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Information hoarders: let’s find out if there is a Knowledge Hoarding problem in your company

To solve the business knowledge hoarding it is necessary to support information sharing between areas, so as to increase productivity of the whole company.

Knowledge Hoarding represents a problem for all companies.

Some employees hoard information because it makes them feel authoritative and safe at the workplace, because colleagues must address them to ask suggestions or procedures.

In other cases, instead, knowledge sharing and collaboration are not supported enough at corporate level.

Whatever the cause could be, the result is always the same: productivity suffers.

What happens when there is a Knowledge Hoarding problem in a company

When information is not shared between colleagues (or are scattered, disorganized, and incomplete) it becomes impossible to communicate and collaborate between company’s areas. Knowledge Hoarding represents, therefore, a problem for the entire company.

Job becomes consequently slower: each time it is hard to find what we need to carry out a procedure, to archive a file or provide answers to a customer, we waste time searching dispersive sources or we open a ticket to “pass the buck” to a colleague, weighing down his workload. This means that we slow down the productivity of the company itself.

It follows that relationships with customers get worse too: let’s think, for example, of every time that a Customer Care Manager has to coordinate Service Client operations. He must assure that all the operators provide consistent and accurate information to ensure customer satisfaction. For this reason, it is important that everyone can have easy and immediate access to knowledge, to spend less time searching and to optimise resources.

In other situations, instead, information is missing in the documentation: in such cases we talk about Knowledge Gaps, and it is important to know immediately if what we’re looking for exists, or if it has to be created since scratch.

For this reason, it is essential for all business divisions to have a single and centralized access point to the entire Knowledge Base: developing a Knowledge Management System even badly organized or splitted and hidden information can become easy to search, and improve efficiency of the work.

6 sings and solutions to the information hoarding problem

If the situations described so far seems familiar to you, we have collected below 6 signs that you should keep under control to understand if there is a knowledge hoarding problem in the company (and how to solve it):

1.There are few people “knowledge holders” that always answer repetitive questions: we are not referring to the experts, which rightly every company must have. But if there is a group of people who are forced to slow down their work to answer the same questions over and over again, there is a problem.

Solution: creating a Q&A (question and answer) database, easily accessible from a single access point, would solve the lack of circulation of this information, making it accessible for all and easy to update.

2.Creating a presentation seems like a titanic job
: searching and putting together information, images, descriptions, etc. it takes time and imagination.

Solution: A central database that, for example, both Sales and Marketing employees can access would make it easier to share and find material between these two departments that don’t always talk to each other and could help solve the problem.

3.When an employee leaves, knowledge is lost
: especially implicit and best practice knowledge, which must be passed on to someone else before an employee retires or leaves the company.

Solution: With a centralized system, such as a Knowledge Management System, where all this information is recorded and collected, anyone will be able to access and learn from it, without losing important business knowledge.

4.Information is usually shared via personal communication: every time you receive an important document, you waste time finding it in your email inbox and, in addition, it must be sent to each new team member.

Solution: A knowledge sharing solution could instead avoid this waste of time by making documents and information readily available from one touch point.

5.New employees are forced to follow hours and hours of on-boarding presentation: when a new employee joins the team it takes months to be introduced to the work, and is forced to follow training and seminars to understand all the company procedures. But, when it is the moment to put it into practice, the new employee has to ask colleagues.

Solution: To avoid that new team members have to pick colleagues’ brains, it is necessary to implement a knowledge sharing solution, so they can find what they need to solve a problem directly in the knowledge base, and can always be up to date with accessible information. 

6.Transparency is not a value in the corporate culture: analyzing only the successes of employees will not lead to improving their shortcomings.

Solution: A company culture that aims on transparency does not focus so much on individual performance, but tries to learn from experiences, using this knowledge to develop new plans and new ideas, creating real communities among employees.

In fact, starting to put knowledge sharing into practice means building a climate of innovation and development, including technological ones, which favors collaboration and growth, both individually and in the organization, also thanks to the implementation of a Knowledge Management software.