How to create a culture of knowledge sharing in your company

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Imagine yourself in the following scenario: you are leading a training session on sales technique for a sizable team. During the session, the employees begin to collaborate actively, eagerly sharing personal insights and valuable information on how to approach sales more effectively. This moment is an example of the value of knowledge sharing, a powerful exchange of knowledge that can occur at all levels of an organization.

In the business world, this act of sharing knowledge is essential, as it allows each employee to learn and improve from the experience gained by their colleagues. However, in order for these actions to have a real impact on growth and development within a company, it is not enough for workers to simply receive advice from others. Instead, the process must be carried out with a firm strategy, clear communication, and the correct tools. Together, these measures will foster an effective culture of knowledge sharing. In this post, we’ll explain exactly how to achieve this.

What is a culture of knowledge sharing?

Knowledge, in a general context, is a set of information, skills and experiences accumulated over time, and typically acquired through observation, direct experience or education, both formal and informal. In a business setting, it becomes a powerful tool that guides our progress and allows us to understand, innovate and grow. This is what makes a culture of knowledge sharing far more than a simple learning strategy, requiring you to foster an environment where the free exchange of ideas, experiences and skills is actively encouraged.

Within this type of culture, knowledge comes to be perceived as a collective asset that enriches the whole organization, rather than an individual possession. This awareness promotes collaboration, transparency and openness, generating a consistent flow of information that nourishes decision-making and innovation alike.

The benefits of developing a culture of shared knowledge in your company

Knowledge exchange is the fundamental building block in creating a culture of shared knowledge. Exchanging knowledge helps to improve collaboration and teamwork, raises the level of performance across a whole organization, and allows employees to feel more valued. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits to a company of developing a culture of shared knowledge:

  • Employees feel more involved in the organization: Sharing knowledge helps employees to feel valued within their company. Not only does the act of sharing bring them recognition from their peers, but is also inherently rewarding, as the knowledge they share can benefit others.
  • Higher-quality content with less effort: Assembling a quality knowledge base within an organization makes it easier to prepare training courses, and reduces the effort involved in producing effective educational materials.
  • Accumulates knowledge for the whole company, not just one person: Developing a culture of shared knowledge ensures that information stays within an organization, and is not lost when an individual leaves. By implementing systems and practices that aim to share and capture knowledge systematically, the company can protect itself against potential loss due to employee turnover.
  • Helps to identify internal experts: Encouraging the exchange of knowledge within a company makes it easier to identify employees who, with the benefit of time and experience, have built up greater levels of knowledge. These experts can act as mentors for new employees, as well as fill positions that require more careful attention.
  • Easier, more agile problem solving: Within a culture of knowledge sharing, employees don’t need to waste time searching for an expert whenever they have a question. Instead, they have immediate access to a shared library of knowledge and resources where they can quickly get the information they need.
  • Improves the quality of the work environment: In working environments where knowledge is openly shared, employees feel more empowered. With easy access to the information they need, they can make quick, informed decisions, helping to stimulate creativity and innovation. What’s more, employees feel more open to participating and collaborating, thereby strengthening their sense of belonging and commitment to shared objectives.

Common obstacles when building a culture of knowledge sharing, and how to overcome them

Building a culture of knowledge sharing is an ongoing process – not only requiring you to consistently collect data, but also to foster a working environment where the free exchange of ideas, experiences and skills becomes the norm. However, in order to take these steps, it is first necessary to identify any individual or team behaviors that may be preventing you from progressing towards your goal, and determine how to change them:

  • Over-dependence on specific employees: when your team cannot complete a particular task or project because one of its members is absent, it implies a low level of general autonomy, and over-reliance on that one team member. In teams which enjoy a balanced culture of knowledge sharing, all members should bear a greater sense of individual responsibility, as well as an awareness of shared authority. This will help them to drive efficiency and operational flexibility. Each member must have both the ability and confidence to carry out tasks and projects individually, even in the absence of others.
  • Unfair competition: when one or more of your company’s employees withholds strategic information, looking to gain a personal advantage over their colleagues instead of sharing it for the benefit of the whole team. Within a culture of knowledge sharing, all members work together towards common goals, building balanced, reliable teams instead of seeking individual advantages.
  • Departmental silos: when individual departments or teams operate in isolation and jealously guard their knowledge, instead of sharing resources with other parts of the company. By encouraging the open exchange of knowledge and resources between different areas of the company, better synergy and integration can be achieved. All team members can then leverage the strengths and experiences of other departments to maximize operational efficiency at all levels of the organization.
  • Duplicated efforts: when different teams or departments are working on similar projects, and end up repeating efforts due to poor communication. This inevitably results in a waste of both time and resources. By facilitating open, transparent communication, the duplication of efforts can be minimized and available resources optimized, so teams can coordinate more efficiently to meet objectives.
  • A culture of secrecy: when information is kept under lock and key within a company, and passed only between a privileged few, instead of being shared openly and transparently at all levels. On the other hand, in a culture of knowledge sharing, trust and transparency can be built up effectively. An environment where information is shared freely at all organizational levels helps to foster a sense of belonging and commitment, and this in turn creates a positive and motivating atmosphere.

