The much-desired corporate capability of knowledge management is now over 20 years old—it made great business sense at the end of the 20th Century and it does even more so in 2019. However, many organizations, including their IT departments, still struggle with knowledge sharing – with a common question being, “Why are employees reluctant to share knowledge?”
It’s an unfortunate situation, given that knowledge management continues to grow in importance for IT departments—from its origins in providing knowledge bases to uplift IT service and support staff capabilities, to the provision of effective employee self-help capabilities. This also includes the more recent requirement for data, information, and knowledge to support the corporate investments in artificial intelligence (AI)-based capabilities for IT.
This blog looks at some of the common reasons for the struggle with knowledge management before offering up seven knowledge sharing tips to encourage better communication within your organization.
In a corporate knowledge management success context, there has traditionally been an “easy” excuse for the lack of knowledge sharing—this is because employees who support the “knowledge is power” statement are reluctant to share what they know with others (and to thus devalue their own importance.)
There’s, of course, some merit in this despite the rapid growth in “oversharing” and the “wanting likes” mentality we’ve seen with the rise in social media use. But many of the real barriers to knowledge sharing sit with organizational issues rather than our personal fear of status reduction.
There are many people-based barriers to knowledge sharing. For instance, when new knowledge management capabilities are introduced within an IT organization, it’s often done from a technology-implementation perspective rather than a people-change perspective.
In such instances, the fact that the desired change is a change to the traditional way of working is unfortunately overlooked. As are many of the tools and techniques offered by organizational change management (OCM)—starting with employees first understanding the “What’s in it for me?” as well as the business-level benefits of knowledge sharing.
This and other barriers—reflected in the tips below—mean that knowledge sharing isn’t easy. Or at least isn’t easy unless a well-informed approach is taken to knowledge management’s introduction.
So, what can your IT department do to encourage greater employee knowledge sharing?
The key here is to build your knowledge sharing capabilities around your employees, rather than the available knowledge management technology.
It’s not that the technology isn’t important—it is (or at least the right technology is). Those driving knowledge sharing initiatives need to fully understand the need for people-based change as both a prelude to, and after, the implementation of any knowledge management capabilities.
This is reflected in the seven knowledge sharing success tips below:
So, that’s my seven knowledge sharing tips for encouraging better communication within your organization. If you can leverage all seven, then you’ll significantly increase your organization’s chances of both knowledge management and ITSM success.
Principal Analyst and Content Director at the ITSM-focused industry analyst firm ITSM.tools. Also an independent IT and IT service management marketing content creator, and a frequent blogger, writer, and presenter on the challenges and opportunities for IT service management professionals. Previously held positions in IT research and analysis (at IT industry analyst firms Ovum and Forrester and the UK Post Office), IT service management consultancy, enterprise IT service desk and IT service management, IT asset management, innovation and creativity facilitation, project management, finance consultancy, internal audit, and product marketing for a SaaS IT service management technology vendor.