Knowledge Sharing: Why it Makes Organizations More Successful

• 5 min read

Knowledge in an organization is often hidden and hard to access when needed. Find out how knowledge sharing makes organizations more successful.

Knowledge sharing sounds like a concept which “just happens” within organizations, but it’s not always the case.

You might think your high performers or managers help other workers by passing on information to achieve their tasks, or that formal training courses are teaching the right skills.

The reality is, though, knowledge isn’t always so readily shared, or available, and the material taught in formal situations isn’t always retained.

The International Data Corporation (IDC) once estimated an enterprise employing 1000 knowledge workers wastes $48,000 per week, or nearly, $2.5 million per year, due to an inability to locate and retrieve information.

What’s interesting is that this report was published in 2001. You might think the rise of smart tools and searchable company databases would have slashed this inefficiency, but instead, it’s actually added more complexity. With different platforms, channels, devices, and teams all now holding valuable information, employees at big companies spend, on average, 38 minutes searching for a document.

The truth is, knowledge in a company is often hidden and hard to access when needed. It can be buried in various places or even just the heads of a few subject matter experts.

So where do workers go for information that is critical to perform the task at hand? They don’t take formal courses to get this information. Instead, they search around and go to those few individuals that they see as the experts.

This isn’t a scalable solution because experts are busy people since nobody else can do their job, so relying on them can quickly lead to burn out.

That approach of searching out who might have the right information is reflective of the 70:20:10 model of learning, where 70% of someone’s learning happens via on-the-job experiences, 20% through interactions with their peers, and just 10% in traditional, instructor-led classroom environments.

The benefits for companies embracing a 70:20:10 approach to learning:

5x as likely to be able to attract talent

4x as likely to respond fast to business change

2x as likely to report improvements in staff motivation

Knowledge Sharing starts with Social Learning

People learn best through hands-on experiences, interacting with peers and managers. They need information at the point of need, not during onboarding or once a course is made available.

This is social learning in action; a more common-sense, real-life approach to learning. You can take a deeper dive into social learning in this blog.

Within organizations, this practice promotes a greater uptake of knowledge sharing and it can be encouraged through social learning tools such as Learning Management Systems (LMS).

Docebo’s Coach & Share module has been developed to facilitate how people learn in real life by reflecting the 70 and 20 aspects of the 70:20:10 model.

On the coaching side, the learning platform facilitates knowledge seekers to actively engage with the right subject matter experts, so they can ask questions and get answers at the point of need.

But experts can also scale (and share) their knowledge by creating and uploading content about their daily, on-the-job activities, or difficult tasks. This content is then categorized, peer-reviewed, curated, validated and shared across the organization in one integrated system.

It’s a place where learners and experts join forces to create best practices and curate knowledge capital, and where top performers are recognized by coworkers.

Knowledge Sharing and Social Learning made easy with Docebo Coach & Share

Kevin is an antenna technician. Today, he’s fixing an antenna on the top of a building. He finds a defect in a feeder. It’s always the same problem with these antenna appliances. He logs in to Coach & Share on his mobile and shoots a five-second video showing his easy way to fix the problem without changing the part. He presses a button and the video is accessible to the entire field tech team and their managers on the platform.

Mark, the Antenna expert, is notified of the new video. He watches it and adds a few extra notes for all technicians to reference when the problem occurs again. Sonny, another technician, watches the video and asks a question. Mark and two other technicians answer. The video, edit/curation, and Q&A thread is published to the “Antenna101” channel. Is has become a valuable asset for the entire technician community within the organization.

Two days later, Tyler, a new hire, runs into the same problem. He takes out his phone and searches for “antenna defect 1” in Coach & Share. He immediately finds an answer, and he’s able to fix the problem on the spot. The asset is marked as the best answer and receives a thumbs up. After a few views, the asset is now even easier to find.

One week later, Carl, a technician, collects a few videos similar to Kevin’s and creates a playlist of them so he can watch and consult them with a single click, at any time, with his mobile device.

Two months later, Tina the Global Trainer, is tasked with creating new courses for antenna repair. She collects assets about different kinds of antenna, including Kevin’s video, Carl’s ones, and the various questions and answers. She picks the best content based on performance and ratings (thumb ups, best answers, most viewed, etc.). Tina is able to build 5 new full courses in 10 hours, over 3 calendar days without taking time away from the subject matter experts which were the only source of content until now.

By building a knowledge sharing and social learning culture using Coach & Share, organizations can achieve:

  • A significant decrease in the time spent by experts on content creation
  • Faster completion of tasks by workers
  • Cost savings through a decreased need for external instructional designers.

On a wider scale, Tony Bingham, President and CEO of the American Society for Training and Development, says it’s possible to calculate the return on social learning, but it’s not the traditional ROI formula:

“It requires alignment to what’s important to the organization, and often that includes retaining institutional knowledge, solving complex problems collaboratively and attracting people to your organization.”Start building a knowledge sharing culture with a true social learning platform!