As the famous saying goes, knowledge is power.
In a corporate setting, that knowledge can be taken to a whole new level if it's shared with others. Other employees can benefit from the shared knowledge and upgrade it with their own expertise, skills, and experience.
After being multiplied, upgraded, and further developed, knowledge becomes one of the company's most significant assets.
That's why, in this article, we dive deep into eight ideas that will inspire you to start sharing insights and information in your company. Let's see what they are!
Start Private Social Media Groups
Research shows that employee productivity increases by 20 to 25% in companies where employees are connected through social technologies.
On the other hand, an incredible 39% of employees claim that their team does not collaborate enough, indicating a need for more opportunities for knowledge sharing.
A private social media group could be exactly what your company needs to foster collaboration, communication, and knowledge sharing among coworkers.
Facebook Groups are an ideal solution for their knowledge-sharing activities.
They are easy to set up and use and most employees are already familiar with how they work, as they use them in their personal lives and to stay current with the trends of their industry, like in the example of this game dev group below.
But the Facebook Group isn’t the only tool you can use for your knowledge-sharing efforts.
Workplace by Facebook can prove to be a better option for your employees, especially if you run a large business.
For example, the most active groups are listed on the top of the page, the trending posts are on the left side, and you can conduct polls.
The wall itself is quite similar to that of regular Facebook pages, meaning your employees will already be familiar with its functions.
Also, it has an exciting feature called Multi-Company Groups, where different companies can create a shared group together. What a great way to exchange knowledge within the industry!
No wonder Workplace is loved by companies like Starbucks, Dannon, and Club Med.
In fact, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson even talked about how using it to share information improved their business in an annual shareholders meeting.
He stated that it enabled them to respond to emerging market trends within 24 hours:
“Something that could have taken weeks if not months to happen before Workplace, happened in one day.”
As you can see, exchanging knowledge, information, and ideas in private social media groups can go a long way in making your business more agile, your culture more collaborative, and your employees more productive.
Host an Online Debate
Another great way to continue your knowledge-sharing efforts is to host an online debate.
Chances are that your team will want to participate because a study revealed that 41% of employees think healthy debate leads to a better understanding of others, 33% said that it improves working relationships, and 26% stated that it offers a better solution to a problem or challenge.
But if you want to organize a constructive online debate, you should consider a few things.
The first thing you should keep in mind is the topic.
It’s not advisable to host a debate for its own sake.
The discussion should be able to solve specific problems, and help tackle issues or brainstorm ideas, like in this interesting discussion prompt about marketing below.
And if you want your debate to lead you to the best course of action, it’s always good to set some ground rules about how you expect your panelist to convey their opinions and ideas.
To host an online debate, you can use the social media groups we mentioned in the first section or a conferencing tool of your choice.
For example, one of the most popular video conferencing tools today is Zoom, which has an Immersive View feature that can do wonders for an online debate.
As you can see from the picture, this option enables hosts to arrange the panelists into virtual backgrounds that mimic real meeting spaces.
By voicing various opinions, employees can see problems from a different perspective, gain a deeper understanding of the issue and find solutions faster.
That’s why it’s good to organize an online debate every now and then. They are an engaging way to share different viewpoints, experiences, skills, and insights.
Ask Employees to Host Their Own Online Training Event
One of the best ways to boost knowledge-sharing activities is undoubtedly encouraging employees to conduct online training or workshops.
Every company has experts that possess the full range of knowledge and expertise in their field.
By motivating them to share what they know with others, their colleagues will quickly gain the information they need to do their job and improve their skill set.
Plus, companies that incorporate online training into their workflow can expect great results.
A study conducted by IBM found that every 1$ spent on online training results in a $30 productivity gain.
Given that employees will have to research the topic, create training materials, and prepare for the presentation, online training will need more organization and planning than sharing knowledge in a social media group or an online debate.
Luckily, they won’t have to think about the technical aspects of hosting an online training session. There is a myriad of tools on the market designed especially for this purpose, like Talent LMS, eFront, and SAP Litmos, to name just a few.
