Your organization’s most valuable, and likely only irreplaceable, resource is the knowledge, ability, and skills of your team. A company’s productivity and success relies on how effectively team members share competencies with colleagues.
Unfortunately, 34% of employees do not speak up and share their ideas and knowledge in the workplace for fear of retribution. Beyond that, employees may not share the knowledge they possess because they are afraid of looking inexperienced, may have difficulty challenging those in leadership roles, be unfamiliar with constructive ways to give feedback, or feel that managers are unavailable to them.
No matter what the reason, if your people are not sharing their knowledge and experience, your bottom line is suffering. It is essential for your team to feel safe asking questions, sharing expertise, and searching for answers. By implementing a knowledge sharing strategy, you will give your team the tools they need to build their confidence in the workplace and start speaking up and sharing information.
The Democratization Of Knowledge
The first step to building the confidence of your team is to democratize company knowledge. Democratizing company knowledge means putting everyone on a level playing field when it comes to accessing information, asking questions, and sharing their own experiences.
In the old way of running a business, company information typically came down from the top. A few senior leaders at the top decided what knowledge was important to share and pushed that content throughout the organization. Now, the most effective companies empower — and expect — everyone to be sharing knowledge. Content and information should be coming from every department and every person regardless of their seniority or role. Your employees should be eager to share their knowledge and insights to help the company grow, it’s just a matter of helping them do so.
Create A Safe Space For Sharing
No matter how good they are at their jobs, some people find asking questions and sharing knowledge with a large group of people (which may include leadership) intimidating. Encourage employees to share their ideas with small groups of trusted team members first to build confidence in the workplace and get initial feedback.
With the right knowledge sharing software, these conversations can happen easily and efficiently with the ability to tag trusted team members to participate in conversations, rather than creating long, confusing email chains.
Give Every Employee A Voice
Constant conversation, brainstorming, and encouraging knowledge sharing in the workplace help to put your teams’ expertise to use, gaining new perspectives, and generating solutions you may not think of on your own. If sharing an idea is making people nervous, it might be easier for them to build off of other ideas. Giving everyone an opportunity to take one idea and speak up, may turn a good idea into a great one.
By giving your team the tools they need to share their knowledge, they become incredibly empowered. And as a result, your company will have a bank of knowledge that is created and curated internally rather than coming from outside the organization. Creating a culture in which your employees feel comfortable and confident to share what they know and what they want to know, as knowledge providers and knowledge seekers will help keep your organization agile, competitive, and successful.