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How Knowledge Sharing Can Become Second Nature for Your Business

July 12, 2022

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Research suggests that 95% of employees would leave their jobs if they had no opportunity to learn and grow.

That means that full transparency and opportunities for growth are non-negotiable if you want to avoid high turnover rates.

But regularly committing to knowledge sharing — especially in a large organization — can be difficult without the proper practices in place.

This article can help you get started.

Keep reading to learn…

  • What knowledge sharing is.
  • How sharing knowledge brings value to your company. 
  • Which employees benefit most from knowledge sharing.
  • Step-by-step guidance for improving knowledge sharing in your business.
  • Examples of what effective knowledge sharing looks like.

Knowledge sharing? What’s that?

A man looking concerned saying "Oh God. Umm. What's that?"

Knowledge sharing is just exactly what it sounds like. It’s the practice of sharing information between individuals, teams, departments, and business units. It includes both explicit and implicit information.

For example, an experienced HR employee might teach a new employee how to follow explicitly-documented practices. Or, they may share implicit knowledge they learned through experiences, such as common problems and system shortcuts.

Why knowledge sharing matters

Here's how knowledge sharing can bring value to your company:

Improved internal development.

According to Gallup, replacing a single employee can cost a company up to two times their annual salary. That’s a huge chunk of change that clearly shows the importance of employee retention.

Point is, employees who can grow are more likely to stick around.

Internal mobility keeps employees within an organization for twice as long. Hiring from within isn’t just convenient in terms of knowing your staff but also when it comes to saving money.

Internal growth is made possible through education and awareness — your business’ future leaders need easy access to standard operating procedures, department hierarchies, and best practices.

Creating consistent, replicable practices for knowledge sharing makes it easier to achieve internal development goals by priming your in-house superstars with the information they need to advance.

Break down silos.

In small-to-medium organizations, silos tend to pop up across different departments. These silos may never communicate with one another, regardless of how beneficial interdepartmental knowledge sharing might be.

Knowledge sharing breaks down silos by giving team members across your organization an easier way to share what they learn while working.You never know what pieces of information will be of value to members of different teams.

For example, streamlining communication across sales and IT may not be a big deal until a website is involved. Having consistent branding and messaging is crucial, and requires two very different departments to share expertise.

Share valuable learned information.

Experienced employees learn a ton about their jobs (and the best ways to do them) by virtue of experience.

The soft skills you learn through experience may not be as well documented as your salesforce SOPs, even though there’s real value to be gained there.

By creating a system for knowledge sharing, you can document and share the learned information living in your most experienced employees’ heads and into resources that anyone can access.

Create a healthy workplace culture.

If you have hybrid or remote-only workers, it can be tough to create a cohesive culture. And indeed, many remote workers cite collaboration as one of the key problems they face in the workplace.

Establishing consistent practices for knowledge sharing can help resolve some of these issues.

Remote and hybrid workers can consistently communicate and learn from their peers so that they experience the same best practices as onsite employees.

A woman telling another woman, "We're fantastic together."

Which employees benefit most from knowledge sharing?

Remote workers.

Remote workers benefit tremendously from improved organizational knowledge sharing for all of the reasons covered in the last section. These workers can improve at a faster rate when you’ve built out your organizational knowledge sharing capabilities.

New hires.

New hires certainly stand to gain from any knowledge sharing strategies your team uses.

Team leaders can put together onboarding experiences and training packages that are comprehensive, interdepartmental, and robust. That way, new hires don’t miss out on niche knowledge that can catapult them from newbie to pro.

A knowledge sharing plan geared toward new hires can help you create more effective training modules, allowing you to get the most bang for your buck with your newest team members.

Future leaders.

Knowledge sharing can also bridge gaps for hidden leaders.

Having access to learning materials can turn potential into performance. Giving your staff superstars access to tribal knowledge will give new employees a faster head start in their new roles, allowing them to get on their feet and dive into their work more quickly. Not only that, it’ll give them the opportunity to stand out faster, and make their broader potential known.

Everyone.

The three groups mentioned above might be initial targets of a knowledge sharing initiative, but really, everyone on your team stands to gain something — after all, knowledge is power.

The more opportunities employees have to learn from one another, the more efficient, connected, and experienced they’ll be. At the end of the day, this might be the difference between an “okay” and a “great” year.

How to improve knowledge sharing in your business

A man holding a blender saying, "Here's how it works."

We’ve covered what knowledge sharing is, the benefits it offers, and who should be a part of your strategy. Now, we’re finally ready to dive into how you can improve knowledge sharing within your business.

