Knowledge sharing, especially for an enterprise-level organization, is an incredibly powerful tool.
How many times have you seen an employee leave a company and take a specific set of information and experience with them that nobody else had access to? Probably too many to count!
That's why it's so important to capture the knowledge that your team members have and share it throughout the organization. The benefits are endless, but here are just a few to get you excited. Knowledge sharing helps organizations like yours:
In this page, we'll tell you everything you need to know to get started. Happy learning!
When it comes down to it, every business is made up of people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and career paths. Because of that, everyone has a unique blend of knowledge and points of view. Wouldn’t it be great if you could tap into that information, capture it, and share it with the rest of your organization? How awesome would that be for your business?
That’s the power of knowledge sharing.
When you’re able to bring that wealth of knowledge to the forefront and make it accessible to others, you’re compounding the impact it brings to the table. For example, if someone on your sales team has a strong background in social selling, it may help them do their job but it’s useless to the rest of the team. However, if they have the means to easily articulate and share that knowledge with the team, then everyone can learn the power of social selling and your sales could skyrocket.
More often than not, organizations already have the knowledge, experience, and skill they need to succeed but it’s harnessed in one person or another and not across the rest of the team. Or, if they do have a system in place, it’s in written format which takes a long time to create and is difficult to consume.
Nobody has time to slow down and write down everything they know about social selling, customer service, or product development. And even if they did, nobody has time to stop doing their jobs long enough to read through that documentation, study it, learn it, and consume it all. That’s what makes knowledge sharing through video such an effective approach.
As the old saying goes, “knowledge is power.” In the business world, the more information a team has access to, the better they’ll perform. Say that you have an SDR team whose main responsibility is to schedule as many product demos as possible. Every time they run into a roadblock with an objection, they make a series of videos.
So, the next time that objection comes up, the rest of the team that knows how to overcome the objection in the future!
When you get really sophisticated with knowledge sharing, you can create a whole repository of information like that. Being proactive and getting ahead of objections in the sales process, clarifying the standard operating procedure for data entry, avoiding class mistakes that beginner customer service reps make – these are all examples of things that can be stored, shared, and implemented to drive the success of your business.
When trying to implement a knowledge-sharing program for the first time, there are some common pitfalls and stumbling blocks that people run into:
Most often, this stems from the assumption that building a system for knowledge-sharing has to be more complicated than it actually is. Like with learning any new tool, there’s a learning curve and it may take some time to get up and running. However, you’ll find that it’s actually super easy to implement.
It’s not supposed to be a scary or intimidating process. It’s not supposed to be disruptive to your operations or add “one more thing” to everyone’s plate. It should be fun, easy, and exciting!
What am I going to say? What questions am I going to ask? Is anyone going to care?
These are questions that challenge even the most seasoned of writers and storytellers, but there are some easy ways to overcome them with the right preparation.
That’s where storyboards come into play.
Providing some basic cues and prompts go a long way in making your employees feel comfortable and confident in sharing what they know. The best knowledge-sharing platforms have these cues built into them to make the whole process feel less intimidating.
Having the right editorial work in place will provide people with the structure to share content. That’s done best by providing them with prompts and specific questions to get them engaged and using open-ended questions to have them effectively share information for a specific business case.
Using video is important because it humanizes everyone in the organization. It’s a medium that everybody wants to use but is very unsure of using because they assume it's very time-consuming.
Not all employees want to engage and that’s okay – people want different things out of their jobs and careers. However, if you get those really engaged employees to create content and share that in an effective way within the organization, others start to see those engaged people sharing their passion for what they do and why they do it. It's contagious.
Employee-generated content, or EGC, is exactly what it sounds like: content that's been created by employees. All employees have a story to tell and employee generated content is a platform for them to create and share that story.
Having a system in place to share EGC is a wonderful way to keep employees engaged. It empowers your workforce to share their voice. As humans, we all crave connections with one another and when content comes from people we know, it resonates and feels more relevant.
So, if employees are getting content on a daily basis from your coworkers as opposed to just your senior leadership, that resonates with people.
Employee generated content also takes really boring subjects and makes them exciting. What’s more exciting?
Taking simple, everyday tasks and putting a story behind them make these events more compelling.
The cool thing about EGC is that it has a ripple effect. Once one person starts to do it, then the next person starts to do it and the next person starts to do it. And that has an effect on culture. You really can't mandate culture, that's something that grows organically. So if you empower your staff with a voice through employee-generated content, you can then drive your company culture through employee-generated content as well.
A lot of businesses, whether they like it or not, have silos. Maybe you have multiple languages being spoken or different locations not communicating with each other. It can even happen in small companies that share one office space! If you're not effectively communicating, you are creating a problem. So breaking down silos from that point is important.
When you break down silos through EGC, you build three things:
It goes back to the human element, especially with regards to using video. When you see your coworkers sharing information, it's going to make you trust the people around you more. It's going to build camaraderie within the organization and get everybody linked together. And that’s how culture gets ingrained into your organization’s DNA.