For instance, SAP Litmos enables companies to quickly create and manage online training courses to improve their employees’ hard and soft skills.
Team members can upload their online courses or host live sessions, and thanks to the tracking feature, they can monitor which videos they have already watched, as well as which have yet to be watched.
Russell Mineral Equipment (RME), a company that manufactures grinding mill relining technologies and services, uses Litmos regularly to collect and share the knowledge of their workers.
The tool has allowed them to bring together employees who typically are not trainers and empowered them to create courses for their teams. As Isabel Malferrari, Learning and Development Advisor at RME, interestingly puts it:
“Something that would have taken us months and years to do—go around to each of the teams and develop their courses for them—they’ve actually been able to develop the courses themselves with our guidance and assistance.”
Remember, online training will enable companies to share knowledge across teams and departments. Also, it will allow employees to ask questions in real-time and spark a sense of team spirit among colleagues.
Create Knowledge Sharing Wikis Where Tacit Knowledge Can Be Documented
Tacit knowledge is usually gained through years and years of learning, making mistakes, improving, and thinking.
Contrary to explicit knowledge, tacit knowledge refers to the skills, expertise, and abilities that people acquire through experience.
Other people's tacit knowledge is one of the best ways for employees to improve their knowledge and skills quickly and do their job better.
That’s why it is vital to encourage experts to share it with others.
But how do you capture and share such knowledge?
After all, it should be within employees' reach so they can use it in their work whenever they need it.
One of the best methods at your disposal is to build knowledge-sharing wikis, where tacit knowledge will be preserved, documented, visible, and easily accessible to everyone.
Our own documentation software, Archbee, enables companies to build central repositories where documents, procedures, projects, and other useful information can easily be stored, shared, and, thanks to our collaboration and commenting features, also discussed.
Keep in mind that a Nintex study has shown that 43% of employees believe document sharing is one of the biggest knowledge management problems in their companies, so it’s important to tackle this challenge in the right way.
But with the right tool in place, this task becomes much more manageable.
Mentoring and Coaching
The importance of coaching and mentoring in the workplace cannot be overstated, as they have a crucial role in upskilling employees.
Although they seem similar, there are some differences between coaching and mentoring.
In general, coaching is a shorter process. As it's performance-driven, it offers direct guidelines to the protégé to get them to full productivity as soon as possible.
Mentoring takes more time than coaching, because it's focused on the long-term development of the employees. As it's development-driven, it advises the mentees on honing their competencies.
In corporate settings, mentoring and coaching are a great way for senior stakeholders and managers to pass on their knowledge and experience to others.
But as today's faced-paced world sets its own rules, mentoring and coaching can also happen the other way around.
For example, a recent, tech-savvy hire might be able to coach senior colleagues about how to use the tools and platforms they are not familiar with.
The concept is quite simple—new hires are paired with the more experienced colleagues who help them navigate the new role easily, share the company's know-how, and guide them in their day-to-day work for the first several months.
Coaching and mentoring can be an excellent learning practice as they help employees gain knowledge and enhance current skills. It doesn't matter if the protege is a senior or junior employee. There is always room for knowledge sharing and learning new things.
Encourage Employees to Create Employee Resource Groups
As our culture is becoming more diverse every day, the need to foster a positive, inclusive workplace has become more important than ever.
That's why forward-thinking companies sometimes sponsor different Employee Resource Groups (ERG) within the organization.
The main goal of ERGs is to celebrate diversity by bringing together employees of different genders, nationalities, and backgrounds, and providing them with equal chances for success in the corporate world.
A good example comes from Asana, which has an ERG dedicated to empowering and connecting Black employees.
Currently, 90% of all Fortune 500 companies have ERGs.
That comes as no surprise, considering that they can work miracles in connecting employees, breaking down silos, and fostering engagement and productivity.
As they create a strong sense of community and togetherness, employees feel more inclined to share knowledge with others.
ERGs typically focus on women, people of color, different ethnicities or religious affiliations.
For example, Zalando currently has eleven ERGs and plans to establish more in the future, and which areas they cover you can see in the picture below.
