According to one study, 60 % of employees have had difficulties getting their colleagues to share information that’s vital to their work. That can be detrimental on many levels.
We’ve all experienced it. Withholding or concealing information is still widespread, perhaps due to fear of losing power or the status you get from knowing “unique” information. At the same time, open innovation and co-creation are hot buzzwords relying on knowledge sharing.
Although my personal prediction is that knowledge sharing will continue to rise, few of us have been aware of the scale of it’s financial impact. Zhou Jiang points to a recent report:
Firms with a high-trust environment, where employees can collaboratively and transparently share knowledge, gain stock returns two to three times higher than the industry average
Being on the other side of the spectrum, with an ineffective knowledge sharing culture, cost US companies nearly 50 million in lost productivity – each year.
I’ve written about the connection between innovation, creativity and individual feelings of attachment to other colleagues previously, and it is interesting to see that Mr. Jiang’s research reflect this. In his own study, he found that hiding knowledge makes people feel more psychologically unsafe, which again leaves these people less likely to thrive in their workplace.
One of the most valuable charecteristics of a successful work environment is well-functioning communication. Therefore:
I recommend having both open face-to-face and digital communication channels, with the latter one making it easier to access knowledge whenever it fits best and in one’s own pace. Moreover, I suggest you start inviting others to share their input, and create a habit of asking more people for their knowlegde. Most people are happy to share and glad that you asked.
It’s never too late to create a more open knowledge sharing culture, and you’d be surprised at how many people it could be relevant to. Remember that information might not be useful to the receiver in the moment it’s shared, but at a later point or in combination with other knowledge.