In tech companies, there are many different profiles that have a general understanding of many areas but are experts only in selected segments, technology-wise and industry-wise. Most of the personnel usually specialize in a certain area, which allows them to accumulate knowledge on a certain topic or domain others in the company may not posses. Often, this knowledge remains unshared and confined to their own expertise, but by employing various knowledge sharing initiatives, employers and the company itself can have great benefits.
Such practices can help build stronger and more connected teams, increase productivity, and facilitate faster problem-solving. Moreover, they can inspire innovation and foster new ideas and solutions.
In addition to technical personnel, in every company there are other employees who deal with operations, administration, human resources and other areas. Their jobs do not require knowledge of certain technical aspects in detail. However, being introduced to current technologies, advantages, and disadvantages of working with them, can contribute to the general understanding of the company’s vision. Technical knowledge gained by non-technical employees can greatly improve their job performance and contribute to the overall quality of the company’s operations.
Such sharing of information is especially useful for recruiters and the rest of the HR sector whose job is to attract candidates and hire new people. The wider the knowledge and understanding they have regarding technical details, the better the interviews they conduct. Having a broader knowledge and understanding of technical details can make it easier to assess whether potential candidates meet the required profile, saving time for the entire team, including the candidates themselves.
The need for learning and training is an integral part of the professional development of every individual. Whether it’s training, specialization, or an encouragement from the company regarding the exchange of knowledge, we find that every new knowledge is useful.
Any type of knowledge sharing among employees or among colleagues contributes to the quality of each individual and at the same time the company itself, and the services/products that the company provides. The effective acquisition of new knowledge and skills, as well as continuous improvement of existing ones, can transform a company into a treasure trove of knowledge, where employees are motivated to stay.
What are the possibilities for the company to build strong knowledge sharing practices?
- Organization of various meetups or workshops. One of the steps that a company can take when building the skillsets of its staff is the organization of various gatherings or meetings with the purpose of exchanging and sharing knowledge. These are events where employees can have a discussion or a debate on a certain topic, hear other people’s insights, and learn something new from their colleagues or superiors.
- Organization of internal or external trainings. Training programs are often necessary for introducing new practices and tools, as well as for improving existing skills and staying up-to-date with market trends. Some of the employees see such training opportunities as benefits as it allows them to deepen their knowledge and thus advance their career.The company can identify subject matter experts within the organization who would contribute to in-house trainings, or hire outside experts.
- Storage of all educational materials on common platforms or portals. After completion of any training or internal knowledge sharing, all materials should be stored on common platforms/portals/groups that can be accessed by company employees. This way, the materials can be viewed, read, and discussed all over again. Other employees who were prevented from attending the training, but are interested in the topic can access the materials afterwards.
- Evaluations. Evaluations have become widespread as an integral part of every company, in order to help management understand the atmosphere in the company and employee satisfaction level. Results obtained from the evaluation process can help management guide employees’ career paths and set their ultimate goals. On the other hand, based on results after the completion of the evaluation period, the management can gain a clearer perspective whether there is a need for certain trainings and knowledge sharing among peers. Based on the situation in the company, the management can organize several different trainings, allowing employees to opt for the ones they want to attend according to the nature of their work and/or interests.
- Budget for employee education. Although many companies in the world have already introduced this practice, it should be singled out as one of the most practical ways to improve collective knowledge in the company. Each employee, based on the specifications of their jobs, the position in the hierarchical system, as well as the specifics of the job, receives a certain annual budget that can be used for educational purposes. If majority of the employees are motivated to take advantage of this perk, the company will build an atmosphere of constant progress and thirst for knowledge. Creating such an environment not only enhances the quality of the company’s products/services, but also enhances its reputation in the tech world.
How did we strive to maximize knowledge sharing opportunities at Saint Di?
- Townhall meetings. Every other Friday, a Townhall meeting is organized where one of the employees presents one of the topics from their expertise to the rest of the team. For example, we recently had a very interesting presentation by our colleague Marko who spoke to us about “Flutter – Pros and Cons”, while the previous meeting was held by Aleksandar on the topic “React in 10K ‘simple’ steps”. Such topics usually spark a productive debate among team members where they present it from their point of view. In addition, the non-technical members of the team have the opportunity to learn something new and gain a better understanding of the tech world.In addition to the technical topics, we also introduce other subject matters we feel might be of interest. One of interesting topics presented recently by our colleague Jovana was “Business English Phrases and Communication Tips”, where some rules in communication in business world were discussed.
- Innovation challenge. Last year, we launched the first challenge in a series of innovation challenges that gives our employees an opportunity to develop their application or software ideas and present them to the rest of the team. How does it work? Any employee can create a pitch and present their idea on several occasions throughout the year. All the ideas are afterwards evaluated, and the best ones are selected for realization with the support of the company. We provide the employee with mentoring opportunities, additional trainings and the entire necessary infrastructure. The main idea behind this initiative is to create entrepreneurial spirit in our employees and increase competences inside the teams.
- Trainings and trainings. We organize various trainings for all employees. These trainings can involve anything from specific technical fields, project management tools and methodologies, to new procedures and policies, and even practical life skills like first aid.
- Confluence shared knowledge. On the company’s collaboration tool and intranet – Confluence, we created a database that contains all the materials utilized at trainings, presentations, Townhall meetings and Innovation challenge. This way, all current and future employees can have access to a lot of learning materials they can utilize for their advancement.
- Slack channel “General”. We use the “General” channel on Slack for sharing new tools, useful advice on how to solve certain problems, exchanging opinions on certain topics, etc. In addition to sharing work-related knowledge, we like to support our employees’ hobbies and personal achievements. We believe every step in personal growth should be shared and recognized, as it may inspire others to strive for more, build stronger team and motivate them to make even stronger knowledge sharing network.
To sum up
Whether the company practices all the activities listed above, or only some of them, it certainly leads to better results and improves the atmosphere among the staff. There are almost no downsides to these activities, while there are many upsides.
Some may argue that many of these activities can put a financial burden on the company, as instant profitability cannot be observed. So, the question is, is it worth doing something like this? The answer is always YES. It is a significant investment, but the one that will provide a number of benefits to the company in the long-haul.
If you have more suggestions on how Shared knowledge can be implemented in companies, write to us in the comments.