The Importance of a Knowledge Sharing Culture

Claudiu
Claudiu
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Don't underestimate the importance of knowledge sharing in your company. Here are all the ways your employees can benefit from it.

📚 Table of contents

What kind of culture does your company foster?

Company culture can attract or deter a possible hire from joining your business. Not being a good fit for the existing culture is also why many workers quit. Therefore, figuring out what your company is all about and promoting that to your team is vital if you want to have and keep happy employees.

A good company culture supports knowledge sharing. You share your insights with the team, and your employees share their opinions with others. In the end, everyone gets to learn and contribute, which makes them more productive.

Let’s look into how you can benefit from a knowledge-sharing culture!

Builds a Culture of Continuous Learning

A knowledge-sharing culture promotes learning at every level and stage of employment.

Your new hires should learn about your company to become independent, and all employees should keep learning throughout their stay with your company to get better at what they do.

If workers feel like the learning opportunities aren’t there, they tend to quit. In fact, the overwhelming majority of employees who decide to find better opportunities list this as one of the reasons why they left their previous position.

Source: Archbee.io

This statistic shows that employees love learning, and a knowledge-sharing culture allows them to do that continuously. Besides, people who learn at work feel more productive and happier, and happy employees simply perform better.

The best way to help your team learn and gain new skills is through knowledge sharing, i.e., the “mutual exchange of ideas and information that could influence the way teams learn in organizations.” In other words, your employees should share their insights to continue learning and growing, and it’s up to you to ensure the right conditions.

If you let the team collaborate and learn from each other, they will progress. However, don’t pressure people into sharing insights. When people aren’t forced to share their expertise at work, they’re less likely to be knowledge hoarders, i.e., people who refuse to share their insights with others.

Source: Archbee.io

Therefore, you should provide your team with the means to share their insights and encourage them to do so instead of making it obligatory.

Promoting a learning culture that lets everyone partake and depend on each other will eliminate any knowledge hoarding at your company, thus helping your entire team work together to solve issues or get new ideas.

At the end of the day, it’s vital to encourage continuous learning to have a happy, engaged workforce and achieve better results. What better way to do this than by promoting a knowledge-sharing culture?

Supports Collaboration

Collaboration is the key to success in most businesses.

Research shows that employees who work alone as a part of a collaborative team perform best. In other words, your company will be at its most productive if you allow people to do individual work but give them the possibility to collaborate, share ideas, and ask for opinions and input.

However, this doesn’t mean you should just let employees depend on the input of others. Keep in mind that the average employee waits 5 hours a week for an expert colleague's feedback, according to Panopto.

Source: Archbee.io

In other words, the current setup at most companies doesn’t work that well since people can’t easily collaborate. So, you have to change this setup at your company and allow people to quickly get the collaborative help they need to finish their tasks.

Through apps like Slack, you’ll allow employees to quickly ask and answer questions from colleagues.

But, if you want to make collaboration easier, think about using knowledge base software, such as our own product, Archbee, for all your documentation.

Quality knowledge base software allows you to compile all of your procedures, guides, files, and policies in one place, so that everyone on your team can benefit from it in just a few clicks.

Source: Archbee.io

Through Archbee, employees can leave a question or a comment on the document or a part of it. They can also tag other employees, bringing collaboration to a whole new level. Team members can also suggest edits to specific articles and documents, meaning that everyone is prompted to keep the database detailed and current.

However, collaboration doesn’t have to be limited to employees. In fact, if your company works closely with clients and uses their feedback to improve, it would be a good idea to use software that allows you to share parts of your database with the customers. That way, you could get their input and see what process points you should improve based on their questions and concerns.

Therefore, collaboration is an essential part of business life, and you can use it to benefit from the knowledge-sharing process.

Reduces Training Costs

The more you invest in knowledge sharing at your company, the less you’ll have to invest in training.

It might surprise you to know that small companies (100-999 employees) spend $341,505 yearly on employee training. That’s a large expenditure for a company of that size, so it’s definitely worth exploring other, more pragmatic options.

Source: Archbee.io

A quality database can help your team instantly get the data they’re looking for, thus eliminating a large portion of the needed in-person training. However, creating a knowledge base doesn’t mean you should automatically cancel all training and think people can learn everything by reading it, no matter how extensive your knowledge base is.

You have to continuously invest in your employees and their expertise, starting from the onboarding. This process can be crucial for employee retention, which is why you should promote a knowledge-sharing culture from the very start.

The previously mentioned Panopto research also found that most new hires have to turn to other employees for help during their first month at a new job, which isn’t the best way to enable a free flow of knowledge.

Source: Archbee.io

More precisely, the average new employee spends more than twelve hours weekly asking for information, while a whopping 21% spend anywhere from 21 to 30 hours on this task. Isn’t that a bit too much?

A company that invests in an insight-sharing culture will have an internal knowledge base. When employees have a question regarding a policy or a process, they will consult the database and find what they need instead of waiting for colleagues to help. This knowledge-sharing model will help your employees be more effective from the very beginning.

Therefore, there won’t be as much need for frequent training and refreshment, and you will save time, money, and energy needed for these activities. At the same time, you’ll still provide the insight necessary for your employees to do their job efficiently.

Fosters Expertise

Promoting a knowledge-sharing culture can help you make experts out of your employees.

When your team can view and contribute to your database, you encourage them to read more on the topic, look for answers, and voice their concerns. This type of company involvement ensures your employees become experts in time. The more your workers read and contribute to the shared database, the more they know about the subject at hand.

Having a system like this will also help you attract and retain new talent. The promise of learning from experienced coworkers will be an incentive for those who always want to know more. Those who are a bit more ambitious will not turn down the opportunity to contribute to the knowledge base with their knowledge.

