It’s no longer a secret that if you want your employees to work in a more efficient way, establishing a knowledge sharing culture within the company is a significant advantage. It’s not just about efficiency, but also about saving copious amounts of time, as all the information they need is in the same place.
According to the Panopto Workplace Knowledge and Productivity study conducted among 1,001 U.S. employees from large organizations – which wanted to find out how much of a job relies on standard versus unique knowledge – 58% of the respondents revealed that everything they need to do their work is basic. The other 42% admitted that the knowledge they required at work is unique.
Employees were also asked to rank unique knowledge against professional training and formal education and the results were somehow surprising: they believe that unique knowledge comprises 51% of their workplace knowledge.
54% of them perceived that unique knowledge is definitely the most important type of knowledge in the workplace. Furthermore, 81% revealed that unique knowledge is by far the most difficult type to replace than either professional training or formal education.
A different study conducted by Bersin & Associates revealed a few additional interesting details. For example, employees are 37% more productive than their peers at organizations that don’t put the accent on workplace learning. Also, they have a 26% better track record of delivering quality products or services, not to mention that they are 34% more likely to respond quickly to and address customer needs.
Considering all these numbers, let’s talk about some of the most popular ways a knowledge sharing culture can improve your bottom line.
1. If done efficiently, knowledge sharing improves productivity
It’s not a secret that it can be difficult to quantify either the productivity, or the financial costs related to inefficient knowledge sharing within a company. When asked about the importance of different knowledge types within their organization, the majority of employees reported that they only need standard information.
However, according to the studies mentioned above, 80% of them revealed that they are actually frustrated at the inability to access a former colleague’s institutional knowledge, while 25% said they were overwhelmed. Therefore, it’s somehow obvious that an inefficient way of managing knowledge sharing – or the total lack of it – can seriously increase productivity costs within an organization.
2. Knowledge sharing can improve employee engagement and retention
When it comes to a company accepting change, embracing new technologies and adapting to innovation, then channeling everything into the talent pool will keep you ahead of the game.
By fostering a knowledge sharing culture, you’re giving employees the possibility to acquire, assimilate, but also transfer new knowledge, this being an excellent way to create value.
Additionally, becoming a company with a solid learning culture can even become a great tool for employee engagement and retention. Employees feel valued and appreciated when their employer invests in their growth and development, by putting a continuous stream of learning opportunities at their disposal.
3. It ensures knowledge transfer within changing workplace dynamics
A few years ago, it was long-tenured employees who spent a big part of their career with the same company who were responsible for passing along knowledge. However, in today’s workplace, where more generations work side-by-side, knowledge is not properly filtered all the time throughout the organization.
An effective and sustainable knowledge sharing culture can ensure successful knowledge transfer efforts, by actively involving both the source of the knowledge and the receiver. You can call this a “two-way street”, as the receiver gains from the transfer in an obvious way, while the source of knowledge may need to be persuaded of the value of the entire process.
4. Knowledge sharing facilitates decision-making capabilities
There are a lot of situations in which data can offer managers a lot of information. However, processing very large amounts of data can actually get in the way of achieving high-quality decisions.
One of the best examples of how one company helped executives to develop a knowledge sharing culture is General Electric’s Corporate Executive Council. The CEC consists of the two heads of GE’s fourteen major businesses and the two-day sessions, which are forums for sharing best practices, as well as accelerating progress and discussing aspects like success and failures.
Information overload or a need of knowledge from people in different parts of the company for decision-making can affect managers. But putting together a knowledge management platform can facilitate quick, better and more informed decisions.
5. A knowledge sharing culture impacts your bottom line in a positive way
Generally speaking, the main way a community can raise your bottom line, but also reduce support costs, is through case definition. The easiest way to measure the return of investment is to determine how much time your team needs to close a case after it comes across. A knowledge sharing culture integrated within a company – through a knowledge management platform – can significantly improve this timing.
If your company and community are growing, it would make sense to invest in a solution that encourages users to solve each other’s problems, compared to hiring more and more staff over time.
Due to relatable knowledge management challenges, a lot of companies don’t have a specific plan to manage and transfer knowledge and even fewer cross-generational challenges into business strategy – according to a report from the global research and business membership organization, The Conference Board.
The result of this “trend” can be a significant drain of knowledge, that decreases innovation, but also lowers growth capacity and reduces efficiency in an organization.
According to a report from The Society for Human Resource Management, “Fortune 500 companies lose roughly $31.5 billion a year by failing to share knowledge”. Don’t be a part of this statistic and consider the advantages of developing a knowledge sharing culture.