Sharing information in the workplace is a vital part of productivity and business practices.
How much money is your business wasting each year on a lack of shared information between employees? The answer may be surprising. According to analyst estimates of companies within the Fortune 500, a combination of $31.5 billion is lost each year on the failure to share knowledge in an effective manner.
What exactly does this include?
Attempting to perform the same tasks in a different manner than usual, repeating mistakes or wasting time searching for pertinent information can hinder the overall work process. This hindrance can have an effect on productivity costs, as well as opportunity and ineffective communication.
Within many industries, the information is there, but the manner in which it is relayed to others cannot be found. Although there may be formal systems in place that tell employees how to complete tasks, there is no real explanation of how it can actually be applied to work practices. This divide hinders the entire process.
The “watch and learn” practice of sharing information has become outdated, according to the Harvard Business Review. Instead, management teams should focus on “co-active learning.” Through this type of learning, the person new to the information and the person sharing their knowledge are able to work together to construct a more updated understanding of the practice in general.
Instead of relying solely on watching job roles, this creates an interactive, question-filled experience, allowing both sides to collaborate on what can be done better to accomplish a task in a more efficient, seamless manner.
Through vicarious learning, most often marked by management and leaders sharing their knowledgeable experiences, employees are encouraged to jumpstart their own process as well.
“Sequencing vicarious learning and experiential learning strategies together has been shown to improve performance compared to experiential learning alone, across a range of different tasks,” as stated by HBR.
How can your business begin to improve communication and knowledge sharing practices now?
- Create a mentorship between new hires and more experienced employees. By doing this, work practices can be solidified so as no information is lost, as well as better ensuring collaborative opportunities are maintained.
- Enable clear channels of communication to create trust. Trust is the ultimate foundation of information sharing, helping to form relationships.
- Eliminate silos. Be sure to eliminate any older work practices that keep employees from effectively working together. Information should be accurately transferred between departments daily.
The sharing of knowledge should always be kept at the forefront of business ideals.