We exchange information with each other all the time. Knowledge sharing helps us to learn from those who have a different skillset or are more skilled than we are. We can always learn something from everybody in our life and by reaching out to our coworkers we can do so in no time.
But to benefit from the knowledge sharing culture we should first understand what it actually means. Peter Senge from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology describes it accurately: “Sharing knowledge is not about giving people something or getting something from them. Sharing knowledge occurs when people are genuinely interested in helping one another develop new capacities for action.”
It helps us to feel motivated and valued
By helping people to develop and learn new things, we can see how our work can really make a difference. Those behaviors can improve our engagement and help us to feel motivated and appreciated. “Of course, such willingness derives from personality as well as a supportive organizational environment, but much research has shown that people who have been mentored themselves are much more likely to mentor others.”, says Dorothy Leonard, William J. Abernathy Professor of Business Administration Emerita at Harvard Business School. At the workplace where knowledge sharing is promoted, we can be valued and heard not only by our clients. While sharing our skills with others we can be noticed as valuable experts and build our reputation. It’s also easier to recognize future leaders as those who are focused on organizing people and taking initiatives. This sense of purpose, helps to build collaborative teams, increase enthusiasm and encourages everyone to exchange information. When people around us constantly develop their skills, we also want more from ourselves.
Improves communication and builds relationships
Efficient learning and getting to know new things are both naturally easier while we socialize. Quick chit-chat over a coffee in the kitchen gives us the opportunity to know about different initiatives or tools we could use. Through this we can build relationships and start to collaborate between teams. Knowledge sharing removes communication barriers and increase the efficiency of information flow. During a conversation, when we are focusing on finding the best solution to our problem, we may not concentrate much on the social aspect. But the relationship grows either way and becomes much stronger, as we appreciate the help given to us. One study from Warwick University showed how knowledge sharing improved relationships between employees. By creating a space for interaction, trust and open communications, we can also contribute to creative problem solving and innovation.
Promotes innovation and best problem-solving solutions
Jeff Green, Assurance Leader — Global Delivery Services, explains the importance of knowledge as an asset in the organization as part of the report EY. The knowledge advantage: “In EY’s experience, knowledge is a major driver of customer service, innovation and revenue growth. Asked for their most important drivers of success, four in five business leaders (81%) across multiple sectors worldwide rank knowledge top.” That is why it is so important to share our knowledge and skills, and with this share the best problem-solving solutions and improve decision-making processes. When we are looking for information and resources on the Internet, the information-overload can make this difficult. It’s hard sometimes to figure out what solution the best one is. According to the latest research from SearchYourCloud, search is a complex and time-consuming process which could waste valuable time and not all that we find in the Internet is dependable: “It takes most workers up to eight searches to find a specific document and/or information and while searching for that information, it takes one-third of employees up to 25 minutes to find exactly what they’re looking for”. When we share information directly and in more dynamic way, we can respond to our customers’ expectations quicker and fewer errors are repeated. We can learn from other’s mistakes and find the best solutions for our projects. By having a conversation with a colleague, we can find our answers a lot faster.
They say Two heads think better than one. When we share different skills and experiences, we can develop new ideas and solutions, supporting us in achieving our tasks: “Knowledge sharing allows innovation to flourish freely. One idea that’s given the opportunity to be developed through knowledge sharing could become our organization’s next big innovative project.”