However, just because ERGs are established in companies doesn't necessarily mean that they are always effective.
They are often created informally, thanks to the effort and enthusiasm of a few employees who are passionate about improving the workplace culture.
But without proper structure and organization, ERGs may not be sustainable or long-lived.
Luckily, several good tools on the market help companies manage, promote, and scale their ERGs. Espresa, for example, enables companies to manage all their ERGs within one platform.
With an intuitive tool like Espresa, it's easy to organize events, keep track of announcements and scheduled get-togethers, share important news, and commemorate important dates like Juneteenth or International Women's Day.
And as everything is highly structured and organized, the chances are that the ERG created with tools like this will foster cultural changes for years to come.
ERGs are a great way to celebrate diversity, equality, and inclusion. As they connect people and build a sense of belonging, they are an essential part of creating a powerful knowledge-sharing culture.
During brainstorming sessions, employees connect with each other and find new ideas and solutions to the problems.
Therefore, brainstorming sessions can be a great addition to your efforts of promoting collaboration, team spirit, and knowledge sharing.
And you can brainstorm about almost anything.
For example, you can share ideas about the best way to launch the best product or service on the market or how to communicate the value of specific software, as you can see from the tweet from Greg DeMichillie, VP of Product Marketing at Confluent.
In his tweet, he also highlights one of the greatest benefits of brainstorming together: getting more done and with better results than you would on your own.
But things can get a little bit more complicated in remote settings. As remote workers don't share the same space, bouncing ideas off of each other can be challenging.
However, because we live in the digital age and there is a tool for almost every problem out there, remote teams can also hold more effective brainstorming sessions by using software designed for that purpose.
For instance, Miro enables remote staff to jot down their ideas into virtual sticky notes and group them by topic.
As you can see in the picture, there is a pretty exciting countdown option in the upper right corner for setting up the timer and a voting feature.
You can set the timer for five to ten minutes and give employees time to think of their ideas. And as the voting is done anonymously, the team members can be sure that the best idea has been chosen in a fair and unbiased manner.
Therefore, by harnessing the power of technology, remote teams also can conduct engaging brainstorming sessions with excellent results.
Remember, team members that brainstorm together succeed together. And that boosts their team spirit and creates a workplace environment where knowledge sharing is welcomed and appreciated.
Educational Courses and Webinars
In this day and age, where technology evolves rapidly, hosting educational courses and webinars has become a must for companies that want to stay competitive in the market.
Research conducted by McKinsey suggests that, by 2030, the prevalence of automation and AI will affect 375 million employees who will have to either change their career paths or acquire new skills.
Therefore, regularly hosting educational courses and webinars to reskill or upskill staff should be a priority for most companies, especially those operating in the ever-changing tech industry.
Courses and webinars are an engaging and interactive way to keep employees in the loop with industry trends, updates on strategies, innovation, best practices, and the tacit knowledge of the company's experts.
Some companies understood the importance of such courses for long-term success early on. They even went to such lengths to create an academy packed with webinars and classes for their employees.
Take the Amazon Technical Academy as an example. Launched in 2017, it's one of Amazon's upskilling programs, devised to help employees gain critical technical skills and transition to software developer engineers roles in Amazon.
It's tuition-free for all employees, requires no previous computer training, and represents a great way to share knowledge and educate employees.
You don't have to go as far as to establish an academy to educate your employees. Recurring educational courses and webinars, say once or twice a month, can go a long way in sharing information and resources, and educating the workforce.
Webinars and classes yield great benefits and are essential for empowering employees with new knowledge and skills. So it's worth the effort to include them in your knowledge-sharing activities as they can significantly impact your company's future.
In this article, we gathered eight knowledge-sharing activities that you can implement in your company.
Some are easier to put into action, others you may already practice in your company. Still, each of them is valuable for creating an engaging work environment where employees happily share what they know with others and help each other in their work endeavors.
Remember, creating a knowledge-sharing culture won’t happen overnight, but with these eight activities that task will be much quicker and easier.