More knowledgeable employees will feel purposeful by contributing to database entries and will leave a legacy. This is something that the international aerospace manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney, promoted when they realized that many of their engineers were becoming eligible for retirement.

Source: Archbee.io

Instead of letting all this expertise go to waste, the company invested $2.5 million in knowledge sharing and saved ten times that—$25 million—through it, solely on the vast insights of their engineers.

Naturally, your team will gain access to a lot more information through a database with so many collaborators than they would if they had to do all that research on their own, which means they get to learn more. The best part of this knowledge exchange is that people can learn when they want to. Most people prefer to do so at work while others like to learn at their own pace and on their own time.

Source: Archbee.io

Some workers study only when they need specific information. Therefore, an internal knowledge base is a perfect solution for all three of these groups since it allows them access to the database whenever they feel like learning or simply need an answer.

Nurtures Innovation

If you build your company culture on knowledge sharing, it will result in innovation.

More precisely, studies show that innovation comes from listening to different perspectives. The more diverse your team's backgrounds and experiences, the fresher their ideas are. But, studies also show that sharing insights is key to innovation.

In other words, if you don’t foster a knowledge-sharing culture within your diverse team, you won’t get to hear their ideas.

Source: Archbee.io

Moreover, if your employees don’t share ideas and suggestions, they can’t work on improving them until they find the perfect solution.

Some companies are already aware of the impact diverse perspectives can have on innovation and the company’s overall success. The cosmetics giant L'Oréal, which hires with diversity in mind to get as many different perspectives as possible, is a great example.

Sumita Banerjee, the company’s Senior Vice President at the time, told Forbes that “the recruitment of diverse talent for our organization is critical to our ability to build our business and drive future growth.” In other words, Banerjee explained that companies are already using their employees' experiences to innovate and grow.

Source: Archbee.io

You can do the same thing through the knowledge-sharing system you put in place.

Encourage the team to participate in discussions, leave comments if they think something can be improved or worked on, and speak up when they have a different idea. If someone comments on a page of your knowledge base with their vision, someone else might see it and pitch their insight.

Slowly, a conversation about making the process better will start. You and your employees will emerge as winners. You will feel that way because you get to use this idea for growth, and your employees feel more empowered and appreciated.

Empowers Employees

If you make your knowledge base accessible to the entire team and motivate them to collaborate, you’ll empower them.

In fact, you’ll be seen as a helpful leader, which will positively impact the entire team. A Zenger Folkman study shows that most empowered employees, i.e., those who work for a helpful leader, are willing to go the extra mile. On the other hand, only a meager 10% of unempowered employees would do the same.

Source: Archbee.io

Therefore, employee empowerment is vital for any business that wants to thrive and succeed. Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group, believes that “in order for people to feel invested in what they do, they need to be in control.”

In other words, employees have to be assured they can do their jobs well and independently. As you already know, this is something you can achieve by giving them access to the information they need to do their job successfully.

Sadly, the Panopto research found that unshared knowledge frustrates 81% of employees when it stops them from performing their job. In other words, if you don’t allow easy access to information, you’re preventing employee empowerment.

Source: Archbee.io

Therefore, you must share the knowledge and give the entire team access to the information they need, whether they’re there for a week or five years.

By doing this, you will empower the employees. Instead of relying on others to help them, the team will be able to look up the answers themselves and solve the issue independently. The more your employees do this, the more independent and competent they become.

Because of this correlation, it’s safe to say that a knowledge-sharing culture can empower your entire team.

Enhances Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a direct result of access to knowledge.

A study found that employee engagement relates to available job resources. To put it simply, the more job resources a worker has, the more engaged they are. It’s safe to say employers who invest in giving their team all the resources they need to perform their job have more involved and successful employees.

On top of that, engaged employees will save you a lot of money. Forbes calculates that a single disengaged employee costs a business $16,000 a year due to their mistakes, absenteeism, and quality of work. If that’s not shocking enough, wait until you hear that 80% of employees report disengagement at work.

Source: Archbee.io

Clearly, if you want to stop bleeding money at every turn, you have to engage your employees. The solution is simple—help them share and receive knowledge from others. After all, one of the most important resources you can provide your employees is insight, the crux of a knowledge-sharing culture.

If you invest in promoting it, you will eventually have a workforce that values exchanging ideas, contributing, and engaging. With a knowledge base open to anyone on the team, each employee will be confident that they have the right resources to grow and learn, making information sharing the key to personal and professional growth.

Moreover, if you make employees understand the internal database is something they can explore and contribute to themselves, they’ll never be understimulated in the workplace. People who feel that way are instantly more disengaged.

Want to hear the bad part? Almost half of the office employees report being bored at work.

Source: Archbee.io

The silver lining to this statistic is that 46% of these workers said the lack of learning opportunities makes them feel this way, meaning a knowledge-sharing culture holds a solution to the problem.

The key to engaging employees is offering them the opportunity to learn and collaborate with others. If the team is aware their insight can help others learn and grow, they will feel a sense of accomplishment, which is highly empowering.

Conclusion

Companies with a knowledge-sharing culture show they care about their employees in more ways than one.

Since employees love to learn and often leave a company they can’t learn from, it’s clear that knowledge sharing is the best culture you can promote. It not only supports continuous learning and collaboration but empowers and engages your workforce, alongside all the innovation and cost savings it brings you.

Therefore, your best bet is to invest in an internal knowledge base that will collect all your insights and documentation in one place and prompt your workers to add their thoughts, questions, and concerns into the mix, creating a collaborative masterpiece.