 

How to build a culture of knowledge sharing in your company

Now that we know which behaviors can limit us when attempting to establish a culture of knowledge sharing, it’s time to implement a strategy that allows us to enjoy all the advantages of a more open approach to knowledge and information. The following steps should help you to do this:

Step 1: Establish the value of knowledge

Before implementing any change in your organization, it’s important to first communicate your wider vision, or reason for change, to all team members. In this case, employees need to understand why sharing knowledge is so important, while leaders, whose role is to set an example to those employees, should not only understand its importance but also promote it.

Step 2: Assess current needs and tools

At this point, you’ll need to carry out a knowledge inventory – this consists of identifying which knowledge is essential among your employees, as well as who possesses it and what, if anything, is missing. Once you know this, you can plan a training strategy using tools that facilitate the free exchange of information.

Step 3: Choose tools and technologies that make collaboration and knowledge sharing easy

Not all organizations have spaces where employees can meet and share ideas. Luckily, there are technological tools available that allow you to share and access information whenever necessary. Let’s take a closer look at them below:

Authoring tools

When attempting to develop a culture of knowledge sharing in your organization, you should keep in mind that those who possess important skills and knowledge need an agile and simple way of sharing them with others. An authoring tool is perfect for this, as it allows users to create interactive, attractive training content without the need for prior design or programming skills.

With these tools, any user can create training courses, manuals and teaching materials, and then share them at any level of their organization. Look for a tool like isEazy Author that is easy to use, and offers you advanced features for collaboration, productivity and distribution, guaranteeing the best results in the shortest possible time.

Employee apps

Mobile applications designed specifically for employees are ideal for streamlining processes and improving communication – particularly in cases such as onboarding new team members. These apps allow you to share manuals, product catalogs, tutorials, resources and any other structured piece of information, so that each employee can easily access it from their smartphone.

Additionally, the best employee apps – like isEazy Engage – come with productivity-enhancing features, such as virtual assistants to help employees locate specific information and access personalized recommendations. It also offers collaborative areas with news feeds, notifications, individual/team chats and more, which help to connect your workforce wherever they are.

Learning Management Systems (LMS)

Another set of tools that can help you to promote a culture of knowledge sharing are learning management systems (LMS), which allow for the management, distribution and monitoring of online training and learning activities. These systems provide a centralized environment where employees can access all their courses, learning materials, and educational resources, making it easy to facilitate knowledge sharing throughout the organization.

Don’t know which to choose? Let us present isEazy LMS, an e-learning platform completely focused on user experience, with everything you need to manage and optimize your team’s training. Handle all your training, communication and corporate knowledge processes, while engaging your team with the most attractive, effective training available.

Step 4: Monitor, measure and improve!

To determine the success of your strategy, you can use the same tools we/ve mentioned above, integrating surveys, forums and evaluations to measure the skills and knowledge your employees have acquired. Then, you can make adjustments based on the collected feedback and data, in a bid to constantly improve.

Best practices when building a culture of shared knowledge

We’ve taken a close look at the advantages of implementing a culture of shared knowledge in your company, and examined how to break down the main barriers to achieving it. However, at this stage, you’re probably wondering exactly how to integrate it into the day-to-day life of your business. Below, we share 7 valuable tips to help you on your way:

1. Integrate knowledge sharing into your company’s DNA

If you want your employees to apply effort to sharing knowledge, then you’ll need to be strategic about it. From general managers right down to newly arrived workers, your whole team of professionals should be aware of the benefits offered by the practice. Likewise, leaders should also set an example by clearly identifying it as one of their team’s objectives, frequently encouraging knowledge exchange as well as allocating time for it.

2. Make knowledge sharing easy

Forget about complicated tools and processes. Your experts might know the content inside-out, but they are not computer programmers or designers. You need to provide a tool that makes creating courses as simple as possible, so that the knowledge sharing process is easy and accessible to everyone. This way, you’ll get the best results, as well as minimize subsequent work.

Don’t know which tool to choose? Look for a platform like isEazy Engage to help you share knowledge, which allows you to create content and share it intuitively. This will facilitate the knowledge management process and make the task of sharing it as simple as possible.

3. Identify which content is most appropriate for your employees to generate

Employee-generated content is perfect for creating synergy and building communities, as well as establishing support networks that optimize learning. However, not every employee should cover every subject. Aim to identify which topics are most appropriate to be generated by different members of your team. For example, knowledge of products or processes would be ideal areas to work on with a sales or administrative team . However, issues relating to regulation or skills would be best left in the hands of qualified professionals.

4. Make shared knowledge useful

It’s crucial to ensure that each piece of information your employees share answers a specific question or solves a commonly encountered problem. This will allow your workforce to perceive the value of sharing their talent, as doing so will help them to resolve their day-to-day issues more quickly.

In order to achieve this, first prepare a catalog of key learnings within your organization, then identify the knowledge that would allow your employees to attain them. Next, prompt feedback by asking your employees which pieces of knowledge they are finding most useful, how the sharing process could be improved, and if there are any elements missing. This way, your team will help to shape the common knowledge base into what it needs to be.

