Your employees represent a wealth of knowledge and experience. However, that does not mean they are sharing their insight with each other effectively. Silos can easily develop, stymying the flow of information. Similarly, a culture that is not conducive to knowledge sharing can hinder the intellectual wealth of the organization.
Architecture, engineering and construction companies need to create an environment that encourages knowledge sharing. This includes not only cultivating a culture where people feel free to express their thoughts and lead others in areas where they have the expertise, but also creating mechanisms that promote better communication and intelligence capturing. The following suggestions can help you develop a functional knowledge pool for your team that is continuously refreshed and utilized on an ongoing basis.
Setting Up a Knowledge Pool at Work
If you want to capture your employees’ insights and experience, you need mechanisms for collecting and transferring the knowledge. Adjusting your workplace to accommodate this does not have to be complex or costly, it just has to be planned out and encouraged. A few examples of how you can encourage knowledge-sharing, without breaking your budget, include:
Providing Environments for Collaboration
Many workplaces are not ideal for knowledge sharing as they lack quiet, private areas where groups can collaborate or individuals can converse on various work-related topics with limited interruption. Making conference rooms available for discussions can give professionals access to the right kind of environment for in-depth conversations.
Ensuring Adequate Tools Are in Place
In some cases, adding the right technologies can promote knowledge sharing and information capture. Collaboration software allows employees to communicate and share files, whether they are in remote offices, working from home or while traveling. Similarly, knowledge library technology can track a variety of information, ranging from known issues and solutions to term definitions and procedure overviews. Plus, these databases are highly searchable, and the content can be preserved over the long term.
Creating Processes and Programs that Support Collaboration
Creating formal programs, (such as peer training, knowledge databases, learning exchanges and mentorship programs) can establish avenues for sharing insights. Conversely, a lack of formal programs that support collaboration can reduce the number of opportunities for knowledge transfer. Without these processes in place, many employees may be averse to engage at that level. Keep in mind that if a process is too tedious and time consuming, employees may still be reluctant to contribute. The key is often finding something that is fairly easy to learn, implement and utilize.
Encouraging Employees to Share Insights
While most architecture, engineering and construction companies hope their employees automatically share their expertise once mechanisms are in place, it doesn’t always happen overnight. Sometimes it might only require consent. Plenty of people would jump at the chance to share their knowledge and experience with their team, but typically avoid taking too much time away from their primary duties. If they know that leadership condones this specific deviation from their typical tasks and assignments, they may be far more apt to participate regularly.
You may also need to incentivize their participation. For example, even if you have a mentorship program, you may struggle to find volunteer mentors without offering the mentors something in return. Otherwise, they may be reluctant to take on a mentee. The incentive could certainly be financial, but that is not the only option. You could give small prizes, such as items featuring the company logo, to the employee whose contribution to a knowledge library received the most views. Adding details about new mentors to company newsletters can also be effective, giving you a platform to offer praise and increasing their level of visibility in the organization. Essentially, anything that provides a benefit to the employee could be a viable option, as long as the person finds it valuable.
Are You Looking to Expand Your Team and Increase the Depth of Your Knowledge Pool?
At RealStreet, we aim to be dependable architecture, engineering and construction industry hiring experts throughout the recruitment and hiring process. We are dedicated to locating top talent for every company that partners with us, striving to put the “source” in human resources by providing reliable support and guidance. If you are in need of qualified professionals, experience the RealStreet difference first-hand today. Contact us to see how our comprehensive and adaptable services can assist you in locating your ideal candidates faster and more efficiently than ever before.