Shared corporate knowledge helps to overcome any knowledge gap that may occur between employees or departments and to exploit the wealth of the hidden corporate knowledge.
In today's scenario, where more and more employees work remotely and where smart working is becoming more and more common, guidelines to avoid the knowledge divide in the company are increasingly essential. This requires knowledge sharing and the adoption of tools that allow the easy retrieval of information created over time.
What does knowledge divide mean and what is a knowledge gap?
The term 'knowledge divide' identifies the gap between different individuals and social groups in the ability to collect, process, use and share information of various kinds. Specifically, in a company or organisation, its meaning is linked to the wealth of information that constitutes intellectual capital and to the individuals who operate within the company.
Closely related is also the concept of the "knowledge gap", which identifies the gap between the information an employee has and the information he/she should have in order to do his/her job better.
The subject in consideration is corporate knowledge, which is collected over the years in the so-called knowledge base. In previous articles, we have discussed its components, the processes required to create it and the difference between tacit and explicit knowledge. The former is tacit and related to the employee's experience and the latter is documented and more easily transmitted.
The concepts of knowledge divide and knowledge gap are linked to both of these knowledge types and to the opportunity for employees and divisions to access and use them to make data-based decisions.
The risks of not sharing corporate knowledge
It is not always possible to exploit corporate knowledge because it is not easily available in all contexts, or it is organised and categorised differently depending on the departments that create and use it.
This practice in return generates information clusters and data silos, which make it difficult to share corporate knowledge. Very often, there is a lack of common guidelines and policies across departments that dictate how information should be collected and organised. In other cases, employees may not perceive the value of sharing tacit knowledge because it is not promoted at the corporate culture level.
This leads to a lot of data and information collected in the company's documentation being buried, resulting in the so-called 'hidden knowledge'. All this process affects the time and energy of the employees themselves, who often waste time searching for information when they need it, or creating new documentation, not knowing that it already exists or where it is.
How to avoid knowledge gaps in the company and promote knowledge sharing
- Priority: identifying knowledge gaps and filling them
It is very important to find out what your employees don’t know. It goes without saying that the larger an organization is, the more likely it is that gaps will appear between the information employees should have at their disposal and the information they have access to.
Therefore, it is important to invest in continuous training, while also ensuring that company policies are in place to encourage knowledge sharing, the sharing and the circulation of ideas and information. It becomes vital to identify what learning has or has not been retained before it has an adverse impact on employee performance.
- Investing in the latest technology
Huge advances in artificial intelligence have made business tools increasingly powerful and intuitive. Thanks to machine learning and natural language processing software, it is possible to collect the company's knowledge base with no effort, keep it up-to-date and, above all, make it easily accessible to all departments, regardless of where they are located.
- Focus on employees onboarding
When a new employee arrives in the company, it is necessary to train them and transfer all the knowledge so that they can do their job. However, training processes often overload the employee with the knowledge that he or she is unlikely to assimilate. This is why it is necessary to focus on onboarding, the process of getting new employees ready to work, focusing on the information they really need and giving them the tools to access company documentation at any time.
- Make sure it is a continuous cycle
The best way to find and close knowledge gaps is to ensure that not only the learning is conducted but also the evaluation has taken place. Both must be carried out on a continuous basis. What occurs usually is that as soon as a learning event ends, information retention immediately begins to degrade, unless it can be continually reinforced until used. Hence, Interval Reinforcement becomes very important to prevent damage being also the only way to make it continuous.
How to choose a knowledge management system for your company
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