How to Improve Productivity through Knowledge Sharing

Why does knowledge sharing matter?

  • Waiting for information: How often do you have to wait for a colleague in possession of unique knowledge to provide the information necessary for you to continue your work? Recent research indicates that workers spend more than five hours per week waiting for relevant information. Chances are that this time could be significantly shorter with an effective system of knowledge sharing.
  • Needless research: Individual research can be a big part of our professional development, but it is not always necessary. Think of how much time employees could save if the necessary information was readily available within the organization, instead of searching blindly for answers that are already there.
  • Double work: One of the more common issues that arise from the absence of shared knowledge within an organization is double work — employees doing work that, unbeknownst to them, has already been done by someone else within the organization. It is easy to imagine how a well-structured knowledge base could decrease and even prevent such occurrences.

How to share individual knowledge

  • Knowledge base: A dedicated depository with all the information relevant to all aspects of an organization’s work. Today’s technology makes it fairly easy to create and maintain a digital archive of all necessary and useful information, from educational resources to standards and practices, project documentation, employee records, and so on.
  • If you’re looking for an out-of-the-box solution that allows you to store and share knowledge in a variety of formats in a convenient and organized manner that allows you to control access, an internal company blog can become a systematic growing knowledge base for your organization.
  • Internal education: Educational efforts within organizations can often be more effective than external training. Teammates share the same work, speak the same language, and easily identify the information that can be useful to other team members. Presentations, workshops, clubs dedicated to specific technologies or professional areas — these are some of the more common modes of internal education, but you can probably find the model (or models) that best suit your working environment, as well as the right incentives and rewards for employees who make the effort to share knowledge.
  • Mentoring: We’re using the term “mentoring” in a very broad sense that spans any form of collaboration in an applied setting, where knowledge is shared and transferred through practical work. Being able to observe your teammates at work can be a powerful learning experience. From the process of onboarding and through continued professional development, organizations should be mindful of team structure to ensure that employees get not only theoretical support but also colleagues who can provide a practical example to follow and learn from.

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