Think back to a simpler time: grade school. Your “courses” most likely included math, science, English, and social studies. You acquired basic knowledge of these subjects, and you knew exactly where to apply this knowledge. Math knowledge was applied to math homework, science knowledge was applied to science homework, and so on, and you knew where to find it (in the Trapper Keeper or Five Star folders your mom bought you at the end of each summer).
Fast forward to college where you enrolled in complex courses such as The History of Rock and Roll, or The Effects of Extreme Basket Weaving On The Global Economy. You have no idea what to search to aid in your understanding of these subjects. Any notes that might be helpful to you are spread across 25 overstuffed binders. The seven floors of your university’s library are so intimidating you don’t even dare to walk their aisles. The more knowledge you accrue, the more knowledge that exists in the world, and the more projects to apply that knowledge to, the harder it gets to organize it, find it, and use it.
Without a system in place to ensure scalability, this is what happens to your business as it grows. Getting the right information to the right people at the right time can seem impossible. But the right knowledge sharing strategy ensures that as your company grows, the knowledge you’ve acquired over the years follows. Here’s how:
1. Focus on Quality
If a piece of content, instruction manual, training material, or document is not well-researched, up-to-date, and relevant, it is not scalable. Sharing such knowledge in this form will only serve to create confusion and slow productivity in the workplace. Knowledge sharing platforms allow leaders in your organization to approve each piece of content in the knowledge base, ensuring that the very best information available grows with your organization.
2. Rely on Searchability
The more your company grows, the more knowledge and content your company accrues. Consider when you first move into a new place. Your possessions are stored neatly in labeled boxes so you don’t have to go to great lengths to find what you’re looking for. But as time goes on, items are removed from labeled boxes, scattered across your floor, and stored in different spaces each time they’re used, meaning you could spend hours hunting for your lonely running shoe’s partner (and more often than not, this leads to foregoing your run).
Now imagine no matter how many more possessions you acquire during your tenure in this apartment, things never become messy or difficult to find. That is what a knowledge sharing solution will do for your organization. This solution offers global search, meaning that each piece of content can be made searchable with hashtags and categories so that no matter how old it is, employees can always search for exactly what they need and find it instantly.
3. Collaborate Across Silos
The more employees your company has, the harder it is to get together and collaborate to produce the best possible knowledge and solutions. Departmental silos form, employees work remotely, and teams become divided (physically and figuratively). A knowledge sharing solution creates an accessible space for collaboration no matter how rapidly your organization expands. Employees can comment on posts, ask and answer questions, contribute content “like” posts, and tag coworkers in posts that they might find helpful, all from the comfort of their desks.
4. Make Knowledge Sharing Fun
Let’s be honest; what we all love about startups is the culture. There is a constant sense of excitement and potential. Startups strike the perfect balance of casual yet determined, fun yet productive, independent yet unified. But somewhere along the way, this is lost. The more and more a business grows, the more likely it is to lose the social aspects of the workplace that drew employees to it in the first place (and kept them there). A knowledge sharing solution is not only a space for sharing knowledge. It is a space for fun, wherever employees may be. Teams can create rooms for social purposes (meme room, anybody?) advertise social events, play games and scavenger hunts, and more to ensure that your company culture is scalable.
Don’t let all of your hard work go to waste. You built this company from the ground up, so now that you are experiencing growth and success, create a system that allows you to celebrate and continue that growth, not fear it. Invest in the right knowledge solution, and your company knowledge will be relevant, high-quality, and long-lasting, no matter how many employees you have.