I remember while facilitating a training a few months ago, a participant asked a very important question. She asked if one should share their knowledge with colleagues, especially if such knowledge was vital to being promoted or getting a pay raise in the office.
That question turned out to be a debate in the class, it was fascinating as a lot of people shared personal experiences of how knowledge sharing helped them at work and some others shared how it was a disadvantage for them.
From the discussion, I could deduce that the culture of the organization played a very key role in knowledge sharing. Organizations where employees interacted freely amongst themselves had employees who were willing to share what they learnt with others. Employees in such organizations didn’t see colleagues as competitors, rather they saw themselves as a team and it didn’t matter who lead.
On the other hand, in organizations where there was unhealthy competition amongst employees’ knowledge sharing was very difficult. Employees saw themselves as competitors, they would rather keep their knowledge to themselves. This trait amongst employees is very detrimental to the growth of the organization.
I think that knowledge should be shared freely within organizations for the following reasons
Organizations grow faster when knowledge sharing is encouraged. Statistics show that the fastest growing companies are those that equip their employees with the right knowledge and allow knowledge to circulate within the organization. Leaders in organizations should make it a personal responsibility to ensure that knowledge sharing is deliberately practiced.
When employees are free to share their skills and knowledge with colleagues, healthy work environments are built. In such organizations there would be more of collaboration than competition, everyone sees the organization as a whole with every employee contributing their quota. Employees do not mind if someone else gets the credit for their knowledge or idea, they do not put personal interest ahead of the interest of the organization.
Imagine that during departmental meetings employees are encouraged to share new knowledge every time, you will be amazed by the amount of collective knowledge you can gain from this exercise over a period of time. Encourage employees to come up with something new in each meeting and you will help them increase their hunger for knowledge. Leaders must create systems within their organizations that encourage employees to generate ideas and share knowledge.
I believe that for organizations to really grow, employees must be able and willing to share vital knowledge freely.
Obaro Aziza is an HR professional with specialties in Learning and Development, Training Facilitation, Talent Acquisition, Business Partnering, Performance Management, Talent Management, HR and Business Consulting, Business Development, Strategy, Business Analysis, Business writing.
You can reach him on LinkedIn here.