Oh, remote work.
That thing that seemed so far away for many people and, look, here it is; we can finally work from a deck chair in the Bahamas.
Even if only as a background for video calls.
Teleworking has its advantages, true. But there are also things you miss a lot.
Yes, we’re talking about your co-workers.
No coffees, no casual elevator conversations, no «hey, do you know…?»
Or «could you explain to me…?»
Not even the one you miss the most, «Do you know what I found out?»
Well, all those conversations that never took place are responsible for something very ugly that is rampant in companies, and even more so among those that work remotely: knowledge silos.
You’d better listen to him, just in case
Yes, no wonder. And we’ll tell you why.
What are knowledge silos?
Have you ever had the feeling that you had no idea what was going on in a department other than your own?
Well, there you have a silo as big as a house.
All departments are supposed to work towards a common goal (or should, if they have any interest in your company’s survival).
But there is strong>so little communication between the different teams that they don’t know what the people working 2 desks over from their own are doing.
Now imagine there are no desks.
No colleagues beyond meetings in the Bahamas.
Exactly: no one seems to have any idea what’s going on in your company.
Consequences of knowledge silos
As you might have guessed, that’s not good.
Because, without colleagues around to say «Hey, do you have a minute?», solving that question that could be solved in 2 minutes can prevent your teams from moving forward.
«Ah, well, if that’s all that’s wrong with silos, it’s not that big of a deal, is it?»
Well, that alone is already going to cost your company time and money, as work will be slower and less efficient.
But, in case you need more dangers of knowledge silos for your company, here are a few more:
- Lack of alignment around your organization’s goals and vision.
You basically get tired of working in opposite directions.
- Mistrust between departments.
Let’s see: it is clear that if marketing does not know the sales objectives, and sales does not know what the product department is up to, you are not going to get very far as a company, and this lack of strategy will not only prevent you from moving in the right direction, but each department will work to meet its own objectives.
And it will not collaborate as it should with the department next door.
And from that to bad feeling is a step (or half a step).
And the bad feeling is not cool (at all).
- Duplicated work.
Double the effort, time and money to do something that could have been achieved with half the investment.
- Decreased innovation.
The potential synergies between departments that your company is missing out on.
Each team knows its area of activity inside out and, by sharing this knowledge with other departments, a lot of ideas would surely emerge to optimize processes and improve results.
If everyone is clear about the common objectives, of course.
What do you think now?
Are silos as bad as we said they were?
Silos are like zombies; they eat your company’s brain.
But don’t worry, my friend.
You know that here we have solutions for everything, and with what we are going to tell you now there will be no silos (or zombie apocalypse) that endanger your organization.
How to avoid silos: democratize knowledge in your company
Let’s get down to business: the solution against silos consists of something as simple as making knowledge available to everyone.
Why is democratizing knowledge good?
- Because you save time.
All the time your team members spend searching for information by not having anyone to say «hey, do you know…?»
- Because you reduce the risk of duplicating work or losing knowledge.
Without communication between teams, who’s to say that several of them aren’t working on the same thing? Or, worse, in opposite directions… Time and resources wasted, in both cases.
- Because you increase innovation.
And innovation is cool, because new ideas mean new solutions to problems. And solutions end up translating into more money on the bottom line.
So if you want to know how to democratize knowledge, read on, we’ll explain it here.
1. Make an analysis of knowledge management in your company
Before we start «doing things» like crazy, answer yourself this question: what does your organization need to improve its knowledge management?
If you have not yet started to work seriously on sharing information, it is quite probable that you do not know it.
And without knowing where we are we won’t get anywhere. So let’s start at the beginning and see what your starting point is:
- What are your company’s knowledge needs?
What do your teams need to know to do their jobs in the best possible way?
- What knowledge does your organization have and where is it stored?
Where is the information your teams need? In a filing cabinet in a dusty warehouse? In a database? In the head of one of your team members?
- What knowledge gaps does your company have?
If there are members of your organization who don’t have access to the information they need, either because it’s not accessible or doesn’t even exist, it’s time to find out.
- How is information shared in your organization?
By email? by Teams? by Slack? Identify the weaknesses of your communication system and look for an option that improves knowledge sharing among your teams.
- What obstacles prevent knowledge from flowing and being shared within your company?
Poor communication between your teams? Not knowing where to look for it? Lack of a medium through which to do it?
2. Choose a knowledge connector
Now you know where you are and what gaps you have.
And also that, if you don’t put all the information in one place available to everyone when they need it, the only thing you are going to democratize is absolute chaos.
People wasting time searching for it.
In other words: you’ll be right where you started.
A knowledge connector does just what its name suggests: it connects knowledge.
It concentrates it in a single platform where your teams can go whenever they need information.
They can solve their doubts with a single click.
And, most importantly: at any time and from anywhere in the world.
It doesn’t matter if your team members work from Sebastopol or Murcia. Everyone will have the answers to their questions at their fingertips when they need them.
3. Facilitates knowledge sharing and access to information
What do you do when you have a doubt in your daily life? You have 5 seconds to answer.
And you probably don’t need 4 of those seconds to answer: you go to Google and solve it.
And it doesn’t matter if what you want to know is the age of a celebrity or the capital of Kyrgyzstan: Google always has the answer.
And that’s because it knows where to look.
If you have done a good analysis of your company’s knowledge management, you will have located the information.
And if there is no document in your organization where your people can find the info they need, you are already late in encouraging your teams to create them.
That’s the attitude
Let departments and experts happily share their knowledge to close all those gaps we talked about in the previous point.
4. Create a culture of knowledge sharing in your company
And how do you do that?
By motivating your team to share everything they know.
Reward them. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep your staff happy.
Personal job satisfaction is a very important factor in assessing whether the experience as part of your team is good or not.
As we have told you before: happy teams, a company that rocks.
And recognizing a person’s merits is one of the best ways to make them feel at ease in your company.
Encourage your teams to share that knowledge: create participation rankings, recognize their involvement publicly before the rest of the staff… imagination to power.
You will see how engagement increases, the work environment improves and, with it, productivity (and your profits).
Now you know how to avoid knowledge silos in your company, do you dare to do it?
If the answer is yes (and we hope it is), we have very, very good news for you.
Zapiens is our knowledge management tool, and with it you will be able to put into practice everything we have just told you.
No more wasted time; no more wasted money… no more horrible silos.
Then sign up at Zapiens and use our app to share your team’s knowledge and put an end to brain-eating silos.
You can register up to 20 users for free. And forever. Promise.
Go on! Kill those silos!
FREE for up to 20 users
The easiest way to train your team, manage knowledge in your company and learn something new every day.