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Why Internal Knowledge Sharing Is Essential To L&D


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Why Internal Knowledge Sharing Is Essential To L&D

Written on Oct 27, 2016 12:50:59 PM, by Ilie Ghiciuc

Internal knowledge sharing is more important than ever, regardless of your organization’s size. With so many HR functions that were formerly performed by humans now being automated, knowledge remains a critical component of maximizing your company talent’s potential.

These new, highly competitive markets require quick responses from companies, and fast, solution-oriented thinking. With retention being one of the key challenges faced by HR professionals across the Globe, the flow of information and the efficacy of internal knowledge sharing is a key driver of business goals.

Employees who have worked for your companies for several years, developing innovative solutions and products might be turning a new leaf in their career, prompting you to look for top talent to replace them.

Your prospects will come equipped with an impressive education, perhaps some of the skills required but in order for them to fill-in the innovation gap, they need access to skills development and company knowledge.

Also read: Need New Skills? Upgrade Your Learning by Unlearning First 

Knowledge sharing in the digital era

Social technologies have been one of the main drivers of effective internal knowledge sharing. People are using global digital platforms to learn, find work, showcase their talent, and build personal networks.

According to McKinsey Global, some 900 million people have international connections on social media, and 360 million take part in cross-border e-commerce. Using digital platforms and tools, companies can keep virtual teams connected in real time, with all the required knowledge at their fingertips, one click away.

More research from McKinsey shows that employees spend 1.8 hours every day - 9.3 hours per week, on average - searching and gathering information online. To think that instead of searching on Google and multiple sites for a piece of industry-related information, employees can use the company's collaboration platform to find relevant and contextual information swiftly, along with a credible source and perhaps practical information left by their predecessors.

By preventing silos from impeding effectiveness and improving collective thinking, these digital platforms help teams share common knowledge and see the relationships between elements. The most common features that these cloud-based social communication apps offer for better knowledge sharing are:

  • Descriptive tasks in an organized system;
  • Tracking of team members and changes made to any given task and/or document;
  • A universally recognized digital language, that makes it intuitive to upload and handle information;
  • Integration with other platforms with more specific functions such as Slack, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.
  • The possibility to comment on everything, anytime, with real-time notification of your team mate;
  • The mention feature that enables real-time conversations and improved productivity;
  • A CRM function to manage all customer-related interactions and assign them accordingly.

According to a survey from Digital Business, Rethinking Fundamentals, by 2018, more than 60% of enterprises will have at least half of their infrastructure on cloud-based platforms. More and more, businesses are transferring their data from computer drives and laptops into a secure, cloud environment, allowing data to be more accessible than ever before.

Also read: 11 Technology Trends in LMS

Tech-infused mentorship

While technology is the main catalyst for this learning revolution, the human and social components remain essential, as an intrinsic part of the way that we, as humans, were built. Mentors are able to provide practical workplace advice and pass on valuable knowledge, whilst at the same time helping to steer a younger employee’s career path, giving it shape and direction above and beyond what they may have considered themselves.

When set up with the right people and software, mentoring programs can offer an all-round solution to internal knowledge management and talent development. Learning technologies can provide tools that assist in the administration of one or more activities within a mentoring program or process, allowing for higher customization and real-time communication.

These systems can also automate the matching process, ensuring that the right people are paired to ensure a successful partnership. Resources and materials can be shared using link and document sharing features, enabling efficient content curation and goal tracking.

Encouraging peer-to-peer learning

Another effective learning strategy today is peer-driven learning. Fifty-five percent of Google’s L&D is administered through an ecosystem of over 2000 peer learners. The program, “Googler to Googler”, effectively puts employees into HR’s role of planning and training peers on a variety of different skills. In 2013, roughly 2,000 employees volunteered to teach a class.

Also read: Learn Smarter, not Harder: The Benefits of Social Learning

Encouraging peers to give each other regular performance feedback, whether during 360-degree reviews or informally will create an environment in which people are more open and attuned to helping their teammates develop.Already it’s estimated that 80% of learning occurs on the job through interactions with others. This will be increasingly essential as teams begin working more and more in a cross-functional manner.

Allow your employees to explore new options within the company by making learning across departments available. Sourcing talent for open positions within your own company limits the task of onboarding and provides you with a diverse multi-skilled workforce.

Giving your workforce the right tools to connect with others will facilitate better knowledge management and break down departmental barriers. 

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Ilie Ghiciuc
I've been an entrepreneur for the past 10+ years building great software companies together with fantastic teams. I like to spend most of my free time reading :)