The best part? You can do it all in five simple steps. Who would’ve guessed it could be so simple?

Step 1: Build the right culture.

First, focus on creating a company-wide culture in which knowledge sharing is valued and celebrated. This starts at the top.

The general goal of this step is to get your employees thinking about knowledge sharing and what they stand to gain from it.

Successful CEOs send out company-wide correspondences that reinforce the business' culture. And it’s a great way to signal your culture shift towards knowledge sharing.

For example, you can write a short email highlighting the most important pieces of hidden knowledge you’ve learned in your role.

You might celebrate the importance of knowledge sharing and include examples from other employees. Recognition and modeling can promote the skills you want to see most in your company.

Allowing employees to candidly submit their own reflections on the importance of knowledge sharing might even be a great introductory exercise.

Step 2: Create spaces for knowledge sharing.

The next step in building out your knowledge sharing capabilities is to create the infrastructure you need to make it happen. There are both physical and virtual elements to this.

If your office is packed with cubicles, create comfortable common areas where employees from all teams can go and communicate with one another. You should have open spaces that reflect your workplace values.

Virtual meeting spaces can also be used to encourage knowledge sharing. For example, messaging platforms such as Slack or Teams have opportunities to host calls, send direct messages, or create group chats.

Having multiple methods and options to communicate is crucial to promoting knowledge sharing.

Whichever route you take, the key is to create virtual and in-person spaces that are dedicated to knowledge sharing. That way, employees know exactly where to share information whenever they learn something new.

Step 3: Carve out dedicated time for knowledge sharing.

Creating spaces for knowledge sharing is a big step in the right direction. You may find that your employees are shier and busier than you initially anticipated and that those spaces remain radio silent.

The solution? Regularly scheduled meetings! Even a short 10-minute opportunity to touch base with other teams can open up channels and connections that might not have existed otherwise. Or, maybe it’s a monthly meeting that’s specifically dedicated to sharing knowledge.

The frequency, duration, and size of these meetings are totally up to you and your team.

Step 4: Consider a mentorship program.

Senior leaders and more experienced team members tend to have a more robust idea about your organization and its objectives.

Take advantage of all of that extra knowledge by starting a mentorship program. It’s not only a great opportunity to connect senior members of your team with future leaders, but it’s also a valuable leadership opportunity that many employees cherish.

Fortune 500 companies lose $32B a year by failing to share knowledge. Dedicated mentorship programs can help you efficiently share in-house best practices.

Step 5: Use the right tools.

Finally, there are a ton of different tools that make it easy for your company to embrace a culture of sharing knowledge.

Trainual is an alternative to traditional learning management systems designed specifically to document and share hidden knowledge.

Make your niche, experienced, and departmental experts a valuable part of your business playbook.

Put in conjunction with various communication programs such as Slack, Asana, or Teamwork, you’ll begin to see transparency and collaboration across your organization in no time.

Now is the time to start — you never know what insight your team is holding onto and losing without a dedicated way to share what they know.

A man with an umbrella in the rain saying, "I don't wanna lose you."

This is what knowledge sharing looks like in practice.

Ford

Ford has applied the benefits of knowledge sharing to its production practice. The American automaker uses web-based software to ensure that quality standards are maintained throughout the entire product line and every manufacturing facility.

GE

GE created a corporate executive council that includes high-level management from every segment of the company. The council meets for two days specifically to discuss and share lessons learned and other hidden information that can benefit the entire company.

Xerox

Xerox employs thousands of service technicians who go out into the field to solve customers’ problems. But the lessons that these technicians were learning about various issues and the best ways to solve them weren’t being shared with thousands of the company’s customer service employees.

This created a situation in which the customer service team didn’t always have the answers to customers’ problems when they called in — even if that knowledge existed elsewhere in the company.

To solve the problem, Xerox uses a knowledge management system that lets engineers connect with customer service representatives so that the information acquired on service calls is freely available to everyone.

Trainual makes knowledge sharing second nature

The idea of consistent interdepartmental communication may feel overwhelming, but Trainual makes it easier than ever.

Our LMS-alternative makes it incredibly simple to build out a business playbook that keeps all of your organizational knowledge in a single, easy-to-access place.

With Trainual, your whole team will be able to find the information they need to be more effective at what they do. It’s a single solution that can completely revolutionize the way you share information in your business.

Sign up for a free seven day trial of Trainual today to experience the value our software can bring to your business.

