Knowledge is not a static field. It evolves and expands, adjusts to changing circumstances and finds answers to new questions. This is doubly true within the framework of a company.
A company’s know-how is never a set of fixed procedures; it is expanding and building with each new challenge and constantly evolving with the industry. Theoretic knowledge only goes so far faced with practical circumstances, and unique solutions to specific problems build up over time into that most treasured commodity of an employee — practical experience.
This experience, invaluable as it may be, isn’t always willingly and systematically shared among team members and colleagues. Sometimes employees are reluctant to share their knowledge, and sometimes it is a systemic issue, with the management failing to realize the importance of sharing knowledge, not doing enough to encourage it or lacking the infrastructure for effective knowledge sharing. Whatever the case may be, failure to share knowledge can have far-reaching consequences for businesses.
Here are some of the most common ways in which not sharing knowledge negatively affects companies.
1. Waste of time
Various studies estimate that employees spend anywhere between one and two hours per day searching for information to help them with their work. That’s up to 25% of an average workday — a number so high that we could simply end the article right here. And that’s just the immediate everyday effect.
Time is also lost in bringing new employees up to speed. Even the most qualified hires will need time to adjust to the specific challenges of a new job, but that time will be extended even further without a knowledge sharing culture and accessible know-how specific to the workplace.
2. Repeating the same mistakes
The shared nature of work in a company implies that different employees will often be faced with the same challenges. It is natural and even expected that employees will sometimes make mistakes in addressing these challenges.
Ideally, employees will learn from their mistakes and not repeat them, but if these experiences and the preferred solutions are not shared, other employees will inevitably make the same mistakes, further adding to a problem that could’ve been avoided.
3. Knowledge loss
All companies have a diverging number of employees in possession of the so-called “deep smarts”, the comprehensive know-how in their field of work in the company. And while these workers are generally well respected, valued and rewarded by the company, the management should always be prepared for the possibility of one of those employees leaving.
If the company doesn’t have a well-established knowledge sharing culture (such as company wikis we at BlogIn rely on), the precious know-how amassed through their work will leave right out the door with the departing employee. The loss of experienced employees is always painful for a company, but in the absence of knowledge sharing this pain is increased, since the company cannot readily replace the experience and the practical knowledge gained through everyday work.
4. Slowing innovation
Innovation is a big word that usually brings to mind names like Elon Musk or Nikola Tesla, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a revolutionary breakthrough for all of humankind. Innovation happens at work almost every day. People find new solutions to old problems and make things work better. Over time, these small steps join together to create a more productive workplace and provide an improved product or a service.
These everyday innovations are essential to the success of a company. In a competitive market, every advantage and every incremental improvement can create an enormous difference. Sharing knowledge and nurturing a collaborative environment stimulates and drives innovation. Not sharing internal information and knowledge only supports the status quo.
What can be done?
There is no quick fix for creating a work environment that encourages collaboration and knowledge exchange. It is a process that requires a clear intent and a strategy from the management and necessitates active participation from every individual in the company.
It also requires an efficient technological solution for the creation of a comprehensive knowledge base. This is where we step in.
BlogIn is a smart and elegant platform that empowers companies to use their internal blog as a well-structured knowledge base accessible to all employees. It is a simple, adaptive, and collaborative platform for teams of all sizes.
Here is the list of key features and benefits internal communication platform such as BlogIn brings to your team:
- It makes internal communication simple and direct;
- It keeps all business information under one easy searchable, centralized system by letting you choose your own domain;
- It opens a new two-way communication channel between employees, allowing them to ask a question or comment on the published content
- It can be used both as a better newsletter platform or as a company wiki;
- It lets you organize your content and documents into clearly defined categories, for example, News, Events, Knowledge Base and General Topics; You can also use custom tags to further tag and describe the content
- It is easily accessible to all, but you can assign different levels of access to each individual employee
- It is visible virtually anywhere, through desktop notifications, a mobile web app, and integration with other popular communication channels, allowing users to easily adjust to the BlogIn experience.
Building a culture of knowledge sharing won’t happen overnight, but you have to start somewhere. Choosing the right tool can set you on the right track and help transform your team into a highly organized unit that drives your company’s progress and success.