You've probably heard the saying Sharing is Caring, but did you know that a culture of knowledge sharing is just as important as having the best knowledge management tools and software?
Let's start with the definition of knowledge-sharing:
The exchange of information within the organization - between team members and employees.
If we dig a bit deeper, then knowledge sharing in the workplace would be a process of creating space for open communication about joint successes, common problems, and plans that employees make together.
Without a comfortable environment where team members can share openly, results will lag. In fact, various types of research confirmed that businesses lose up to $31.5 billion annually because they don’t share knowledge and resources with employees.
Studies constantly confirm that sharing knowledge within an organization encourages employees to be more productive, and when employees are productive, the sustainable growth of the company is guaranteed.
John J. Murphy, author of Pulling Together: 10 Rules for High-Performance Teamwork says:
Each individual has unique gifts, talents, and skills. When we bring them to the table and share them for a common purpose, it can give companies a real competitive advantage.
Benefits of sharing knowledge within a team
Teamwork has a lot of positive effects on the working atmosphere. Some of these influences are well-known to everyone.
However, there are many more positive things that teamwork brings that you may not have considered.
Organizational transparency is a result of knowledge exchange
In today's digital world, all reports indicate that transparency - internal and external - is in the top place when it comes to business.
If you put yourself in the shoes of a customer, the fact is that you will rather choose a company that is straightforward with you with their communication. It’s the same thing when it comes to transparency within the organization.
Employees care a lot about internal transparency. It enables them to build strong bonds and they are open to sharing their expertise with the team.
If your company's ecosystem supports the free and transparent flow of information – in addition to making it easier for your employees to do their jobs well – you also have the opportunity to attract and retain the best talent.
No "Brain – Drain"
During their many years of working within an organization, employees acquire a lot of valuable knowledge and experience. If they don't document or share that knowledge with their team, they will take it with them when they leave.
It’s estimated that making up for that loss is not cheap.
Replacing a staff member requires a lot of time and a lot of work in order to get used to the new employee, and the process itself usually costs the company up to 30,000 dollars.
That's the equivalent of a loss of productivity of about 29 weeks that it takes for a new member to master all the necessary information.
Employees are more determined to do their jobs
From the research conducted by McKinsey in 2012, you can find out that "employees spend 9.3 hours per week searching and gathering information".
If we consider the increasingly rapid technological development, you shouldn’t be surprised if the number of hours spent on online research is higher today.
In the daily race for information and data, lost time is only part of the problem.
When knowledge and information are not shared and stored appropriately, work takes longer, mistakes are repeated, employees are stressed, and results and quality often lag.
However, when employees have access to the data and information they need, they perform their work faster, more thoroughly, and with less stress.
New employees find their way faster
Imagine coming into a completely new and unfamiliar work environment that has been in business for years. You will certainly need time to adapt and get used to the new work environment. What everyone needs in those moments is a community that will accept them.
And a community that welcomes new colleagues with a smile is a community that fosters a culture of knowledge sharing.
In such communities, the working environment is positive, with healthy interpersonal relations. Such communities are made up of teams that selflessly share knowledge, are ready to help each other, and solve any potential problems easily.
This is also supported by Gallup's study which shows that organizations with highly motivated and engaged employees outperform competitors with less engaged workers by an incredible margin of 147%.
Stale solutions often come out of working in a vacuum.
When more people are working to solve some problems or come up with new strategies, innovative ideas surface more quickly. This is due to the different perspectives of all team members, who when united come to solutions and results.
However, there is a very important thing to note: This is only possible in teams where communication is open and collaborative.
Lead by example
To cultivate a healthy collaboration culture it’s important to remember the difference between saying: “You can do this” and “We can do this together.”
Leading by example is a leadership style where you model the behavior you want to see in your team members, and that includes doing the following:
· Build trust between you and your team
· Create an inclusive, collaborative work environment
· Build a culture of accountability
· Increase team loyalty, engagement, and retention
Companies that combine a culture of knowledge sharing with knowledge management tools make their employees happier and more loyal, and each time a team member leaves, the team gets over it more easily.
Many studies around the world have confirmed that knowledge-sharing and collaborative culture in companies naturally boost employee productivity. Such an atmosphere provides numerous business opportunities, keeping the organization successful and competitive.
After all, fostering knowledge-sharing initiatives naturally multiplies opportunities for growth and development.
So why not invest in a strategy that will pay for itself?