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How to Empower Employees through Knowledge Sharing: A Catalyst for Sustainable Success

empower employees Mar 15, 2024

It’s often difficult to observe cross-industry rules of thumb that can be helpful for any business, of any size and any niche.

There is one, however, that has been observed as key for success across the board: knowledge sharing.

On its own, the idea of knowledge sharing sounds like just another meaningless platitude. When embedded into the fabric of your company culture, knowledge sharing becomes a powerful, transformational tool you can use to grow your business.

As a key element of workplace development, knowledge sharing should be an ongoing effort for any organization. The how behind this process, on the other hand, can be tricky for companies that haven’t put much thought or effort into it before.

So, to help you build (or build upon) your knowledge sharing strategies, let’s cover a few tried and tested approaches you can use for your own business.

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The Benefits of Knowledge Sharing

Before we dive into the practical aspect of sharing knowledge, you might want to know what to expect as the end result. Think of this as your very own incentive to encourage your teams to swap information, ask for advice, and teach each other valuable skills.

For starters, the process of treating knowledge as a shared asset means having so many more eyes on any given problem, at any given time. Who knows? Maybe a creative developer will suggest a brilliant marketing campaign idea that will help you finally tap into that new vertical.

For example, Leonardo da Vinci, although primarily known as an artist, also contributed to the development of engineering and hydraulics. His knowledge of the human body had a major impact on anatomy, as well, even though he was neither a dedicated biologist nor an engineer.

Another thing to keep in mind: ambitious, driven individuals will appreciate a culture of knowledge sharing. It will be a major incentive for them to join and stay in your company.

That allows you to communicate knowledge sharing as a crucial culture component that will incentivize employees and boost productivity all in one go.

Be sure to:

  • Emphasize knowledge sharing in your job ads when you’re looking for new people, as it will help them understand you intend to support their growth
  • Regularly ask your people what they want to learn more about and look for team members who can contribute to the subject
  • Build learning into your processes–a creative way to do that would be to add “who else could benefit from this information?” in your emails or documentation

Discourage Gatekeeping

Sometimes a well-meaning practice, gatekeeping, happens when someone is reluctant to share information or delegate tasks to less experienced colleagues. They feel that their own expertise might be devalued afterward, or that their work will simply be less appreciated.

However, this form of knowledge hoarding can be severely detrimental to any organization.

That’s why it’s crucial to foster a genuine culture of knowledge sharing, one where individuals are valued even more when they empower each other through development.

Instead of waiting for things to change, you can be more intentional with your efforts. To do that, you can:

  • Incentivize knowledge sharing with simple rewards and recognition
  • Support occasional workshops and masterclasses where a team member can share some of their expertise with others
  • Foster transparent communication and collaboration, especially if you have remote teams that work through digital channels and PM tools
  • Organize AMA sessions where people can explore each other’s expertise without limiting themselves to a single subject matter.

Lead by Example

Whether you’re the founder, CEO, or an HR manager, it doesn’t really matter. As long as the power to drive things forward is in your hands, it’s up to you to take the first step.

Do you use a single digital platform to collaborate and communicate? Use it to share your own articles, videos, how-to guides, and anything that can be useful to anyone in your organization. Entice people to ask questions and give them thorough answers.

But be equally sure to let people know that not knowing is fine–teach them that saying “I’m not sure, I’ll have to look into that” is perfectly fine, and a good way to build upon what you know.

You can also ask people, somewhere public, like on the company Slack, if there’s anyone who would like to participate in a new project.

While that project can be primarily focused on, let’s say, marketing, there might be people in HR who could join in. Being intentionally inclusive can completely change the dynamics of sharing in your teams.

Learning as a Value

Do you hire people who openly say they’re looking forward to learning more about their profession (and beyond) or are just posturing know-it-alls??

The first group tends to have other traits and hints in their resumes, like variety in their work experience and hobbies, showing they’re curious and eager to explore the world. They’re also often the people who ask smart questions in your interview and don’t just answer yours.

The world is filled with inquisitive people who are keen on discovering new skills and expanding their knowledge. Having those people on your team can be extremely helpful when you’re looking to build knowledge sharing into your company’s DNA.

If you tell them directly that you’ll provide them with workplace learning tools and opportunities, they’ll find your job offer all the more enticing.

Knowledge as Your Key Resource

If you care for client data and project information, and you devote time and energy to keeping it all neatly stored, secured, and accessible to those who need it–why not do the same with knowledge?

Every company needs a knowledge base, a central repository of internal processes, tools, guides, and everything in between. People are way less likely to learn and to devote energy to the process if learning itself is difficult or impossible.

That means you should:

  • Make it easy for people to find the knowledge they need and share it across the entire organization
  • Have a dedicated person on your team to keep your knowledge base in order
  • Empower people to challenge your knowledge base–knowledge should evolve, and people should be able to contribute by spotting missing/wrong information on your files

Focus on Training

When people are encouraged to share what they know, they become much more likely to keep learning new things. Do remember, they are also much more likely to look at their current skills with a more critical eye–and take action to upskill.

You can help your employee empowerment by offering learning-based rewards and paid courses that will help them focus on what they want to improve. That gives them more freedom to expand, and not necessarily always stay within the limits of what your organization can provide.

However, you can also build training modules that help your teams enhance their abilities internally, without having to spend more time outside their work hours on the process.

Make sure your onboarding, for example, is training-based, to further encourage learning as part of the culture.

Wrapping Up

No person or business can grow without learning. Fortunately, there’s an abundance of options to choose from, be it the methods of learning, the people to learn from, and the type of skills to master.

Make sure your teams can grow while they’re with your company, and you’ll improve retention, help them become better professionals, and ultimately help your business thrive.

Embrace the proven strategies we outlined in this article and watch your business flourish.

Don't just accumulate knowledge—share it strategically to empower your teams and drive sustainable and permanent success. Start fostering a culture of continuous learning today!


Zoi Kotsou

Copywriter - Content writer - Content Strategist

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