An enterprise knowledge-sharing platform is basically a tool that allows employees to share knowledge and information with other people in the company. It can exist in many different formats: video, text, images, etc. Materializing this knowledge and making it available to others is an incredibly powerful way to build a culture of engagement and set the organization up for future success.
This is especially true for enterprise organizations, which have a unique set of challenges. Often enterprise-level companies are dealing with multiple locations, massive departments, different languages being spoken, a multi-generational workforce, and different time zones. This can lead to silos, exclusive jargon, disruptive communication, and more.
With turnover rates being so high across all industries right now, especially among younger workers, it’s important for all businesses to retain the maximum amount of knowledge and information within the company.
The more specialized the industry or skillset is, the higher the need for knowledge-sharing. If someone is using technical skills like machinery or sophisticated tools and they’re the only person who knows how to use them, what happens when they leave? Ideally, all knowledge is shared and transferred within the organization, but place a priority in identifying the knowledge and skillsets that are the most specific or technical first.
Then create the channels for sharing that information. Sometimes it’s best to create different channels so each type of knowledge that’s being shared has a system designed specifically for its use and for the people who will be using it. People in IT might have a completely different skillset and preference of workflow from people in Sales, right?
The good thing is, you don’t need to create these channels from scratch. There are templates out there that make this whole process seamless and easy to use. And that’s important – if this whole thing stresses people out and creates more work for them, they won’t do it. Having an administrator or champion on your team who owns this process is a great idea so they can manage expectations and make sure everyone’s needs are being met.
To that point, think about the “old days” where you may have worked at a job that had an intranet system that was built with an IT-first, top-down mindset. It probably didn’t do much to foster an environment of engagement and collaboration, did it? Two-way communication is so critical to this whole process, otherwise, it’s going to be another just another initiative that employees simply didn’t find value in so they didn’t adopt it.
Let’s start with a scenario: a company hires a new employee and flies them into the corporate HQ for a couple of weeks of orientation and onboarding. As they develop, they learn new skills and processes through a training session here and a seminar there. Maybe a few times a year the company brings them in for an all-hands sales conference.
It sounds familiar, right? We’ve all seen companies operate like this. However, there are two major issues with this type of operation:
Think about it. The company is paying for travel, training, event spaces, marketing activation, the list goes on and on.
Studies show that people forget more than 70% of what was on Day 1 of training after 75% after 6 days of training. So, they’re probably leaving training having confidently learned 10% of what they were being taught.
So that's a lot of how training and enterprise knowledge-sharing happened in the past and in the slower-to-adapt organizations of today. However, companies are recognizing that the costs of travel are not sustainable and they need to find a way to manage stuff like this more virtually, while still engaging employees.
Similarly, feedback from employees is driving companies to think about ways that make the content more relevant and come out faster. Because if you're waiting for twice a year to get trained on something, you're missing things all throughout the year. Employees want to learn new things as long as it’s presented to them in a way that’s retainable and makes them feel confident in what they’re being taught.
Another challenge that organizations are shifting away from is the idea that the same handful of people are the only ones presenting on all of these different topics. When this happens, people aren’t really seeing the diversity and different perspectives from people all across the company. They’re only getting the voice of a small few. All employees have relevant insight to share, wouldn't it be great to hear from those in the role on what helps them be most successful?
With turnover rates being higher than they have ever been, companies have learned that their cost per employee for training is too high from the value they're getting back from the employee if that employee only stays for a year or two.
This is especially true when more employees are starting to work virtually. These days, people that are coming into an organization learn in a very different way than how they did ten years ago. Companies that adapt their training methods to make it most receptive to people that are learning are the ones who will retain their employees and ultimately, succeed.
The other thing to consider is that people’s attention spans are shorter than they have ever been. In their personal lives, they can get answers immediately on smartphones, play any music with a verbal command, and have food delivered to their doorstep with the push of a button. They expect business information to be delivered to them with the same speed and brevity.
That’s what makes enterprise knowledge-sharing so powerful. Everybody has something valuable to say and when you put the right technology in their hands, they’ll become storytellers that are going to help others grow and learn.
One of the challenges of creating an information-sharing culture, and where people typically hit resistance, is how much is too much information to share? Ideally, you want to push information that brings value to the company; no more, no less.
There is indeed a realistic, attainable happy medium to find between companies that minimize the sharing of information to avoid “noise” and those which value communication at the expense of being helpful and on-topic.
When you create a program that reconciles top-down communication with bottom-up expression, you’ll create a culture of transparency, alignment, credibility, and security.
When these things fall into place, you’ll be amazed at the collaboration that follows. Instead of the hierarchical communication that leads to silos and frustration. People will feel confident in what they know and feel empowered to share it with others.
And the best part is – this type of peer-to-peer communication is contagious. It breeds mimicry. Your employees will be learning new things, getting to know their colleagues better, and create greater respect for different departments from their own.
For more ideas, read our blog post: 4 Ways to Promote Information Sharing in Your Organization