Pay, prospects and perks aside, the modern jobseeker and employee want to work in places with a positive work culture. In a recent Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey, a whopping 82% of respondents consider workplace culture to be essential.
Thankfully, employers are listening, and many are already making the effort.
Today, many companies flaunt workplace “culture” in all sorts of ways. Common ones would be having a pool table in the middle of the office to impress a fun environment or having open offices that supposedly promote accessibility and encourage collaboration.
While it’s great that employers are now being more innovative, establishing a great workplace culture is not just about having a positive brand image or keeping employees entertained.
Not all fun and play, workplace culture should value-add
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is the ability to be nimble in adapting to drastic changes. In an economic downturn, pool tables don’t save businesses and jobs, but pooled knowledge will go a long way in ensuring employers and employees have a chance to ride out the wave.
The World Economic Forum outlines 10 elements that matter most to employees based on research done by MIT Sloan Management Review. Among the 10 listed, learning and development sit at number eight on the list.
While the rest of the elements speak more about having a safe and secure working environment- a given for any workplace, however, learning and development seem to reflect the growing awareness of the importance of career resilience among jobseekers and employees.
Employees want to be invested in and be part of the company’s growth
According to LinkedIn’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report, 94% of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it simply invested in helping them learn.
To put it bluntly: if employers want people to stay and perform at their best every day, they’ll need more than bean bags and table tennis tables.
The future of work is unfolding, and the pandemic has accelerated the use of digital technologies and the way we work. With digitalisation at the heart of it all, establishing a work culture that promotes and facilitates the open sharing of knowledge, insight, and experience that benefits employees and drive a company toward important strategic goals, is known as knowledge-sharing culture.
Read More: 5 Ways for Better Employee Development
Nurturing a knowledge-sharing culture in the workplace
Supporting employees’ learning in the workplace is not just about sending them for courses every few months or assigning experienced staff as mentors. Employers have to ensure that knowledge sharing involves everyone and that it is not a random thing that happens once in a while.
Employers can build a more holistic knowledge-sharing culture among staff through these seven tips.
1. Redesign the reward and recognition systems
Most reward systems still reward individual effort and knowledge. If employers want to create a workplace culture that supports knowledge creation, sharing and re-use, they must reward those behaviours. This means rewarding not just the contributor, but also the person using the knowledge shared. This encourages employees to build upon existing knowledge and not re-inventing the wheel.
New knowledge for the company can also come in the form of feedback from employees. When staff are encouraged to share their findings, insights or best practices with their employers, the company is able to make justified or measurable improvements to better its operations.
At Akadasia, a tech start-up that specialises in education technology, employee feedback is taken very seriously and acknowledged by the CEO himself.
Speaking to Workipedia at MyCareersFuture, Neelesh Bhatia, CEO and founder of Akadasia shared: “I make it a point to send a direct email to the employee once we have considered the feedback and acted upon it.”
“The email thanks the employee and provides information on how we have acted upon it, or why we decided not to,” he added.
2. Make knowledge-sharing a job requirement
One of the most common reasons for people not sharing knowledge is a lack of time. Employees are simply too busy to attend to what appears to be a new work necessity on top of their hectic work schedules. Knowledge activities should not be viewed as extra duties to be completed at the end of the day.
One way to overcome this is to develop a true knowledge-sharing culture by making knowledge-sharing a formal part of work obligations, including it in job descriptions, and incorporating it into appraisal processes.
Speaking to Workipedia at MyCareersFuture, Dell Technologies Singapore spokesperson shared: “We value upskilling and reskilling as part of our staff’s career development process. For more impact, we provide them with resources, tools and career guidance to help them showcase, keep track, and align their career aspirations with company goals.”
3. Educate staff on the value of knowledge and how to apply it
One of the most common reasons people don’t share is that they believe they don’t have anything worth discussing or that what they know isn’t beneficial to others in the organisation. Building a knowledge culture includes ensuring that everyone understands the business better and can identify what knowledge is most valuable and how it can be exploited.
4. Demonstrate how information sharing works
Every business has “knowledge naturals.” These are folks that thrive on learning new things and sharing their knowledge with others. It is their life’s purpose. Identify these individuals and create semi-formal responsibilities that recognise the value of these actions. This improves the standing of informal experts and gives staff role models after whom they can model their behaviour.
At Dell Technologies Singapore, staff can connect to mentors via a mentoring portal in the Workday platform.
5. Make sure the technology works for people, not the other way around
Companies will sometimes build massive knowledge management systems that are not integrated with how people really operate. Technology makes communication and information exchange easier, however, it may also be a barrier when excessively sophisticated and difficult to use. In this case, it is more likely to be an impediment than a facilitator.
For Akadasia, a tech start-up that specialises in education technology, its employees are given access to a private virtual community, accessible through the company’s corporate site, that they can use to share new things and information that they may have learnt.
The company also conduct regular meetings with all staff once every two weeks on top off and one-on-one catchups between staff and CEO that happens every six months.
6. Make it clear that it is acceptable to make mistakes
Making mistakes is frowned upon in many corporate cultures. This offers little possibility for learning and growth and effectively closes the door to knowledge sharing. Make knowledge sharing open and enjoyable. Give out prizes for the best blunders. When employees are willing to recognise their mistakes, they are encouraged to share their lessons learned.
Knowledge-sharing culture: Don’t force it too fast, too soon
The culture of knowledge-sharing is about people, procedures, and technology, but it is largely about people. Because culture produces itself, cultural change is neither quick nor easy. Nonetheless, employers may do a lot to help ease the process.
Through the incorporation of knowledge processes into their daily work, you can foster a thriving, motivating culture that’s relevant to your employees.