It started a few years ago and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. The remote workforce trend keeps gaining more and more popularity. According to a survey conducted by Own Labs and quoted by Forbes, 16% of companies from all across the world are fully remote. Even more, 52% of employees work from home at least one day a week.
Working from home definitely has its perks, but also comes with a few challenges, especially for business owners. After all, it’s not easy to organize a remote team, but the advantages often convince managers that letting people do their jobs from the comfort of their own home is definitely an excellent idea.
Again, the challenges are still there. And knowledge sharing is definitely among them.
As previously discussed, sharing knowledge across a distributed team can be done effectively with ease, as long as you are aware of the solutions for this problem.
Being constant and focusing on the relevant information your team needs is just the start. You need to keep in mind that your team should be updated whenever something that really matters for them comes up. Also, the information flow should be transparent and easily accessible for all. A knowledge sharing platform is definitely the best solution for remote workers.
As a side note, if you’re managing a team of millenials, then your approach should be slightly different, as most of them are thwarted by the phenomenon known as “information fishing” at work. To be more specific, 1 out of 3 believe that looking for the right information source can be a really burdensome activity. And this is where a proper knowledge sharing solution comes in handy, offering them the possibility to find everything they need for work in one single place.
If you’re just beginning your knowledge sharing journey, but you’re aware of the fact that you need to do something in order to make information more accessible for your team in a quick and efficient way, this article is for you.
Knowledge sharing tips for beginners
1. Mapping and structuring come first
Before starting your journey with knowledge sharing, there are some essential concepts you should know: identifying and mapping strategic knowledge correctly. Or, if you prefer, putting together a multifunctional team by asking members to identify key dimensions of your business’ competitive performance, as well as the knowledge that underpins them.
Afterward, you should map these assets with two ‘filters’ in mind: unstructured and structured, as well as undiffused and diffused.
2. Share knowledge with everybody
…everybody in your team, that is. This is pretty much one of the most common – but also essential – knowledge management practices, as it helps you save a lot of time.
Let’s say that one division of your team is facing a problem another division has already dealt with and has a solution for it. If you’re making use of knowledge sharing, they can automatically access their solution. Simple as that.
The easiest way of starting sharing knowledge is by putting together a simple document with all the information gathered from the company. It’s true, it doesn’t compare with the advantages of using a knowledge management platform, but it’s a great start.
3. Create an open collaborative environment
Starting sharing knowledge is definitely great, but in order to do it properly, an open collaborative environment is necessary within your company.
According to a study conducted by Gartner, it appears that the creation and participation in a business ecosystem can be some of the major differentiators of companies classified as top performers.
Therefore, the idea is simple: prepare both the organizational attitude and management you need for implementing a knowledge sharing culture.
4. Give your team what they need to encourage sharing
Simply put, if you want your team members to take from their time and share what they know, you, as a manager, need to offer them all the means to do it.
Start with providing some space in their workload, but also the proper systems and processes, in order to make sharing easy. And let’s not forget that it’s very important to make them accountable for sharing their knowledge. After all, they do get rewarded for completing their core tasks, so why not do something similar to encourage knowledge sharing?
5. Let them know about the advantages of knowledge sharing
When you’re just starting to implement this sharing culture within your company, you will, most likely, hear from some employees about their fears of somebody else stealing their ideas and take unfair benefits from their knowledge.
In this case, your job is to cultivate a new team mentality that benefits from sharing, but also show the value of this. In the first place, you can send a newsletter or share some cases which showcase how this culture affects the bottom line.
6. Set appropriate benchmarks
Ok, let’s say that you finally convinced your team about the benefits of sharing and even started using a proper knowledge sharing platform.
Everything looks perfect, except the fact that, like in many cases when a new piece of software is introduced, you seem to lose track of any post-roll-out progress. There’s no need to panic, as this is a common mistake among organizations.
Until the company understands the importance of sharing their knowledge and makes a habit out of this, you can start by incorporating monthly benchmarks into your knowledge management strategy. By doing this, you can monitor the entire activity surrounding this process and see if the team managed to reach their goals.
Even if you’re new to the concept of knowledge sharing, implementing this culture is extremely efficient, from many points of view, not to mention that it can also improve your bottom line.
There is also an important link between employee advocacy and knowledge sharing. By following a few key steps, like motivating employees through personal branding, encouraging brainstorming and training, as well as helping members of your team become thought leaders, you can strengthen the connection with both potential customers and employees.