5. Ensure that everyone benefits from shared knowledge

There’s little point in creating a culture of sharing knowledge if that knowledge is not available to the entire organization. Think about how you intend to structure the content, as well as what technology you plan to use, so that finding the answer to those key questions becomes a piece of cake!

6. Promote and expand knowledge sharing

In reality, employees are often very busy and lack the time needed to delve into a company’s entire knowledge base. However, it’s crucial that they know of its existence and how to access it. This is particularly important for new professionals, who will of course not know that the base exists unless someone tells them about it. So, don’t forget to communicate: regularly release tips, show off what new content has been incorporated into the base, and make this knowledge public on your internal communication platform.

7. Reward those who share knowledge

Positive reinforcement is essential, so use it to your advantage. If an employee shares their professional knowledge within the workplace, then reward them. Don’t forget that there are many ways to do this beyond just financial remuneration. We previously touched on the notion of making knowledge sharing one of your team objectives, but you can also use it as a basis for internal promotion.

Using this strategy, you can allay the fear of being fired that some employees may have. Additionally, try allowing employees to “sign” the content they create, rewarding them with small gifts, or recognizing their work in public. All of these techniques will make employees feel valued whenever they share knowledge.

Developing a culture of shared knowledge in the digital age

Sharing knowledge in the workplace is essential to improving organizational efficiency and productivity. This is true in both hybrid and remote environments, such as those many companies were forced to adopt due to COVID-19 restrictions. In these environments, knowledge sharing is especially valuable for new employees, since it allows them to quickly absorb and utilize the knowledge of more experienced employees to get a good grasp of internal processes, role expectations, and company culture.

The use of technology has become essential in accommodating knowledge sharing. This is because tools that are designed to facilitate communication and collaboration between employees allow for a much more fluid transfer of knowledge. In fact, a recent study highlighted that the ease-of-use of technologies has a significant effect on the success of information networks within organizations. What’s more, an increasing number of companies are assuming hybrid work models, with 28.2% of employees working under the scheme – and 12.7% completely remotely – according to recent data.

Maintaining a high level of collaboration and knowledge sharing in the face of these changes will require a greater reliance on digital tools in the workplace.

An in-depth look at knowledge sharing: real-life success stories

Workplaces that develop and promote a culture of shared knowledge not only stimulate their employees’ personal growth, but also strengthen their organizational fabric. Today, through an array of diverse strategies, many companies have created an environment where learning and sharing form an integral part of everyday business life. Let’s look at the inspiring case of just one of the organizations that have managed to achieve this:

Clarel combines training and talent discovery with a knowledge sharing strategy

An excellent example of knowledge sharing in practice is the case of Clarel, a network of specialist beauty stores that has implemented simultaneous training across its more than 1,000 points of sale in Spain. Using isEazy tools, the company managed to create and distribute training to its entire sales team, uncovering hidden talent within the workforce – and even assembling a group of influencers in the process. This team is now responsible for creating company content, and has become a point of reference for the rest of the organization. See the full success story!

Eager to discover more success stories? We reveal how we help our clients meet their goals and fulfill their training needs. Check out our success stories.

Make knowledge sharing a reality in your company with isEazy

Remember that developing a culture of shared knowledge within your company is not something you can achieve overnight. It takes continuous effort, but rewards it in the long term with greater innovation and efficiency, increased employee satisfaction and retention, and much more.

So, if you’re looking for the ideal tool to help you achieve all of this, then at isEazy, we’ve got you covered. Our quick-to-configure, easy-to-use software will help you achieve your business objectives. Find the perfect tool for every challenge, or combine them to achieve even more extraordinary results. So what are you waiting for? Request a demo today!

Frequently Asked Questions about Knowledge Sharing Culture

To overcome obstacles in establishing a knowledge-sharing culture in any company, it’s essential to foster an open culture that promotes transparency and communication at all levels. Additionally, implementing tools and platforms that facilitate the exchange of information can make this process easier and more efficient.

There are several companies that have successfully implemented knowledge sharing. For example, Clarel, a network of beauty stores with more than 1,000 outlets in Spain, has managed to identify the talents of its employees and facilitate the creation of a group of influencers who are now responsible for creating training content on products for the entire workforce. There are many other success stories like this that you can refer to.

Leaders play a crucial role in this process. Alongside mentors or long-time professionals within the company, they can guide less experienced employees by sharing their knowledge and experiences. This not only helps employees learn and grow professionally but also creates an environment of trust and collaboration.

First, it’s important to establish a clear vision that emphasizes the importance of sharing information and communicate it across all levels of the organization. Then, you can implement training programs that teach employees how to share knowledge effectively. It is also useful to provide platforms and spaces where employees can easily and accessibly share information. Finally, recognizing and rewarding those employees who actively contribute to knowledge sharing can motivate others to follow their example.

 

Cristina Sánchez

CONTENT CREATED BY:

Cristina Sánchez

Digital PR Specialist at isEazy

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