing team-bonding activities and sessions on a regular basis. Such activities might include fun games, quizzes, sports activities, or even trips. After a while, you will witness the work steam leaving your employees’ bodies, tasks being completed more efficiently, and a unique working environment being created.
2. Top-To-Bottom Knowledge Sharing
Creating a fruitful culture of knowledge sharing cannot happen in a day. You have to start small by incorporating it into the C-suite. If you can do it successfully, then, with the valuable help of your executives, you can pass it on to your employees.
In short, lead by example. Start sharing your knowledge with the team, take an active part in the related activities, and be open to listening. This will not only create a wisdom-sharing working environment, but it will also help maintain it by including it in the engine of your company. If implemented successfully, your current workforce will even be able to guide the new employees into this unique culture immediately.
3. Reward And Recognition
“The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more,” as Jonas Salk stated. So, is there a better way to implement a new working culture than through reward and recognition? Well, we assume not. After all, a rewarded behavior can easily become a repeated one. In an efficient reward system, you will not only be able to reinforce your working environment with knowledge sharing but will also keep your employees motivated to further improve it.
Here at eLI, we have implemented reward and recognition in every aspect of our functionality. These 10 years have led us to an understanding of the power of a solidified recognition system. We believe that every company, in any industry, should incorporate knowledge sharing with rewards. How to do so? Well, you might want to consider starting to build a reward system that matches your company’s requirements. For instance, offer rewards like free lunch tickets or gift cards as a recognition for a knowledge-sharing action. Needless to say that rewards do not always have to be related to money. An example of a knowledge-sharing recognition could also be an extra day off. In general, make your employees feel happy with what they do, show them how valuable it is, and you will witness the blooming of the new working culture.
4. Identify And Eliminate Knowledge-Sharing Barriers
Have you ever seen these old-fashioned offices where every faculty is separated by thick walls and strict rules? Or, have you ever seen teams in which everyone operates individually, looking only at their screen? Well, these mentioned scenarios still exist in corporate environments and can contain communication barriers. As the term states, such barriers affect knowledge sharing directly. This is why it is vital to identify knowledge-sharing barriers and eliminate them timely.
The way to achieve this varies in different companies. However, some common tips could be to ensure the following:
The most important aspect of company success is teamwork. As the saying goes, “teamwork makes the dream work,” and we could not agree more. Witness how teamwork in your company operates in certain tasks. Then you might be able to uncover communication barriers in some of your team members and focus on vanquishing them.
We can even state this one as a “taboo” of large corporations. There are many reported cases in which some team members from one faculty have never even met people from other faculties in the same company. That fact alone blocks the communication between them and does not allow knowledge sharing to flow.
Therefore, encourage cross-faculty social interactions and teamwork tasks to ensure that your company works as a unity.
Of course, in order to secure a successful knowledge-sharing culture, you have to ensure that the information flows uninterrupted. In a corporate environment, we mainly witness two types of information flows that require our attention. One is top-to-bottom, where the knowledge starts its journey from a higher place in the organizational pyramid to the bottom. Ensuring that knowledge flows without interruption in this case will make guidance more efficient for your employees.
On the other hand, there is bottom-to-top information flow, in which the knowledge starts its journey from the employees. This is equally important to secure since such knowledge can lead to improvements that the C-suite could not identify. It may also unlock opportunities, strengthen innovation, and build a trustworthy relationship between the executives and the workforce.
5. Make Use Of Knowledge-Sharing Tools And Workflows
Let us not forget that we live in a digital world. More and more platforms and applications jump in front of our workplaces to automate processes. Knowledge sharing could not be an exception. You can always make use of communication, employee engagement, and management tools to ensure the endless flow of information. With the right tools, your employees can have access to all the necessary information to make the right decisions and meet your company goals efficiently and effectively.
Sharing knowledge is a valuable gift we humans are able to provide to each other. Here at eLI, we have been bearing its fruits for the last 10 years, and we will continue to do so with passion. Therefore, we strongly believe that you should incorporate it as a core value in your company culture as well. Keep encouraging your employees to share their knowledge, ask for their opinions, and allow them access to possible information. This will pave the way for innovation and success.
Interested in learning more about our core values at eLearning Industry? Then check out The Best Things Begin On Balconies: A Celebration Of Our 10th Year to read our recipe for a revolutionary working culture.
Since we talked about knowledge sharing, how about sharing your knowledge with us, too? You can get in the action by providing a guest post and contributing to the ongoing evolution of the eLearning community!