Poor sharing skills were a problem for some in kindergarten, and they’re a problem for many today in the workplace. When individuals struggle to access the information they need because others are unwilling or lack the tools to share it, the whole organization suffers. This is knowledge hoarding. Knowledge hoarding causes distrust among employees, halts productivity, and stifles collaboration.
So, how do you overcome knowledge hoarding in the workplace? Here are five ways you can encourage knowledge sharing in the workplace:
A mentor is a person in the workplace who provides guidance to a less experienced employee. Someone to teach them the ropes, answer their questions without fear of judgement, and share company knowledge and advice to ensure they succeed.
The benefits of mentorship are both professional and social. Employees gain someone with greater knowledge and experience to turn to for advice. Mentors can demonstrate a task, help the employee through solving a problem, or offer constructive criticism on the employee’s work. Mentors also help employees feel more socially involved at work and explain the ins and outs of the company culture, which are often quite difficult to ascertain when beginning a new job. Mentors can introduce mentees to other professionals and continue to help them grow as they advance in their career.
For ten tips to be a great mentor, click here.
Break Down Silos
Departmental silos are the death of knowledge sharing. Each and every department within your organization has a new and unique perspective on what makes your company great, and a diverse range of knowledge regarding your product, best practices for promoting it, etc.
So when it comes to solving problems, venture beyond your own cubicle unit and out into the great unknown! Seek information from multiple departments to ensure you’re not missing out on valuable information that lives beyond your own team, because two heads really are better than one.
Seek out specific departments, not just individuals, when looking for a specific piece of information. Utilize that in your knowledge-sharing efforts.
Trust is the foundation of any type of healthy relationship, and workplace relationships are no different. A lack of trust in your office will promote an individual-over-team mentality (the opposite of knowledge sharing), and this comes at a great cost to the success of the organization.
To build trust in the workplace, follow these tips:
- Be consistent. Show up, do your work, keep your promises.
- Always tell the truth. Without honesty, there is no trust. Own up to your mistakes, and speak your mind when your opinion is warranted.
- Graciously accept constructive criticism. A sour reaction to a helpful suggestion is a sure fire way to show your coworkers they can’t approach you when they have a problem or a suggestion.
- Do good work. This is self-explanatory. When your work is quality, your coworkers will trust your advice and feel confident in your ability to contribute knowledge and expertise.
Publicly recognize employees for going above and beyond to share helpful information with their team that they could have easily chosen to keep for themselves. The reward can range from a quick email or shout-out during a company meeting to more elaborate or valuable perks. Whatever the reward may be, the important thing is the recognition.
Invest In A Knowledge Sharing Solution
With the right tools, nothing is impossible. A quality knowledge sharing solution (KMS) empowers employees to, well, share knowledge. A KMS removes social anxiety associated with sharing information, allows employee to identify experts to seek out for information, empowers collaboration, and allows team leaders to actually quantify who is contributing the most information, the most frequently, so that those actions can be rewarded.
When employees are empowered to share knowledge in the workplace, they are not only connected to each other; they are connected to the big picture. And one unified vision for the company will do wonders for collaboration and for the bottom line. Happy knowledge sharing!