Sharing knowledge is one of the best things a distributed team can do. It removes communication barriers among team members and increases the ease and efficiency of information transfer.
And even though it may sound like a concept that’s complicated to implement, getting started is actually quite easy.
All you need is an open collaborative environment, providing your team with the practical tools they need to share and let them know about all the benefits.
We’ve already covered the benefits of knowledge sharing and how it can improve your bottom line, as well as the relationship between team members. Head over there if you want to find out more about these benefits and how you can take advantage of them.
However, we can’t overlook the challenges this process involves. For example, motivating high performers to share knowledge, as well as identifying them in the first place.
Simply put, high performers are very good at what they do, they are reliable, consistently doing what is expected of them (and occasionally overdelivering). In contrast, those with high potential share some qualities with high performers; they constantly try to find new things to do, new work they can take care of and new ways to lead. It’s important for the point we’re going to make to differentiate between these two categories.
How high performers share knowledge
So, back to the initial issues: finding ways to convince/motivate high performers to share knowledge with the entire team. Let’s talk about a few ways of doing this.
1. Start with asking for feedback
Probably one of the best ways to get your employees – high performers, in particular – to exchange insight is to ask for feedback and ask questions. Let’s see what are some ways to do this.
Consider asking them for help or their opinions and expertise. Even more, discuss the projects the company is working on and ask for their advice.
The key idea is to encourage open sharing through your own example. Begin talking about some of your ideas and how you’re planning to implement them. High performers should know that there is no problem with telling you how they would do it differently.
2. Encourage collaboration instead of hierarchy
In some companies, upper management tries to impose its philosophy. But this is not always the best approach.
Instead, a more productive approach would be promoting an atmosphere of group communication and making sure everybody knows that the real organizational change must occur at every level.
Lead by example and you will automatically encourage knowledge sharing and collaboration.
3. Observe their passions
Employees, including high performers, will always have their most and least favorite parts of their job. And this means that there surely are some areas in which they feel really passionate about.
In order to motivate them to share tacit knowledge, consider identifying these areas and find a way to make them spend more energy there. In most cases, they will reward you with even better work and feel comfortable sharing and talking about what they have done.
As a bonus, this can lift up the entire organization, as such an employee can serve as an example for the entire team.
4. Integrate knowledge sharing in performance reviews
If your employees know that participating in the knowledge sharing process is something that’s expected from them and measured, they will be more likely to share what they know.
For example, if you’re already using a knowledge management platform, you can ask your employees to share and update specific documents periodically or just ask them to contribute once a week.
Make sure you carefully set KPIs, so they are measurable but also feel reasonable and achievable.
5. Show them what benefits they will have
“Knowledge is power” is a well known saying all around the world. And it makes a lot of sense, especially in this situation.
Your goal shouldn’t be just to have a knowledge base filled with information from your employees, but convince them that by contributing they will also benefit from a series of advantages.
A first step would be to show them – high performers, especially – how having access to a shared knowledge database can help them increase their performance, and also how sharing what they know makes their knowledge even more valuable.
In the end, everything comes down to implementing a knowledge sharing culture within your company and, obviously, using a platform for managing everything effectively.
A knowledge management platform can help move things forward with ease, it boosts engagement, it reduces the costs of training and develops a supportive corporate community. If you want to find out more, you can do so by reading our post about how a knowledge-sharing platform positively impacts your organization.
From a manager’s perspective, there are several challenges you have to deal with. You should make it easy for employees to find the information they are looking for and manage community engagement. You can encourage people to share their knowledge by facilitating collaboration among team members and different teams. Measuring knowledge contribution and rewarding active users can improve your chances of succeding.