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New Krauthammer report: organisations failing to reap benefits of employee knowledge-sharing

New Krauthammer report: organisations failing to reap benefits of employee knowledge-sharing

Organisations have long understood the importance of their formal learning initiatives and architecture. Yet informal learning – free knowledge exchange between employees - is as vital and in serious need of help.

Focussing on individual knowledge agents and their close entourages, “Informal learning in organisations” explores employee attitudes, experiences and needs. It reveals blockages as well as clear opportunities for managers and organisations to benefit from the rich knowledge capital of their employees.

Jos Velthuis, Executive Board Member of Krauthammer, comments:  “For 20 years I’ve been using the same check question in Management and Leadership Development programmes: "What was the most impactful  learning experience in your professional career?" People invariably cite informal learning moments, demonstrating the vital importance of creating these.”

Key results:

73% of people are sharing their knowledge proactively or regularly. But 36% mistrust the reactions of others  – plagiarism, sanctions, their knowledge being used against them. And only 30% say that knowledge flows freely beyond close personal networks.

72% even want targets for their informal knowledge-sharing activities. Recognition from managers is crucial, but only 49% of people are satisfied. And whilst 64% think their manager believes in knowledge-sharing, only 34% get enough support in securing resources.

34% of peer entourages are characterised by empathic or trustbuilding behaviour. And whilst 56% display timely and spontaneous idea-sharing, people tend to submit to dominant personalities. And only 14% of people say the best ideas are met with open minds by management.

20% think the people in their organisations can quickly form new patterns of thinking. 24% believe their organisation anticipates and adapts to change in a rapid and supple way.

Management messages

1 – For employees

Build trust. Help employees understand how sharing their knowledge freely can enrich their & lsquo;brand equity’

Develop the recognition reflex. Recognising employee efforts is a & lsquo;quick win’ to motivating them to exchange knowledge– and recognition is as neglected as it is needed.

Coach people to help others learn. Help employees move from simply sharing information, to stimulating the learning of others, thanks to good didactic principles.

Assign targets. Employees seek targetsetting - this can calm fears, help managers give concrete recognition, and secure the needed resources.

2 – For employee entourages

Help transform encounters into exchanges. Coach employees to optimise the quality of their peer exchanges – for example, pre-setting meeting agendas with objectives and clear rules to ensure all are heard. A & lsquo;rotating chair’ approach gives everyone a chance to facilitate.

Apply & lsquo;team’ logic to working groups. Managers can help entourages self-govern by encouraging them to identify individual members’ complementary styles, expertise, and roles.

3 – For the organisation

Perform a knowledge-sharing audit. The Krauthammer report contains a questionnaire and process to check the status of knowledge-sharing in your organisation, and establish actions.

Ensure your organisation knows who knows. Dialogues between managers and employees should yield summaries of employee knowledge areas – helping formal learning architects to create & lsquo;address books’ of knowledge owners.

Ensure the organisation knows what those people know. The content of employee knowledge can enrich organisational knowledge banks and help learning architects design more relevant development paths.

Break down the barriers. Knowledge is not flowing well beyond people’s close entourages.  Is it time for  learning architects to invite informal knowledge-sharers onto formal platforms?


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