Companies are made up of smart people who are brimming with expert knowledge. Yet, when it comes to searching for information, we often don’t turn to the amazing resources that are at our fingertips everyday: our coworkers. As Gartner explains in two articles on managing expertise, there are a few challenges that prevent organizations from taking full advantage of their employee knowledge-base.
First, it is difficult to simplify a career’s worth of information into easily understandable pieces. Second, many employees feel that if they assemble their knowledge in an external way, then their jobs might be in jeopardy because they would no longer be the source of valuable information. Third, employees do not always promote their skills and expertise effectively, so no one knows to go to them for help. All of these points result in under-use of expert company knowledge.
The solution, according to Gartner, is to place value on the employee rather than on the knowledge itself. People like feeling essential and receiving credit where credit is due. Employees are more likely to share information if they feel that their time, energy, and knowledge are needed and appreciated.
Knowledge management systems like Senexx SolvePath put this solution into action. For starters, SolvePath sends questions directly to experts. This allows employees to share knowledge with their coworkers in easy-to-digest quantities on an as-needed basis, and also ensures that the experts are always an essential part of the knowledge sharing process. Question-askers on SolvePath can also accept and rank answers, thereby growing the experts’ reputations and recognizing them for their help. Furthermore, SolvePath learns about employees and their skills through their LinkedIn profiles, as well as through the information that they share on SolvePath, so employees don’t need to worry about whether or not they are effectively promoting their skills themselves.
In order to overcome the challenges of leveraging employee expertise, we must have knowledge sharing systems that place experts at the center. If we want to fully take advantage of the knowledge that they hold, we must value employees as vital resources and treat them as such.