How you and your colleagues become shareholders in knowledge

E-Learning Trends Annika Willers · 2 years ago

Keeping knowledge to oneself gradually becomes replaced by a more open information exchange. But a cultural shift from “keeping” to “distributing” knowledge cannot exist without supporting software. Online training software can empower a new ownership in learning.

with shared knowledge to company succes Employees surpass the role of just filling a vacancy: companies implement ownership programs and shared knowledge to become the winning team

Many managers are still reluctant to share power and knowledge. However, by holding back information from employees, they put motivation and competitiveness at risk. From leading organizations we know two strategies – ownership programs and corporate learning – allowing employees to become shareholders of organizational processes and empowered for proficient decision-making.

How to establish a sharing culture

Ownership programs give employees the opportunity to be official company shareholders: by owning a share of the capital and having voting rights, an employee surpasses the role of just filling a vacancy. He actively takes part in decision-making, strives for company success for his own benefit and feels an intrinsic bond with his organization. The company benefits from this new sense of unity and belonging; it is with good reason that certain companies currently offer this plan to 15,000 employees.

Related to that is the company’s second strategy: corporate learning in a sense of company-wide training and updating on different topics and developments. Becoming a “shareholder in knowledge” motivates and empowers employees for qualified decision-making. But just as in formal ownership programs, the management must be prepared to let go of a certain amount of power and influence.

The benefits are at hand: a qualified employee who can handle situations independently and sees his need for self-directed working fulfilled. It also enables the boss to leave smaller decisions to his staff and concentrate on strategic thoughts. Keeping this philosophy in mind, we move on to the mechanisms of sharing knowledge. How do we train employees for qualified decision-making? How do we make sure that knowledge does not get lost and people from different parts of the organization are all on the same page?

Connecting departments & partners efficiently

With participants located around the globe, knowledge exchange becomes a challenge. Along with different locations come different languages, times, schedules and needs. On-demand software such as an online training platform is a convenient alternative or supplement to meetings and conferences. Accessing information at a suitable time results in less disturbance with work processes and better recollection.

Participants also feel empowered as they are able to choose their own time, location, device and pace. A disadvantage is a loss of personal contact, however, this can easily be compensated by social functions in the platform. After all, learning is a social process, even if it is done online! Connecting and empowerment are especially important for younger generations, who strive for meaningful jobs, empowerment (e.g. by being involved in decision-making) and team work, often more than for personal success.

Online training with social features fulfils this need by shifting the focus from individual learning – which can be done by classical e-learning approaches – to collaborative learning throughout the organization. Collaboration in learning is best supported by:

  • comments and discussion among participants and trainers
  • individual questions and feedback between participant and trainer
  • course feedback resulting in improved and updated training
  • participant uploads (additional documents, ideas, sketches)

What’s different in this approach? Unlike in top-down information processes or individual (external) qualification trainings, the company is in a constant knowledge exchange with each other. The focus shifts from short-term certification to a continuous approach, making the company more competitive and satisfies those who are involved with the process.

Software should be means, not purpose

Many companies are reluctant to set up courses themselves. Not knowing if they are able to handle the software, they keep the old processes of individual training and workshops, even though a software-supported combination of upskilling and company-wide knowledge exchange might be more efficient. Nowadays, there are solutions for easy course creation and management, which everyone can handle, whether they are assistants, experienced trainers or time-pressed managers. We have seen this before: people without professional a background becoming film-makers or website builders. In the same way, anyone can be a trainer and share their knowledge right away.

In a nutshell, software cannot spare employees from reading and understanding, creating and maintaining courses and managing all users in course. It can, however, make many employees’ lives easier through 3 important factors:

  1. Connecting everyone involved
    Employees or partners access trainings via their browser, no-one is excluded by a limited number of participants or lack of installed software or skills. The only prerequisite is a device with Wi-Fi connection. An additional benefit: different languages can be served for partners and colleagues in subsidiaries abroad.
  2. Transporting information quickly
    Delay between updates and distributing information can be avoided by updating existing trainings. Trainers in a course can update the content, add new steps or modules or attach more documents. With every log in or refreshment the newest version of the course is displayed.
  3. Sustaining knowledge circles
    Offer regular training with new courses and modules. In a constantly updated learning environment, participants know where to find information when they need it. This also makes them check their knowledge levels regularly.

Software-as-a-Service solutions best support this approach, as they are accessible on-demand on any device. It is free of installation but hosted externally. This means that the hosting party should be chosen carefully so that content is secured at all times. On the other hand, Software-as-a-Service gives companies a lot of flexibility; as they do not have to choose status-quo software, but receive access to technology that is constantly developed.

Did you know? Coursepath offers free Webinars about software supported knowledge exchange.

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