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Article

How Knowledge Sharing Can Become Second Nature for Your Business

July 12, 2022

Jump to a section
Share it!
Sign up for our newsletter
You're all signed up! Look out for the next edition of The Manual Weekly coming Wednesday am!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Research suggests that 95% of employees would leave their jobs if they had no opportunity to learn and grow.

That means that full transparency and opportunities for growth are non-negotiable if you want to avoid high turnover rates.

But regularly committing to knowledge sharing — especially in a large organization — can be difficult without the proper practices in place.

This article can help you get started.

Keep reading to learn…

  • What knowledge sharing is.
  • How sharing knowledge brings value to your company. 
  • Which employees benefit most from knowledge sharing.
  • Step-by-step guidance for improving knowledge sharing in your business.
  • Examples of what effective knowledge sharing looks like.

Knowledge sharing? What’s that?

A man looking concerned saying "Oh God. Umm. What's that?"

Knowledge sharing is just exactly what it sounds like. It’s the practice of sharing information between individuals, teams, departments, and business units. It includes both explicit and implicit information.

For example, an experienced HR employee might teach a new employee how to follow explicitly-documented practices. Or, they may share implicit knowledge they learned through experiences, such as common problems and system shortcuts.

Why knowledge sharing matters

Here's how knowledge sharing can bring value to your company:

Improved internal development.

According to Gallup, replacing a single employee can cost a company up to two times their annual salary. That’s a huge chunk of change that clearly shows the importance of employee retention.

Point is, employees who can grow are more likely to stick around.

Internal mobility keeps employees within an organization for twice as long. Hiring from within isn’t just convenient in terms of knowing your staff but also when it comes to saving money.

Internal growth is made possible through education and awareness — your business’ future leaders need easy access to standard operating procedures, department hierarchies, and best practices.

Creating consistent, replicable practices for knowledge sharing makes it easier to achieve internal development goals by priming your in-house superstars with the information they need to advance.

Break down silos.

In small-to-medium organizations, silos tend to pop up across different departments. These silos may never communicate with one another, regardless of how beneficial interdepartmental knowledge sharing might be.

Knowledge sharing breaks down silos by giving team members across your organization an easier way to share what they learn while working.You never know what pieces of information will be of value to members of different teams.

For example, streamlining communication across sales and IT may not be a big deal until a website is involved. Having consistent branding and messaging is crucial, and requires two very different departments to share expertise.

Share valuable learned information.

Experienced employees learn a ton about their jobs (and the best ways to do them) by virtue of experience.

The soft skills you learn through experience may not be as well documented as your salesforce SOPs, even though there’s real value to be gained there.

By creating a system for knowledge sharing, you can document and share the learned information living in your most experienced employees’ heads and into resources that anyone can access.

Create a healthy workplace culture.

If you have hybrid or remote-only workers, it can be tough to create a cohesive culture. And indeed, many remote workers cite collaboration as one of the key problems they face in the workplace.

Establishing consistent practices for knowledge sharing can help resolve some of these issues.

Remote and hybrid workers can consistently communicate and learn from their peers so that they experience the same best practices as onsite employees.

A woman telling another woman, "We're fantastic together."

Which employees benefit most from knowledge sharing?

Remote workers.

Remote workers benefit tremendously from improved organizational knowledge sharing for all of the reasons covered in the last section. These workers can improve at a faster rate when you’ve built out your organizational knowledge sharing capabilities.

New hires.

New hires certainly stand to gain from any knowledge sharing strategies your team uses.

Team leaders can put together onboarding experiences and training packages that are comprehensive, interdepartmental, and robust. That way, new hires don’t miss out on niche knowledge that can catapult them from newbie to pro.

A knowledge sharing plan geared toward new hires can help you create more effective training modules, allowing you to get the most bang for your buck with your newest team members.

Future leaders.

Knowledge sharing can also bridge gaps for hidden leaders.

Having access to learning materials can turn potential into performance. Giving your staff superstars access to tribal knowledge will give new employees a faster head start in their new roles, allowing them to get on their feet and dive into their work more quickly. Not only that, it’ll give them the opportunity to stand out faster, and make their broader potential known.

Everyone.

The three groups mentioned above might be initial targets of a knowledge sharing initiative, but really, everyone on your team stands to gain something — after all, knowledge is power.

The more opportunities employees have to learn from one another, the more efficient, connected, and experienced they’ll be. At the end of the day, this might be the difference between an “okay” and a “great” year.

How to improve knowledge sharing in your business

A man holding a blender saying, "Here's how it works."

We’ve covered what knowledge sharing is, the benefits it offers, and who should be a part of your strategy. Now, we’re finally ready to dive into how you can improve knowledge sharing within your business.

