Knowledge Sharing Tools & Best Practices

Learn how to build a culture of knowledge sharing in your organization and break through knowledge silos.

In today's fast-paced, information-intensive world, knowledge has become the new most sought after commodity. Experienced employees at most companies hold a wealth of information, whether it's industry know-how, best practices, or customer knowledge, yet knowledge sharing often doesn't come naturally.

On the contrary, in many cases, employees in possession of critical knowledge will often protect and hide it believing that it gives them a competitive advantage. Knowledge hoarding has thus become a silent problem in many companies.

And when your employees struggle to access the information they need to perform their jobs, your company’s bottom line suffers. According to some studies, businesses lose up to $10 billion a year from failing to share knowledge.

Benefits of knowledge sharing in organizations

Simply put, knowledge sharing is the exchange of valuable information between the employees of an organization. It's a fundamental part of every company's knowledge management efforts.

Knowledge sharing can happen in the form of employee handbooks, manuals, mentoring sessions, and even informal discussions between workers.

Studies have found that knowledge sharing leads to greater creativity, more innovation, improved collaboration, and better performance, for individuals, teams, and organizations. There are many reasons why companies would want to encourage it.

Knowledge sharing prevents the "brain drain"

Your long-time employees have accumulated a lot of valuable know-how over the years. Unless they document or share that knowledge with other employees, they will take it with them when they leave. Making up for that knowledge loss is not cheap either. It has been estimated that it costs more than $30,000 to replace a member of staff, resulting from the loss of productivity in the 28 weeks it takes to bring a new recruit up to speed.

Employees are better equipped to do their jobs

In 2012, McKinsey reported that on average, “employees spend 9.3 hours per week searching and gathering information”. And wasted time is just part of the problem. When knowledge is not shared, decisions take longer, the same mistakes are made over and over again, work gets duplicated, and overall quality of work suffers. When employees have access to the information they need, when they need it, they get things done faster.

New hires ramp up productivity faster

When a new employee joins a team, there is an overwhelming amount of things they need to learn: the tools, the workflows, the company culture. Knowledge sharing between new and experienced employees helps them get up to speed and learn the ropes sooner.

Knowledge sharing tools

Establishing a knowledge-sharing culture in your organization is not an easy task which can't be solved by technology alone. But choosing the right knowledge sharing tool is an important first step.

If the tool you choose turns out to be slow, complex, or buggy, it's going to be a lot more difficult to encourage your team to use it. On the other hand, if the tool is intuitive and fun to use, knowledge sharing can turn from a chore into a pleasant, rewarding activity. An ideal knowledge sharing tool (for example, a knowledge base or an intranet portal) needs to:

Knowledge sharing tools

Sharing knowledge through an intranet portal (Nuclino)

One such knowledge sharing tool is Nuclino, a collaborative wiki designed to facilitate knowledge sharing in teams. It focuses on essential features and offers a clean, intuitive interface that can be easily set up even by non-technical users.

Teams use Nuclino to share and collaborate on business memos, SOP documents, process documentation, employee onboarding checklists, meeting minutes, project plans and more.

Best practices for knowledge sharing

As mentioned above, technology alone is not enough to make knowledge sharing an integral part of your company culture. “If you build it, they will come” is rarely how it goes with corporate knowledge bases. It needs to be a continuous process that requires discipline and commitment from your entire team.

Fortunately, there are several effective measures you can take to motivate your colleagues:

Keep your knowledge base is up-to-date

Your team would be a lot more likely to engage with your knowledge base if it makes their day-to-day jobs easier. If you are introducing a new knowledge base, make sure that the information it contains is helpful, up-to-date, and easy to retrieve.

Make knowledge sharing a part of the onboarding process

To make knowledge sharing a core part of your company culture, start with your new hires. Introduce them to your knowledge base and show them how to update it. Pair them with a mentor they can turn to with questions. Allow them to shadow someone in a similar position and let them learn through observation.

Embrace asynchronous communication

Knowledge silos exist because in most companies information is mainly exchanged in meetings, without getting documented. Communicating asynchronously through thoughtful long-worm write-ups automatically creates documentation and adds to your team knowledge base, increasing clarity and transparency and benefiting everyone, including your future employees.

Provide incentives

Before knowledge sharing turns into a habit, motivating your team may require some effort. Make it a team KPI and come up with appropriate rewards for the most active contributors to your team knowledge base.

Pay attention to feedback

Cultural shifts don't happen overnight and it may be difficult to get it right the first time. Make sure to monitor your team and identify potential areas of improvement. Are there repetitive questions that could be documented in the knowledge base? Is the content kept up-to-date? Are new hires struggling to find the information they need? Use your team's input to continuously iterate on your knowledge sharing workflows, making your employees feel included, valued, and heard.

Nuclino: Your team's single source of truth

Nuclino

Nuclino is a unified workspace that helps you organize all of your team's work in one place. Instead of digging through the chaos of files and folders and drowning in endless meetings and notifications, Nuclino allows your team to break out of silos and collaborate more thoughtfully.

Try it now

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