Knowledge-sharing: Making expertise accessible for everyone

In any organization, being able to access internal knowledge and retain crucial experience are key factors for encouraging innovation, fostering new ideas and futureproofing operations. That’s why organizations can get a clear edge on the competition by putting in place effective knowledge management and knowledge-sharing.
August 03, 2023
5 min

What counts is ensuring staff are keen to share expertise in the workplace and make specific knowledge and experience available to other team members, co-workers outside their team and even new hires. A digital adoption platform helps manage knowledge-sharing on a strategic level, integrate it into the company culture and make information accessible in precisely the scenarios where it is needed.

Why is knowledge-sharing by staff so important? 

Organizations that neglect collaboration in the form of in-house knowledge-sharing are running all sorts of risks. For instance, when team leaders and other highly accomplished team members retire or move on – without first sharing their experience and knowledge – they can leave behind a gaping hole. However, that is not the only problem. That gaping hole can have knock-on effects on productivity, competitiveness and efficiency. Losing internal knowledge and experience can, for example: 

  • Increase the risk that mistakes will be repeated 
  • Stall process optimization 
  • Reduce the organization’s capacity for innovation 
  • Impair agility 
  • Result in avoidable costs 

According to estimates by auditors at KPMG, inadequate or inefficient knowledge-sharing can cost organizations between 50,000 and 500,000 euros a year. Decision-makers are therefore well advised to actively encourage knowledge-sharing, develop new knowledge management strategies and thus build a vibrant knowledge-sharing culture. 

Tacit business knowledge is a crucial resource 

Merely stockpiling information is a fundamentally pointless task. After all, the only way to generate expertise is by combining new information with pre-existing knowledge. A distinction is made between explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge.  

Explicit knowledge is factual knowledge, as found in textbooks, work instructions, organizational charts and other such resources. It is often available on a standardized basis and sharing it in the workplace is usually relatively easy. 
However, it is tacit knowledge that is particularly valuable to organizations – the kind of knowledge that staff acquire through their day-to-day work and collaboration. This is the basis for being able to act intuitively and spontaneously, especially when it comes to managing complex sequences and non-standard processes. Tacit knowledge is a hugely valuable resource that urgently needs to be leveraged with the aid of professional knowledge management and knowledge-sharing activities. 

Why is knowledge-sharing so difficult? 

Although tacit business knowledge is the source of a great many competitive advantages, it is, by definition, difficult to articulate – and sharing it is even harder. This expertise is securely locked up inside each staff member’s head and is heavily dependent on the relevant context and personal experience. Over the years, an enormous treasure trove of collective knowledge can thus build up in organizations, although other colleagues will rarely be able to access it.  

There are also human factors that can sometimes result in knowledge hoarding, when individuals intentionally obstruct knowledge-sharing in the workplace. That might happen, for example, at an organization where staff compete for knowledge and experts benefit from keeping their know-how to themselves. Even in organizations where there is much less competition over information, knowledge-sharing can often grind to a halt at departmental boundaries. Whether intentional or not, a silo mentality is toxic for any kind of knowledge-sharing. 

Establishing knowledge-sharing as a strategic factor 

Organizations that want to overcome the silo mentality and encourage knowledge-sharing can take a range of approaches. One of these is to create an organizational culture that rewards staff for sharing their expertise and managers for setting a good example and making their knowledge and experience available to others on a company-wide basis. A sense of social certainty and security can also help to dismantle an egocentric culture and promote collaboration based around knowledge-sharing. Furthermore, communications that emphasize the personal benefits associated with sharing information and experience will encourage team members to loosen their grip on aspects of their work they might otherwise keep to themselves. 

Organizations that can go one step further and make experience-based and specific knowledge accessible via a user-friendly professional software package such as a digital adoption platform (DAP) will really benefit. They will end up holding one of the biggest trump cards there is in a world shaped by highly competitive markets. That is why an ever-growing number of organizations are working hard to improve their communication and establish knowledge-sharing on a strategic level. 

Practical tip – knowledge-sharing and knowledge management with a DAP  

To ensure knowledge-sharing works on a practical level, it makes sense to use a digital adoption platform (DAP). After all, not all the knowledge content is equally important or relevant to every member of staff. The aim instead is to structure all the accumulated information in a practical way and make it available as appropriate to the circumstances at hand. Professional DAPs such as the tts performance suite, for example, make it possible to supply information as appropriate to specific roles and/or tasks and processes in the workplace. That way, staff also experience genuine added value from knowledge-sharing.  

tts performance suite – the DAP for professional knowledge-sharing  

When using a professional digital adoption platform such as the tts performance suite for knowledge-sharing, the archived knowledge can first be viewed, then prepared to suit specific target groups and ultimately made available directly at the place of work in an appropriately structured manner. If organizations want to benefit from this knowledge management tool in the medium term, they should also take into account the following three key features when selecting a digital adoption platform: 

  1. Knowledge content can be created efficiently because quality and outlay are appropriately balanced. 
  2. Knowledge content can be curated to ensure long-term quality assurance is possible. 
  3. Knowledge content can be made available as appropriate to requirements and precisely when it is needed. 

Organizations that aim to benefit from the accumulated tacit knowledge of their workforce need to encourage staff to contribute to a knowledge-sharing culture. A digital adoption platform enhances communication and knowledge-sharing by helping to safeguard expertise and provide it to colleagues as and when required. This has been confirmed by experts at Heidelberg-based tts GmbH, who are responsible for designing the tts performance suite. A no-obligation initial consultation is the ideal way to find out more about the impressive range of functions available in this DAP and explore strategic approaches to knowledge-sharing and knowledge management.


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