There is much knowledge within organizations that is rarely captured and shared. Additionally, some organizations don’t enable for collaboration to occur, which further reduces or hinders knowledge sharing across the organization.
Organizations that enable for collaboration and knowledge sharing across the organization realize a number of benefits, including:
- Improved communications
- Innovation in problem solving
- Reduced conflicts
- Improved teamwork
- Increased employee engagement
- Improved customer service
There are any number of ways to enable for collaboration and knowledge sharing, including:
- Through the use of a collaboration portal
- Through cross-functional project work
- Through the use of cross-functional mentoring
- Through tying collaboration and knowledge sharing into performance management systems
- Through rewarding teamwork over individual work
- Through promoting the value of collaboration and knowledge sharing from the leadership level down through to all levels of employees
Enabling for collaboration and knowledge sharing provides professional development opportunities for employees. It also enables the organization to take advantage of the diversity of its employee base – the variety of perspectives will bring tremendous value to the organization in products and services offered customers.
For organizations that are silo’ed, getting to a point where there is cross-functional collaboration and knowledge sharing takes effort. But it’s an effort that will be well worth it in the long-run and provide a significant value to the organization as well as the individuals within the organization.
Let’s look at one example. One organization restructured its organization in a way that it required cross-functional efforts to meet goals. In doing so, the organization effectively pushed people to have to collaborate and share knowledge in order to accomplish goals. Prior to restructuring, however, the organization launched a collaboration portal and provided training on the use of the portal, held a variety of team building sessions, and held a number of multi-department planning sessions. By the time the organization completed the restructuring, the majority of the employees were excited about the future and engaged in collaboration together to accomplish goals. The organization, over time, found that they were doing a better job engaging customers, significantly improved the timeline for new product releases, solved problems more effectively and reduced conflicts greatly.