How to Encourage Knowledge Sharing in Your Organization

by | Knowledge Management

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The collective knowledge of the people within your organization is one of your company’s biggest assets—it’s no wonder knowledge sharing is a key component of KCS methodology many knowledge managers adopt.

If you can normalize knowledge sharing and feedback from both employees (and your customers), you can gain an edge in today’s competitive business landscape.

Benefits of knowledge sharing—why do it?

One practical benefit of knowledge sharing in an organization is to retain important information otherwise lost if employees are absent or retire.

Take a senior product expert, for example. In a knowledge-sharing culture, customer support agents have a better chance to boost metrics like time on hold if company experts routinely create and update knowledge base articles or other content types.

With the right knowledge management tool, organizations keep knowledge up-to-date and accurate with KM process that allows agents, managers, and even customers to relay important feedback. Knowledge sharing involves not only documenting new information, but keep existing knowledge usable—after all, you need employees to share the right how-to articles, the best information available at all times.

You’ll find many knowledge bases that help users share information or access knowledge in internal channels, but they often lack features—like content analytics or advanced user permissions. Without these enterprise features it’s really difficult to keep a simple knowledge base reliable.

Sharing knowledge is obviously a good thing—after all, a lack of available knowledge slows onboarding, decreases productivity, and causes knowledge loss when employees leave.

To encourage knowledge sharing (the right way), here are three tips to keep in mind.

1Create a knowledge management team

To really make knowledge management part of your company’s culture, you need a team to oversee and implement the right knowledge management system—one that makes knowledge sharing easy. Ideally you need someone responsible for managing the KM team, the processes, and the technology.

An internal subject matter expert or customer service agent can share valuable feedback if your KM solution allows for it.

The AI Survival Guide for Knowledge Managers Read this guide to future-proof knowledge management in the age of AI.

Your company’s knowledge management owner should handle vetting, storing, and distributing knowledge; this person should ensure knowledge can not only be accessed—but can be commented on—in any internal or external environment knowledge is needed.

The knowledge manager should assess whether knowledge needs to be shared or accessed within a simple communication channel like Slack, or an external customer support environment like a contact center or customer self-service portal.

Build a team that can scale

If you’re just getting started with knowledge management, start with a small team that handles essential functions. As your company and your knowledge management framework grow, your team can scale.

The size of your team will depend on the number of groups you need to serve. If you’re creating a small internal knowledge base, you may be able to start with a knowledge manager and a technical administrator. Larger KM teams will need to include members who oversee your knowledge library, customer support managers, trainers, and other stakeholders.

Define clear roles and responsibilities

A task won’t get done unless someone is held accountable for doing it; if you want to encourage knowledge sharing, define roles and responsibilities on your KM team. View our post, Knowledge Management Roles and Responsibilities for a few best practices.

To keep it simple, a knowledge manager will usually handle maintenance and implementation, while the technical administrator will handle access management and integration tasks.

Your library subject matter experts and content-creation team will be responsible for creating, editing, storing, and organizing your knowledge.

Tip: Don’t limit knowledge creation and sharing to only your official team. Employees and customers should be encouraged to leave feedback for other members of your KM team to review.

2Consolidate shared knowledge in one place

Sharing knowledge does no good if it’s wrong or outdated; for many companies this task is easier said than done.

If you have valuable knowledge spread out across 5 different applications or duplicate content—it’s time to consolidate. Before you encourage employees to share insight, feedback, or create content, knowledge needs to be consolidated in a central location.

Many knowledge management tools focus on the ‘sharing’ of random pieces of information with no real organization; noisy internal channels can actually hinder sharing rather than encourage it, especially without content health or a proper feedback mechanism.

Even though knowledge repositories may contain some useful content, employees will lose trust if content becomes stale from a lack of maintenance.

You should encourage employees to share knowledge at any time, but without a single source of truth to collect feedback and author content, shared information can be very difficult for others to quickly locate.

3Use a modern knowledge management platform

If you work at a small company, a knowledge base with knowledge-sharing features can make it easy to quickly capture or share information. For enterprises, you’ll need more features than knowledge sharing.

Most enterprises require a full-scale knowledge management platform that will not only enable knowledge sharing, but provide insights into knowledge gaps and improvement opportunities.

Enterprise knowledge management platforms should serve as a command center for knowledge with more than sharing capabilities. Here are a few to look for:

  • Advanced content authoring – workflows that allow you to create and publish content, set priorities, route content for approval, and announce new, high-priority content.
  • Artificial intelligence – A good knowledge management platform will use AI and leverage big data related to KM to deliver insights and gaps in knowledge automatically
  • Self-service features – Shared knowledge does no good if customers can’t access it. Look for a platform that can infuse knowledge in all your existing customer channels, and one that can incorporate their feedback.
  • Enterprise integrations – knowledge sharing shouldn’t be limited to internal channels—a true enterprise platform can surface knowledge and collect signals from customers via live chat, CRMs, contact center IVR systems, and more.

Ready to build your knowledge hub?

Knowledge sharing in your organization is a valuable practice. However, it’s important to make sure you’re not just creating more distractions, incomplete information, large volumes of cards, and articles that are difficult to sort through and organize.

To put this in perspective: for a large company, inefficient knowledge sharing is responsible for $47 million in lost productivity — each year.

If you’re accumulating knowledge at a high rate, take a step back to ensure knowledge managers don’t have to manage dozens of unnecessary ‘silos’. Instead, define a centralized knowledge hub that acts as your command center.

Think of knowledge as more than sharing—think of knowledge as an infrastructure, a foundation for information that can be accessed by anyone, and any time.

Read this Next

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