How to Encourage Employees to Contribute to a Knowledge Sharing System?
A good knowledge base is a great asset that should be found in every businesses’ arsenal. However, simply incorporating this concept into your business surroundings is not going to solve all your problems.
People are generally afraid of new things. The reason for this lies in their fear of the unknown. Familiarizing your workforce with knowledge base software is going to skyrocket the amount of information sharing among teams of people.
The best way to grow is to actively learn new things, and this is where a knowledge sharing system can help extremely. Let’s take a look at how you can encourage your employees to share their knowledge via this system.
1) Provide education
The first step that needs to be taken is educating your workforce on all the important things about the knowledge base. These are some points that are necessary to cover.
- Overview – First thing’s first; people have to become familiar with what a knowledge base is and what is its main purpose. Once employees become familiar with this concept, it is going to be much easier for them to approach it.
- How to use – It is necessary to train your personnel on how the knowledge base is used. Once they see how intuitive and easy it is to share their knowledge, they will experience a change of mindset, as they are going to become completely familiarized with the whole concept.
- Business and personal benefits – In various lines of work, things tend to continually change, and staying updated with the latest news is very important for personal career development and for business benefits as well. Getting this message across is going to motivate your employees. They will actually receive the most benefits, as access to a variety of useful information is going to make them much more professional.
- Provide successful examples – During training, mention examples of how other companies have made a good move by using knowledge base software and how it has affected both their employees and their business. This will show them that it the software really works and it’ll motivate them to get started.
- Guide them to share the right type of knowledge – A majority of your employees are going to be confused about what they should share among each other. Showcase a couple of great examples of what is valuable knowledge and what is not really that important. For example, a person who works in customer support should share a pattern of issues that customers are reporting occasionally. This will mean a lot to those who are working on making the product or service better. Additionally, sharing information about the best possible solutions is going to make it easier for colleagues to approach this type of issue.
2) Identify the potential in employees
The are a number of reasons why your employees may be shy of sharing their knowledge. The usual reasons are low self-esteem, embarrassment, and fear of criticism. However, there are those who look forward to sharing knowledge with their colleagues. It is simply a natural instinct that resides in some people, an inner desire to help others.
Identifying such employees is an essential step, as they are going to lay the foundation in your knowledge base, showing other employees that it can be done easily.
To find this employee, simply conduct a company-wide survey about the new knowledge management software, and pick those who can’t wait to start sharing their experiences.
3) Add a reward system
No matter how many great examples you have for your employees, they might not feel motivated to dedicate their time for sharing their knowledge with others, no matter how easy it is.
The implementation of a reward driven system is a great way to get the employees to regularly share their knowledge. As people are motivated by different things, there are couple of approaches that you can apply in this case:
- Recognition – Many people would like to share their knowledge with others, but they are concerned with who will be able to see what they shared. Setting up a system that lets those who contribute to be credited is a great way to motivate people to share knowledge more often. People want to be appreciated for their efforts, and one of the best ways to achieve this is to allow them to sign all the documents, guides or videos they create.
- Financial rewards through knowledge application – There are those who are not interested in recognition and, to stimulate them, a financial bonus is a more appropriate approach. However, this can also be counter-productive, as not all information is important. Some people might start sharing things that are not that important, simply to acquire their monthly bonus.
A good way to bypass this approach is to create a system that will display how important a certain piece of information is. This can be conducted with a series of internal evaluation processes, where people within a company would share which types of information were most valuable for them.
Only the best and most used piece of content should be rewarded financially. This type of approach would work well, as those interested in creating content will be focused on the fact that it should be really important for others.
- Formal obligation – In some cases, if none of the aforementioned things are motivating enough, yet knowledge sharing needs to be performed for better business results, then you can try formal obligation. By making this the activity a standard job requirement, employees will not perceive it as an additional effort they are putting in but rather one that they are obligated to do.
Over time, this approach creates a whole culture around knowledge sharing, making it a normal employee process that employees are required to perform.
These are the best ways of encouraging your employees to contribute to the knowledge sharing system. After only a couple of months, you can expect the employees to contribute regularly, thus improving the general workflow within a company.
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Written by Robin Singh.
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