Company culture isn’t just an HR buzzword anymore – it’s one of the most important parts of running a successful business.
Originally hitting the headlines only a few years ago, organizational culture has captured the hearts and minds of business leaders on a global scale.
Today, this concept is changing the way we think about everything from productivity to workplace efficiency.
While there are many different definitions of company culture to explore, the most important thing to remember is that there is more to this idea than fruit bowls in the business kitchen or a pool table in the break room.
A great organizational culture is the attitude or vision that sets the foundation for real business growth.
Used correctly, culture helps each employee to feel like a real part of the company and encourage productive conversations about long-term growth.
In some cases, the right organizational culture can also support the sharing of critical knowledge. Here, we’re going to explore the connection between culture and knowledge sharing.
How Knowledge Sharing is Affected by Culture
Company culture is directly correlated to employee engagement, happiness, and retention.
If the people in your workforce feel comfortable in their professional environment, then they’re more likely to want to stick around.
Organizational culture can also help support a thriving business in a number of ways.
For instance, as HR leaders continue to push businesses to think more carefully about their culture, they’re also prompting them to ask the right questions about how their business can change.
According to a study by the University of Wales and the University of Technology in Queensland, when companies begin to explore ways of improving their company culture, they notice gaps or “silos” in their workforce that damage effective knowledge sharing.
Knowledge sharing refers to the ability to easily share information for the good of an organization.
When the same information is available to everyone in a business, without any gaps or silos, it’s easier to make informed decisions about the future.
When re-working your company culture, it’s possible to focus on building a culture around knowledge sharing, where everyone feels comfortable and free sharing ideas and communicating with each other.
For instance, in a knowledge-sharing culture:
- Ideas are celebrated rather than judged or mocked: Many employees often feel nervous speaking out about ideas they have for business growth because they’re scared of the reaction they’ll get from team members.
The right organizational culture to support knowledge sharing will reward out-of-the-box thinking and idea-sharing.
- Conversations are easy to have: Companies with a knowledge-sharing culture support easy communication and collaboration through open-door policies, instant messaging, and regular meetings – even with remote and mobile workers.
- Everyone has a voice: No matter who you are in the company, a business with a knowledge-sharing culture will respect everyone’s input.
Embedding a Knowledge-Sharing Culture Starts from Day One
An organization with an effective knowledge sharing culture learns from its mistakes and grows over time.
Because everyone is on the same page, sharing the same experiences and insights, it’s much easier to accelerate towards informed and valuable decision-making practices.
At the same time, because people in a business with a strong knowledge-sharing culture feel appreciated and respected, they’re more likely to feel engaged by their jobs.
In an age where only 33% of people are connected to their careers on an emotional level, any strategy to boost engagement is critical.
Importantly, however, businesses need to be committed to boosting employee engagement from day one, as soon as they begin to onboard new team members.
New hires in any environment can spend weeks, or even months feeling too nervous to contribute to the business community or share their ideas.
This could mean that companies end up losing out on valuable insights.
With an introduction to a company culture that starts in the onboarding process, businesses can make it easier for hires to find their feet.
For instance, business leaders could:
- Provide each new employee with a mentor to guide them through how the business environment works and what they need to do to get up to date.
- Offer job shadowing support: Choose another team member that exemplifies the knowledge sharing culture that you want to create and let the new hire shadow them for a while as they work. Sometimes new employees are slow and need help even with things like their workstations.
- Ask for feedback: Following up with new hires after they’ve spent a while on the job is an excellent way to gather information about how the onboarding process can be improved, and how you can build a stronger culture.
Organizational Culture is Key to Knowledge Sharing Success
Creating a successful environment for knowledge sharing in today’s ever-evolving workplace depends on your ability to build the right culture for your organization.
An open cycle of communication is essential to help ideas flow freely throughout the company.
The right culture destroys the knowledge silos that exist within departments and teams and eliminates the barriers that stop a company from growing.
However, organizations need to provide their employees with the tools they need to thrive in this new environment.
The right investment needs to be made into the technology that can make knowledge sharing simpler, like collaboration and communication tools.
At the same time, business leaders need to invest in the right training and onboarding processes to welcome new hires into the team.
The good news?
If you’re willing to work on your culture, then your business will benefit from an infinite pool of knowledge to help drive growth.