People are busy with their day-to-day jobs. Which is why if Bob's manager makes this suggestion to Bob—"It would be nice if you shared how to do This Important Task with Jane, John, and Terry"—Bob might do it. Or he might not. After all, it was merely a suggestion. Besides, Bob has This Important Task covered. And Jane, John, and Terry know that.
But here's the thing: let's say Bob gets hit by a bus. Too brutal? Fine. Let's say Bob gets sick—so sick that he can't talk on the phone for more than five seconds before, well, you know.
And now let's say that This Important Task needs to be done. Like, TODAY. It can't wait just because Bob is sick.
There will likely be a lot of hand wringing. Perhaps cursing as well. Yes, Jane, John, and Terry will somehow figure it out. Or, at least, a workaround. For now. (After many wasted hours.) They'll even try reaching out to someone in another branch, since it's probable someone at one of the other offices knows how to do This Important Task, but, well, time is of the essence. And the company isn't set up for that sort of workflow.
And by workflow, we mean "sharing skills and knowledge."
You can see where this is headed, right?
Knowledge Sharing Should be Required
You should never leave knowledge sharing to chance. Knowledge sharing shouldn't be a suggestion or a thing that people will "get to" when they have a free minute. Because, let's face it: we're all busy. Free minutes are at a premium. And when we have them, we're probably not thinking about using them to teach Jane, John, and Terry about This Important Task.
Instead, you should have a system in place that makes sharing knowledge a part of your organization's culture. It should be something everyone is required to participate in as an employee: profile set up, areas of expertise, ways to contact, providing help when asked.
Knowledge Sharing in Action
Here's how it would work in our Bob scenario above. Instead of Bob's manager simply making the suggestion that Bob should share his knowledge about This Important Task, the manager would set up and monitor a project in the knowledge share system itself—a project that makes sure Bob does indeed share his knowledge about This Important Task with Jane, John, and Terry.
So when Bob gets sick, no one misses a beat. Jane, John, or Terry can handle it. And if for some reason they still need help, they can turn to the knowledge share system again and see who else has experience with This Important Task.
Knowledge Sharing: The Benefits
Remember, your employees are your organization's biggest asset because of the knowledge they have. Harness this knowledge. Don't lose it because someone falls ill, retires, or walks across the street to a competitor.
By the way, sharing knowledge doesn't diminish employees. It empowers them. Helping other people, sharing expertise, contributing to the organization's overall knowledge base—these are all good things that transcend the mundane aspects that everyone experiences from time to time during their day-to-day job.
Interested in an innovative system that combines the best aspects of mentoring with knowledge sharing? Request a demo of Anytime Mentoring.