The true value of knowledge sharing

by L&D08 Nov 2016
The biggest learning and development challenge facing start-up companies is getting employees to understand the value of sharing knowledge.

An article in Personnel Today points out that as start-ups are not big enough to have learning and development (L&D) teams, they tend to do this through using technology.

However, this is not always effective for employees, or the organisations they work for.

“Tools such as Slack – in which users create chat streams – is a powerful communication tool that can help reduce the number of emails colleagues receive,” the article states.

“However, like other social networks, chats appear on screen as a chronological feed of updates, which makes it is easy for strong learning points to be buried soon after they have been shared.”

Still, these tools still have a value for organisations: enabling employees to share information that would otherwise be hidden in private conversations within email.

Below, Personnel Today shares some examples:
Sharing insights
As teams in larger companies become increasingly distributed and project-focused then chat tools such as Yammer and WhatsApp, and social networks like Yammer and Chatter, become increasingly important for sharing knowledge. The challenge for organisations is how to access the really useful and important information.

For Ben Betts, CEO at social learning platform provider HT2, the answer is to weave in a social element to all parts of the learning experience. The act of sharing, he said, helps refine an individual’s learning.

Betts said that the success of the course was down to relevant, bite-sized content, good questions to provoke participation and the use of game mechanics to help nudge people along.
Social learning should be a part of an agile way of delivering learning. Just make sure you plan in social activities, do them and measure the impact, he advised.

Video stars
Powell shared an example of the impact video has had on the business. In one retail unit the new starter staff turnover rate was 58%. After some investigation, Powell’s team learned that new starters didn’t fully understand the sales process and how their commission worked.

This lack of knowledge and ability to sell the product was traced back to the company induction which included a costly face to face element.

Powell’s team revamped the process using videos to create a learning pathway for new starters.
The result? As well as cost savings from reduced face to face training, the video approach has helped reduce attrition by 40% – down to 18% in the first six months.

Learning how to learn
This focus on new skills for L&D was picked up by Sukh Pabial, head of organisation design at One Housing.

He told delegates that L&D teams need to understand what adult learning looks like. “How do we design solutions which actually include adult learning principles?

“That is going to involve giving access to knowledge and information that people can consume in their way, as they need to. And also provide them with an environment where they can discuss what they have learned.”