It doesn’t matter if you work with a team of five people or you run a company with hundreds of employees scattered across the globe, the issue of culture is an equally relevant one in both cases.
Even if certain sectors of your company thrive on competition, knowledge sharing remains a part of your brand’s essence, and as such, a defining trait of your company culture.
In order to discourage knowledge-hoarders and empower a more open culture, the following strategies may come in handy in allowing your company to grow and advance.
1. Bring Incentives into the Equation
If for some reason this is an entirely new practice within your company, you can start with little learning sessions that have nothing to do with your business – let someone teach you how to make an origami fox, or how to make espresso.
Showing your appreciation as the leader of your pack is a great way of encouraging everyone to share their skills.
Gratitude expressed in the form of an extra day off for employees who devote an afternoon of training their teammates sounds like motivation, doesn’t it?
Then again, a little bonus to the salary of the people who keep teaching during work hours and not just in those dedicated sessions is another method of achieving the same effect.
2. Mind Your Office Design
Where your employees spend the majority of their day will affect their mood, but also their desire to communicate with one another.
The traditional cubicle is not really the most inspiring place to chat, considering that you’re both crowded and isolated at the same time, and the lack of privacy most likely makes you confused, not relaxed.
If everyone needs their own office to do their jobs properly, you can have a designated room with, for instance, beanbags, coffee makers, and other gadgets that bring people together – but no TV and other distractions.
Open-plan offices are great for stirring up a chat, but be careful not to distract the others when they’re hard at work.
3. Provide a Learning Environment
Fancy certificates are not the only reason for someone to continue their education while they work. You, as their leader and employer, should strive to give them as many learning opportunities as possible.
Whether it’s through attending business courses, so that they can perfect their skills, or by taking them to various seminars and conferences – it’s entirely up to you and the structure of the company.
It makes sense that larger corporations find it more practical to educate their employees via courses than to send hundreds of them to a seminar meant for up to a dozen of people. Also, create a program which enables every new employee to be assigned to a mentor, and give everyone a chance in the role of a teacher – after all, that’s how they’ll learn as well.
4. Think Digital Thoughts
Exchanging, sharing, and passing on information can sometimes be a hassle, especially for the busiest, most skilled individuals you work with. They already handle a ton of work, and getting emails with the same question from different people can only get on their nerves.
Unlike sifting through a pile of Word documents in search for the perfect example for your newest team members, these digital treasure troves are perfect for storing and exchanging expertise.
What’s more, they aren’t limited to your team, but can be used globally, and you can integrate various other apps with it to maximize its effectiveness.
When you can’t put all of the people who are relevant to the conversation into a single room, technology steps in to save the day!
5. Grow Your Company Bond
What your employees need the most in order to embrace this learning and sharing mindset is better understanding of each other. We all have different learning preferences – some of us thrive under pressure and in stressful situations, while others might as well black out until the storm passes.
Setting up team building sessions that naturally incorporate teamwork and learning (escape rooms and paintball both work wonders) makes for a great start.
When your employees learn more about one another, they will feel free to approach their rookie colleagues to offer advice and guidance, while the newbies won’t feel like annoying intruders every time they have a question or an issue.
Remember, it’s a matter of culture whether or not learning and sharing can flourish, so do your best to get to know your team.
How Can You Encourage Knowledge Sharing?
If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!
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