Creating opportunities for knowledge sharing supports a vibrant culture of learning. Look at how to develop those channels in four ways.
- What amazing learning is happening in your organization today? In one department, you might have an employee who's stuck, and finds a great resource online that helps them solve it. In another, a manager provides some really great coaching to their team and improves their skill. And in another, two colleagues work together to innovate a solution to a problem. They give each other a high five and keep on going. Make those learning moments more visible and easier to share with others. By empowering knowledge sharing, you leverage those special moments of insight, improvement, and innovation so they can be used by everyone.
In addition, you demonstrate that your organization values and promotes learning of all types. In fact studies have shown that knowledge sharing is a big differentiator between high performing organizations, and the rest, with their employees sharing knowledge at four times the rate of those in lower performing organizations. There's lots of ways to empower knowledge sharing. Let's take a look at a few. First, create a way for people to share those stories of learning moments. This will depend on what technology you have available, and can range from sending an email to the L and D team, to posting to a shared portal, to using social media.
On Twitter, people are using the hashtag alwaysbelearning, so if you combine something like this with your organization's Twitter handle, you can create a fun campaign for your current employees that also builds your employer brand. Marriott Hotels uses an app, so employees can share learning moments, as well as crowdsource offering great customer service. Employees upload pictures of real or potential situations, and then share what they do at their property to solve it. Second, talk about the learning that's happening in your organization.
You can't talk about it enough. It should be an ongoing campaign that includes the informal learning you're getting from submissions, as well as the formal programs and events you're hosting. Third, shine a light on great learning and knowledge sharing. When you see interesting examples or stories, feature them. Pick ones that exemplify best practices, amazing results, or influential people. If you want you can even have award or prizes. Fourth, make the knowledge sharing accessible to others.
Oftentimes people create great learning products. Create a place where others can find and use those products too. Now a note of warning here. Knowledge sharing can get very large quickly. If you let it be a free for all you'll soon have hundreds of submissions and no way for folks to find what they need, so think through a system or process that will work for cataloging and displaying them. You might want to consider mapping the same piece of learning in the following three ways. By function or department, since it's likely that sales things are of most interest to folks in sales, and same with engineering.
Doing it by department is helpful. Then form, so that all videos or PDFs can be found together, and of course by topic, like communication, coding, time management, or customer service. Fifth, consider how you'll address issues of quality control. When you empower knowledge sharing, you're going to get a range of submissions, some of which you might not want to recommend or put a stamp of approval on, because they don't align with your L and D brand, or the org's brand. This is a conversation to have with your team and other stakeholders.
I think it's great to separate them so that all knowledge sharing gets put up in its own section of your portal or website, and then have the formal approved vetted materials live together. That allows you to shine the light on the best ones, and move them to the approved category, and it becomes a bit of an honor for the submitters. In addition, I recommend that you host learning events on how to create good learning materials. It's another way to call attention to the launch of your knowledge sharing efforts, and you'll get much better quality if you teach folks some aspects of good instructional design, or how to create an interactive PDF, or edit a video.
There are several courses on this platform that will help. Create a playlist and share it widely. There are also a lot of knowledge sharing tools available. I find the site elearningindustry.com very helpful in understanding the pros and cons of current options. Finally, we know from brain science that if you want to increase something, you need to recognize and reward it, so make sure that you're always acknowledging submissions. You might even want to track submissions by department, and create some awards or even friendly competitions so that you make it fun and rewarding to share.
All of these knowledge sharing strategies will help you amplify the great learning that's already happening, and augment the positive culture of learning you're building.
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- Establishing a growth mindset
- Integrating learning into your organization
- Empowering through knowledge sharing
- Overcoming obstacles
- Addressing opportunities
- Measuring success