In our last blog “10 Ways to Manage and Share Knowledge Like Sherlock and Watson (Part 1),” we discussed how to set up your team for knowledge sharing success. In this blog, you’ll earn your detective badge by learning how to execute that strategy.
1. Know What Knowledge Is Worth Sharing
Now that you have the right tools in place, what content should be added? One way to ensure the failure of a knowledge sharing platform is to crowd it with outdated or irrelevant information, making it nearly impossible (or ridiculously time-consuming) for users to identify the information they need.
Best-in-class companies develop a set of guiding principles for what should be posted and who should post. Do you want to include work-in-progress documents or only final documents? Should posting be performed by everyone, or only a few? Once you have this established, socialize these guiding principles to avoid confusion and irrelevant content.
To further avoid the pitfall of storing irrelevant or incomplete knowledge, develop a content curation strategy. Depending on the number of users and frequency of posts in your organization, set a time frame (once a quarter, once a month, etc.) to do a company-wide spring cleaning of your knowledge sharing platform.
Pro tip: Take a divide-and-conquer approach to your content curation. Divide posts among users and identify information that is outdated and should be archived, that is relevant but needs updating or editing, and that is still useful as-is. Doing this every so often will ensure the information shared in your company is worth sharing–and that no one person gets buried under a time-consuming content audit.
2. Identify The Practices Of Your Top Performers And Duplicate Them
Now that your team is using your knowledge sharing platform, identify the practices that account for the success of your top-performing knowledge sharers. For example, do your top collaborators share the most posts? Do they interact with the most posts from others? Do they spend the most time in the knowledge sharing platform? What are their personality traits? Is your top performer the one who is never afraid to speak their mind and share their ideas in meetings?
Identify your top performer’s traits, and learn from them.
Pro-tip: When you identify your top collaborators, invite them to share their strategies with the group in a meeting or in your knowledge sharing platform. The rest of your team will benefit from their knowledge, and the public recognition will make them feel valued and rewarded for their hard work, making it likely to continue. It’s a win-win.
3. Develop a Plan for Knowledge Retention
Knowledge sharing can only take your organization so far if you lose your best knowledge each time an employee retires or leaves (one step forward, two steps back is never a good thing). To ensure that the knowledge shared in your company outlives the employees who share it, your team has got to document, document, document.
Encourage your employees to be as thorough as possible when titling, categorizing, and tagging their posts in the knowledge sharing platform. This will ensure that information will be accessible for years and years to come.
Pro tip: Are you finding that some team members are resistant to writing things down? Let them use their phones or web cameras to record short videos of themselves sharing important information. Upload these videos to a knowledge sharing platform that will digitally transcribe the spoken words so that it’s easy for other team members to search for key phrases.
4. Target Your Knowledge to the Right Internal Audience
When sharing knowledge in your organization’s knowledge sharing platform, it’s critical that the information shared is targeted to the correct internal group or department (otherwise you risk a cluttered disaster of a knowledge sharing platform).
Here is where the structure of your knowledge sharing platform comes into play (again). Imagine if a user wants to publish a post that is only relevant to the engineering team–they don’t need to post it where the whole company will see it. To better target your information to the correct internal audiences, create different groups for each team.
Pro tip: While creating groups can help you target your messaging, depending too heavily on groups can also lead to departmental silos. Make sure your database also has a space for sharing information across your company.
5. Make It Easy
We live in a culture of convenience. Even your top performers and hardest workers expect the technology utilized within their organization to make their lives easier, not create more work.
So to encourage internal knowledge sharing, make it easy. Use a platform with company-wide, comprehensive search that can easily and quickly identify the information and content that employees need. Information should be easy to discover, no matter where it’s hiding. Who wouldn’t want to contribute to knowledge sharing if it makes their job easier and faster than ever before?
Pro tip: Consider holding a launch event and asking attendees to complete quick tasks in your knowledge sharing platform to demonstrate how easy it will be to use.
6. Reward Collaboration
Humans are creatures of affirmation. When we work hard and go above and beyond, we want that to be recognized. When our behavior is recognized, we want to continue going above and beyond. So every month, run reports to find out who your top contributors are, and then publicly reward them. Whose posts got the most engagement? Who left the most comments? Who answered the most questions, or spent the most time in the knowledge sharing platform? Reward these victories. The important thing is to be recognized.
Remember, always promote a culture of ideas and experimentation, reward hard work, and invest in technology that will provide your organization with a sturdy foundation! But above all, share, share, share.