“So what exactly does a data analyst do?”
“Nice presentation! I had no idea how Google Ads worked.”
“Why does it take so long to design a website?”
These are the questions you might expect a new employee to ask in their first few days on the job. Sadly, similar questions are also all too common among longtime associates.
Knowledge sharing in the workplace is essential for keep teams balanced and help your organization achieve its goals. But many businesses struggle to communicate important information within teams, let alone across departments, and this hurts their productivity.
In this article, we’ll talk about why we need to break down the silos that block useful communication. We’ll also share tips on how to create a culture of knowledge sharing that inspires collaboration and innovation.
What is knowledge sharing at work?
Knowledge sharing is information transfer, both documented and undocumentedacross teams and individuals.
An open exchange of important information helps preserve company knowledge and employee expertise. It also ensures that everyone involved in a critical project or deal has access to all relevant information.
This critical exchange is limited when employees or teams work in silos which isolate them from each other.
Why do forces arise?
People often end up working independently within a company not because toxic work culturebut due to circumstances beyond their control.
For example, even the best employees stop sharing information when they have tight deadlines. They must focus all their time and energy on urgent tasks and deliverables to meet expectations.
It’s also easy for people to start working in a bubble when the team is spread out across different locations. Differences in time zones and working hours can make it difficult to track information in real time. And the lack of chance to meet each other in the break room eliminates informal communication.
Working from home it can also leave employees feeling isolated. When companies don’t have plans to keep everyone in sync, it’s easy for people to get into the habit of just doing their job and not reaching out to connect their work to the bigger picture.
Why breaking down silos is important
While it’s easy to see why silos form, it’s a mistake to ignore them—especially when it comes to knowledge sharing.
Knowledge is one of your team’s most important assets, and sharing it benefits your organization in many ways, including:
- Prevention of bottlenecks
- Make sure everyone can do their job well
- We help new hires and younger workers learn faster
- Maintaining strong collaboration across remote or hybrid teams
- Fostering better teamwork that leads to better productivity and innovation
When employees and teams stop sharing knowledge and start working in isolation, you lose those benefits.
For example, studies show that teams with strong collaboration are more productive and innovative.
Top among things employees want from their workplace are an inclusive work environment and more opportunities to collaborate and build a sense of team. Silos hinder inclusive communication and can damage employee morale and affect productivity.
Even if inclusion isn’t the problem, silos create barriers by keeping people out of the loop at critical moments.
For example, when one team does not know where the other is in the production cycle, it is difficult to schedule or meet important deadlines. Critical issues that arise are not communicated until one team or worker hands the project off to another, causing potential rework as they try to solve an unexpected problem.
Power is detrimental to good communication. If you want the benefits of knowledge sharing, you need to remove these barriers.
How to eliminate silos and enhance knowledge sharing at work
To break down silos, you need to establish formal and intentional knowledge management and sharing processes. And it requires sustained effort.
A one-off presentation on the importance of collaboration may make people aware of the problem, but it will not be enough to create and sustain change across the organization. Here are five ways you can help your teams collaborate and communicate effectively in the long run.
1. Create a culture of knowledge sharing
Build an environment that facilitates open communication by helping employees get to know each other and build relationships based on trust.
You can do this in casual interactions or formal meetings. For example:
- Plan informal team lunches or social activities to bond
- Have an all-hands meeting once a month to discuss winnings and make big announcements
- Hold regular breakout sessions for teams to discuss issues with their managers or brainstorm new ideas
- Invite subject matter experts to share their knowledge at informal lunch meetings
Whichever approach you take, make sure you give employees frequent occasions to get to know their co-workers and exchange information.
2. Invest in employee development
Give people the tools and knowledge they need to do their jobs. Training is perhaps one of the most basic forms of knowledge sharing, but it can have a big impact on your company’s success.
In addition to giving people the information to succeed, employee training also helps you create a learning culture which will keep employees in touch. You show employees that you invest in them, you communicate to them not only the necessary skills and tools, but also a sense of your values and priorities.
Make sure you have a plan in place remote and hybrid training so you include all employees equally.
Give your people access to information no matter where they are
Create online courses and hold video conferences with TalentLMS.
The training platform consistently ranked first by users.
3. Coach employees in soft skills
Even when people have the opportunity to share information, they don’t always know how to do it effectively. Soft skills training it guides people to the best ways to work with others by teaching them things like communication, adaptability, and creativity.
An ongoing coaching program in these areas can help people understand how to communicate vital information in a way that is clear and helps others take action. It can also show them how to adapt to new knowledge that affects their work.
4. Provide mentorship opportunities
Many job skills can be covered by formal training, but there is much to be gained from it workplace learning. Mentoring is a way of sharing knowledge between newer workers and their more experienced counterparts.
Consider ways to involve distributed team members as well. Development and mentoring program for remote workers it will benefit your employees in two ways: ensuring the transfer of job knowledge and helping remote employees feel more connected to the company.
5. Encourage employees to use knowledge sharing tools
Communication tools are critical to keeping people in the loop—especially in remote or hybrid workplaces. When different teams use different tools, information can sometimes fall through the cracks.
Set standards for communication within your organization to make regular communication easier and more likely. Chat tools like Slack or MS Teams support informal communication where employees can share thoughts, interesting articles, opinions or concerns.
More formal project or task management tools such as Trello or Asana ensure that critical changes in project status are communicated immediately.
Establish standards for the tools you use so everyone is on the same page and gaining critical knowledge in real time.
Sharing knowledge in the workplace is an investment in your future
You hired your employees for their experience, expertise and potential. Protect your investment by leveraging their knowledge on an ongoing basis.
By breaking down silos and encouraging communication across your organization, you’ll make it easier to bring everyone’s best work to the table. Your people will feel the value of their contribution and keep your organization on track and growing into the future.