The best part? You can do it all in five simple steps. Who would’ve guessed it could be so simple?

Step 1: Build the right culture.

First, focus on creating a company-wide culture in which knowledge sharing is valued and celebrated. This starts at the top.

The general goal of this step is to get your employees thinking about knowledge sharing and what they stand to gain from it.

Successful CEOs send out company-wide correspondences that reinforce the business' culture. And it’s a great way to signal your culture shift towards knowledge sharing.

For example, you can write a short email highlighting the most important pieces of hidden knowledge you’ve learned in your role.

You might celebrate the importance of knowledge sharing and include examples from other employees. Recognition and modeling can promote the skills you want to see most in your company.

Allowing employees to candidly submit their own reflections on the importance of knowledge sharing might even be a great introductory exercise.

Step 2: Create spaces for knowledge sharing.

The next step in building out your knowledge sharing capabilities is to create the infrastructure you need to make it happen. There are both physical and virtual elements to this.

If your office is packed with cubicles, create comfortable common areas where employees from all teams can go and communicate with one another. You should have open spaces that reflect your workplace values.

Virtual meeting spaces can also be used to encourage knowledge sharing. For example, messaging platforms such as Slack or Teams have opportunities to host calls, send direct messages, or create group chats.

Having multiple methods and options to communicate is crucial to promoting knowledge sharing.

Whichever route you take, the key is to create virtual and in-person spaces that are dedicated to knowledge sharing. That way, employees know exactly where to share information whenever they learn something new.

Step 3: Carve out dedicated time for knowledge sharing.

Creating spaces for knowledge sharing is a big step in the right direction. You may find that your employees are shier and busier than you initially anticipated and that those spaces remain radio silent.

The solution? Regularly scheduled meetings! Even a short 10-minute opportunity to touch base with other teams can open up channels and connections that might not have existed otherwise. Or, maybe it’s a monthly meeting that’s specifically dedicated to sharing knowledge.

The frequency, duration, and size of these meetings are totally up to you and your team.

Step 4: Consider a mentorship program.

Senior leaders and more experienced team members tend to have a more robust idea about your organization and its objectives.

Take advantage of all of that extra knowledge by starting a mentorship program. It’s not only a great opportunity to connect senior members of your team with future leaders, but it’s also a valuable leadership opportunity that many employees cherish.

Fortune 500 companies lose $32B a year by failing to share knowledge. Dedicated mentorship programs can help you efficiently share in-house best practices.

Step 5: Use the right tools.

Finally, there are a ton of different tools that make it easy for your company to embrace a culture of sharing knowledge.

Trainual is an alternative to traditional learning management systems designed specifically to document and share hidden knowledge.

Make your niche, experienced, and departmental experts a valuable part of your business playbook.

Put in conjunction with various communication programs such as Slack, Asana, or Teamwork, you’ll begin to see transparency and collaboration across your organization in no time.

Now is the time to start — you never know what insight your team is holding onto and losing without a dedicated way to share what they know.

A man with an umbrella in the rain saying, "I don't wanna lose you."

This is what knowledge sharing looks like in practice.

Ford

Ford has applied the benefits of knowledge sharing to its production practice. The American automaker uses web-based software to ensure that quality standards are maintained throughout the entire product line and every manufacturing facility.

GE

GE created a corporate executive council that includes high-level management from every segment of the company. The council meets for two days specifically to discuss and share lessons learned and other hidden information that can benefit the entire company.

Xerox

Xerox employs thousands of service technicians who go out into the field to solve customers’ problems. But the lessons that these technicians were learning about various issues and the best ways to solve them weren’t being shared with thousands of the company’s customer service employees.

This created a situation in which the customer service team didn’t always have the answers to customers’ problems when they called in — even if that knowledge existed elsewhere in the company.

To solve the problem, Xerox uses a knowledge management system that lets engineers connect with customer service representatives so that the information acquired on service calls is freely available to everyone.

Trainual makes knowledge sharing second nature

The idea of consistent interdepartmental communication may feel overwhelming, but Trainual makes it easier than ever.

Our LMS-alternative makes it incredibly simple to build out a business playbook that keeps all of your organizational knowledge in a single, easy-to-access place.

With Trainual, your whole team will be able to find the information they need to be more effective at what they do. It’s a single solution that can completely revolutionize the way you share information in your business.

Sign up for a free seven day trial of Trainual today to experience the value our software can bring to your business.

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How Knowledge Sharing Can Become Second Nature for Your Business

July 12, 2022

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