“Inefficient Knowledge Sharing Costs Large Businesses $47 Million Per Year.” That’s the headline from the Panopto Workplace Knowledge and Productivity Report. Just that one headline alone shows the benefits of knowledge sharing, but there is more.
Research from Whale also found that “employees spend around 26 days each year searching for information.”
What could your business achieve if every employee had an extra 26 days a year to focus on what they should be doing?
Just those two statistics alone show the negative impact that hoarding knowledge can have on a business. Knowledge sharing is not just a nice to have. It directly impacts the bottom line.
“The basic economic resource–the means of production–is no longer capital, nor natural resources, nor labor. It is and will be knowledge.” – Peter Drucker
But what are the real benefits of knowledge sharing? Why take the time to ensure your business is set up to share and collaborate?
Read on for my top ten list of the benefits of knowledge sharing.
1. Less impact if highly engaged employees leave
We’ve all heard of the Great Resignation that took place in 2021 when thousands of people chose to leave their jobs. If your company isn’t sharing knowledge, then any leavers could take with them vital information that your company needs.
With knowledge sharing, each employee is encouraged to learn and to share what they know. You avoid the situation where you have a vital legacy spreadsheet that no one else knows how to use. Except for the employee that just left your company.
It’s important to ensure that employees share their expertise and help each other. Your company can then work efficiently uninterrupted, no matter who chooses to leave.
2. Knowledge sharing supports remote working
“By 2028, 73% of all work departments expect to have remote workers”, according to Upwork’s Future Workforce Report. That’s a huge percentage and companies need to be preparing now to ensure the continued smooth running of their business.
If that’s the case for your company, you need to ensure that everyone can easily get access to the knowledge they need. With knowledge sharing, even remote workers will easily be able to look up information and continue with their job. You will have clear signposts to show even new starters where to go for help, support, and the information they need.
3. Knowledge sharing aids continuous improvement
One of the key benefits of knowledge sharing is that it allows for continuous improvement across your business. Every department can learn not only from the people within it, but from employees everywhere in the business. People can share best practices, improvements to processes and procedures, quick how-to tips, and more.
In this environment, continuous improvement isn’t just encouraged, it would be actively difficult to stop it.
Sharing knowledge with others creates the kind of environment where continuous improvement isn’t just for the quality department. It’s something that is actively sought and participated in by everyone.
“Knowledge is like money: to be of value it must circulate, and in circulating it can increase in quantity and, hopefully, in value.” – Louis L’Amour
4. Quicker onboarding for new employees
With a constantly updated and well-organized knowledge base, new employees can more quickly get themselves up to speed. This benefits them as they begin to feel like part of the team immediately. It also benefits the company as new starters are more effective more quickly. And it can save time for team leaders and managers as they don’t have to provide quite as much hands-on one-to-one training.
If knowledge sharing is part of the company culture, even new starters will feel encouraged to share their knowledge and experience from previous roles. The company then gains from fresh ideas and perspectives.
5. A better customer experience
With a constantly improving business, it naturally follows that the customer experience will improve too. The willingness to share knowledge across the business will benefit every aspect of the customer experience.
Potential customers will receive more targeted marketing with higher quality content at every stage of the sales funnel. The transition from quality lead to buyer will be smoother both internally and for the customer. The customer journey will benefit from reduced friction. And the buying and checkout process will be smooth, easy, and simple.
Even follow-ups and marketing to encourage existing customers to shop again will improve if the company is continuously improving.
6. Create a supportive culture and community
When sharing knowledge with team members and departments is the norm, a supportive culture can be quick to develop. Not only are employees helped by the new knowledge they gain, but they also feel heard, understood, and valued.
Their ideas are listened to and often implemented. They can see that they make a clear contribution to the business.
Instead of siloed departments working on their own, cross-team and cross-departmental working becomes the norm. It’s easier for employees to work together and prevents the ‘us and them’ poisonous culture that can severely damage a business.
7. Fewer mistakes
The decrease in mistakes is one of the biggest benefits of knowledge sharing. The more knowledge is shared, the fewer mistakes are made and the less time lost. If every employee knows how to do their job well, then they are less likely to make mistakes. If people share tips and tricks to improve every job, then your business becomes more efficient and error-free over time.
While you’ll never completely get rid of human error, you can still make a real difference to the error rate in your business. This is a big time-saver, and depending on the errors, can save you money in putting them right, too.
8. Boost your employee morale
With a supportive culture where ideas are welcome, employees very much feel a part of the business. Instead of suffering frustrations and procedures that don’t work, they can actively do something about it. In fact, they are encouraged to do so.
Morale suffers when employees don’t communicate between departments and when poor processes and procedures aren’t fixed. Employees don’t feel heard or valued if their knowledge and expertise aren’t seen and recognized.
With a knowledge-sharing culture, employees know that their contribution matters to the company and adds value. Of course, this boosts morale across the business.
This can also lead to higher retention rates for staff. Given the costs involved in recruiting and training new employees, lower staff retention is also another clear benefit of sharing knowledge. Not only does it lessen disruption for staff, but it also costs less to keep current staff happy. Of course, this has a measurable knock-on effect on your company bottom line.
9. Innovation and development
In a culture where ideas are encouraged and recognized, it’s not hard to see that your business will benefit from increased innovation and development.
With a siloed company where departments never communicate, it’s a given that ideas that could hugely benefit the business aren’t being shared. That multi-million-pound idea might come from someone in a completely unrelated department, and you’ll never know about it without knowledge sharing.
If marketing never talks to sales, customer service, or product development, they can’t work together. When they do work together, you see increased lead generation, more sales, helpful customer feedback, and a better customer experience.
Sharing knowledge and collaborating really does have a knock-on effect.
With better customer feedback, product development can create new features and products that your customers really want. Sales can handle objections better and answer customer questions. Customer service knows how to help quickly and effectively because they have a huge knowledge base to lean on.
And, of course, that’s only three departments. With knowledge sharing, every department benefits. There is better communication across teams and departments. Staff feel involved and valued. Ideas flow freely and the business improves continually.
“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” – Charles Darwin
10. Increase the overall competency of your employees
When you develop a culture of idea and knowledge sharing, you lift the knowledge of the whole company. Instead of clutching knowledge tightly in each department, knowledge is shared everywhere, and every department and individual benefits.
This is one of the biggest benefits of knowledge sharing. It becomes a virtuous circle where the more knowledge is shared, the more people know. The more they know, and the more knowledge and ideas they can share. Every single employee can increase their competency in this environment and become of even more value to your business.
You’ll have heard the phrase, “A rising tide lifts all boats,” and it really couldn’t be truer for a knowledge sharing approach to business. With knowledge sharing, there is no downside. You and your business can only benefit from such an approach.
Everyone wins through knowledge sharing, from the CEO to the newest employee. Even better, your customers win too.
What are the benefits of sharing information? Too many to count!
“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin
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