Nov 29, 2021

3 Ways to Improve Organizational Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration

3 Ways to Improve Organizational Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration

Organisational knowledge sharing is the process of transferring undocumented and documented information from one person to another within the work environment.

Sharing knowledge is vital, as it increases productivity and empowers employees to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. By giving employees access to verbal and written company insights, resources and expertise, they can work faster and smarter.

Digital ways of sharing knowledge and collaborating with team members has become more important than ever. People need to communicate and learn from each other online, which has created more demand for effective collaboration tools. 

File sharing platforms have also become a key part of this, as you have to be able to share and access documents and edit them together in real time. 

Knowing what software you need is only part of the solution. One of the most effective ways your organization can unlock the benefits of knowledge sharing is through embedding it within your culture. Here are three ways to improve knowledge sharing in your organization.

Create spaces for knowledge sharing to happen

An essential step to facilitate knowledge sharing in organizations is to create a culture and workspace where sharing is encouraged and rewarded. 

Many workspaces are closed off to knowledge sharing, with offices and work cubicles. Remote work also presents it’s own unique challenges. Organizations need to create virtual spaces for employees to share knowledge.

Another common challenge for knowledge sharing comes from having a myriad of different applications, tools and channels scattered around for staff to use. This makes it significantly difficult for effective sharing. 

Having one centralized space, where all digital communication and collaboration can be carried out  with easy application integration, is an essential first step to improving knowledge sharing.  

Creating spaces for communication and collaboration, ideally with a file sharing platform, where resources can be shared, groups and individuals can easily connect with  each other. As a rule, when it’s easy to share and access knowledge, employees will perceive less barriers to asking questions and sharing information, leading to  improved organizational collaboration and knowledge sharing. 

Knowledge management software 

Knowledge management software is a key part of simplifying and encouraging workplace knowledge sharing. Applications such as Notion and BoostHQ provide a space where you can connect teams on shared projects and log all important resources and information For example, your marketing team might need frequent access to updated benchmarks, KPI’s and ROI data to guide their advertising decisions. A good knowledge management software will allow your teams to access up-to-date data from one centralised space.

In addition to these spaces, you need a place for  informal knowledge sharing . For a lot of organizations,  gone are the days of  water cooler chats, short discussions at desks, and general chit-chat in the lunchroom. These casual chats are often crucial in imparting team knowledge. It’s important to take measures, such as creating regular open meetings for different teams,  where employees feel comfortable discussing certain topics, sharing what they have learnt and asking questions. 

In addition, encourage chats for less formal discussion on applications such as Slack, to put less pressure on persons and aid a collaborative culture between team members. 

Another way to create a space for sharing, is to have collaborative documents online on document sharing platforms, where people can add useful things they have learned. File collaboration  is a great way people can add information at their own speed where others can access it at any time. This can tie into your file sharing or knowledge management software. 

Allow constructive feedback

It is vital that constructive feedback can be given in all directions in order to achieve effective knowledge sharing in the workplace. This is especially important for start-ups. 

To become more effective and satisfied at work, employees need a clear understanding of their individual impact and the extent to which they’re achieving their work goals. Feedback is the most efficient way for them to gather this information and learn from it.

Additionally, by allowing team members to provide constructive feedback, they feel they have a voice in the company and that things can change if they are unhappy with something.

There are four essential elements to cultivating a feedback-rich work culture, including building trust, balancing positives and negatives, prioritizing feedback as a normal part of everyday work life and having personal accountability. 

Other ways to encourage feedback can be achieved through Google Forms where people can submit their feedback to the relevant personnel,or using your knowledge management software to create sections for discussing feedback. 

Encourage team members to mix with other teams in the company

It is important to reduce distance, especially when working remotely. When we work online, it is easy to feel isolated and separated. Many companies only facilitate or encourage communication within  teams, not with employees outside of their teams. This leads to people feeling less part of the company as a whole, and more likely to burn out and feel unmotivated. 

Reducing the distance is how to overcome this. Encourage the teams to reach out to others, both professionally and personally. Have chats and meetings with broader teams just for people to get to know each other, share data and ask questions.  Also ensure there are plenty of social events to establish rapport between employees. 

Professional apps, for example, Active Collab, can display information about project progress, and the team members working on it. This helps  build a sense of community and team effort, and allows people to know who is who, and who will be likely to know about a particular topic or project. 

Another way to do this, is to use social media, meetings and other apps to share information  that isn’t necessarily entirely work related. There can be fun chats, social media stories, photos and so on. This puts faces to names and fosters a sense of community. It will in turn make it easier for the employees to reach out and ask for advice and resources from each other. 

Bonus tip: Use effective collaboration tools

There is a range of different tools available that can help you improve information sharing and collaboration within your organization. We’ve listed our favourites below:

  • Google Docs - Using document sharing platforms like Google Docs or other cloud based systems are a good way to keep things secure. Here you can share files online and work together. Just make sure it can be shared and integrated with other applications. Many other programs however, such as knowledge management software or project management software, often allow for the sharing of files. 
  • Figma and Miro - These collaborative work programs allow people to see tasks and work together on them in a visual format.
  • Document360 and Nuclino - As we’ve mentioned, knowledge management software is a key part of this process. These two programs are our favourites as they store and index all information shared, so that it is all available at any time. 
  • Google Jamboard - these brainstorming apps allow for conducive free thinking working sessions as a team. 
  • Slack -  this alternative to email gives everyone you work with, inside and outside your company, a more productive way to stay in sync. This tool allows teams to respond faster with emojis, keep conversations focused in channels, and simplify all communication into one place.
  • Asana - this project management app is a great  way to keep things centralized and let everyone see who’s working on what.
  • Lumin PDF - This document collaboration tool allows people to work together to edit PDF documents in real time. By having such software, you can have secure document sharing, minimize emails back and forth, store one master document for everyone to collaborate on, view previously hard-to-find iterations of documents, and see the changes in real time. 

What you need to ensure is that things are streamlined, centralized, and the other tools you use can be easily integrated, to ensure that no information is lost. 

Conclusion

Having effective organizational knowledge sharing is a vital part of the modern world. Our tips will help you and your team achieve this. 

Making good spaces, encouraging constructive feedback, and encouraging internal communication across the organization are essential tips, as is having effective software, whether it's communication, file sharing platforms, or knowledge sharing software. 

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