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Breaking Knowledge Silos with Knowledge Management

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Breaking Knowledge Silos with Knowledge Management

Mar 21, 2023   |  By
KMI Guest Blogger Ekta Sachania

Innovation is a buzzword for organizations striving to be the best in the highly competitive world today. How do we use the collective brains of an organization to innovate?

The easy and the simplest answer is to break the knowledge silos that most organizations struggle with, more so with flexible and WFH culture becoming a part of the corporate world. And the fact of the matter is that Hybrid and WFH culture is here to stay so the organizations that fail to come up with ways to break these silos now should be ready to face even bigger and harder-to-solve challenges in the future in terms of knowledge loss and ability to maintain their competitive edge.

Overcoming knowledge silos requires concerted action to create a culture of collaboration, knowledge sharing, and openness within an organization.

So, what are knowledge silos? 

It is the long prevalent culture where knowledge and information from a team member or a team stay within the team with no protocols in place to take it to the whole organization.

The lack of knowledge management protocols and processes to ensure the distribution of knowledge across teams and countries costs an organization lot in terms of money with the amount of time spent in research and repurposing the knowledge, tools, and processes already available within your organization.

The result is redundant work, loss of time and productivity which would have otherwise been utilized for innovation, taking care of other key priorities, and opportunities for improving customer experience.

Why Knowledge Silos Occur:

The knowledge silos occur mostly because of a missing system to seamlessly integrate and distribute knowledge across the teams and organization.

Another critical reason for knowledge silos is the failure of the leadership to communicate the organization’s vision clearly to the organization. It trickles down to the employees who fail to embrace the knowledge-sharing culture and veer off in different directions blocking the road to innovation that comes when people from different backgrounds and skills bring together their brains.

The absence of seamless integration between departments might end up impacting the company’s credibility. For example, in the absence of a knowledge management system, the sales team might end up approaching a customer for selling a product or a service that is already used by the customer, due to a lack of sufficient documentation in place.

It also might be the case, that a sales proposal for a particular service is already in place as designed by another team, however, has to be recreated from scratch due to a lack of visibility of the available assets.

How to Break the Knowledge Silos:

Overcoming knowledge silos requires concerted action to create a culture of collaboration, knowledge sharing, and openness within an organization.

Integrate knowledge management (KM) in your organizational goals: The key is to have knowledge management, not as an individual entity but embedded into the organization’s culture and individual employees’ day-to-day work.

Embrace the collaboration culture: When you collaborate, you share and learn, this is the basis of sharing knowledge and breaking silos. Research proves that companies that actively collaborate definitely lead the competitive race.  Create opportunities for team members to interact and collaborate regularly.

Recognize and reward collaboration: The next step is to recognize and reward employees who are committed to collaboration and knowledge sharing. This can include bonuses, promotions, and other incentives that encourage collaboration and break down silos.

Promote a culture of learning: foster a culture of continuous learning and development by providing opportunities for employees to learn new skills, attend workshops and participate in training programs. This helps break down silos by allowing employees to understand other areas of the organization and how they contribute to the overall mission.

Promote cross-functional teams: Encourage cross-functional teams where employees from different departments work together on projects. This not only fosters collaboration but also helps employees develop a broader understanding of the company’s goals.

Having a KM lead culture is a sure-shot way to ensure the seamless communication of data, information as well as customer experience. When the whole organization is on the same page when it comes to sharing knowledge, experiences, and insights, the outcome is bound to be an exceptionally innovative and motivated workforce and delivery of high-quality customer experiences.

Ekta Sachania has nearly 15 years of experience in learning and talent development disciplines, including knowledge management content management, and learning & collaboration with expertise in content harvesting, practice enablement, metrics analysis, site management, collaboration activities, communications strategy and market trends analysis. Demonstrated success in managing multiple stakeholder expectations across time zones and exhibiting good project management skills, by successfully developing and deploying projects for large audiences.  Ability to adapt and work in emerging areas with fast-shifting priorities.  Connect with Ekta at LinkedIn...

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