Modern Training

Curated Insights: Why knowledge sharing at work is a good thing

Posted on: May 13, 2016Updated on: June 19, 2023By: JD Dillon, Chief Learning Architect

Knowledge sharing has always been an important part of the workplace. Historically, organizations have relied heavily on tenured employees and legally required documentation to help people do their jobs. However, as organizations continue to go global and roles become more and more complex, this dated approach just doesn’t work anymore. The best information remains locked away in the minds of your top performers, only to walk out the door when they leave the company. If this sounds familiar, it’s time for your organization to explore best practices and implement technology that will put the knowledge employees need at their fingertips.


Here are my curated insights on knowledge sharing for May 2016:

5 reasons your employees aren’t sharing their knowledge from JD Dillon

Shameless self promotion! I wrote this post for my Just Curious Learning Blog to address the “if we build it they will come” mentality many organizations have with regard to employee knowledge sharing. Companies are riddled with empty enterprise social networks and poorly trafficked intranets, but they can’t figure out why. Well, this post explains why—based on my practical experience and several years exploring the concept of workplace knowledge sharing. My most important point: knowledge sharing is more about culture than technology.

I will continue to explore knowledge sharing themes via various channels, including the Axonify Knowledge Blog, my personal blog and future conference sessions. The introduction of the Axonify DiscoveryZone will give me a chance to get even more tactical in my discussions and show how the right approach to knowledge sharing, plus right-fit technology, can really make a difference for employees in their moments of need.

The six key skills of learning curation from Carole Bower

Curation isn’t just about collecting content you like and sharing it back out with your network. To do it right, a curator needs both a well-defined process and commensurate skill to make sure the content they share has value to the audience.

Several models for curation have been discussed during the past several years. In this post, Carole breaks down her 6 core skills for effective curation. I’d like to call out the importance of “synthesise,” or, as Carole puts it, pulling “all the bits together and to join up the dots to paint a bigger picture.” Most people are savvy enough to find disparate content on the internet on their own nowadays, but a skilled curator can help them establish new meaning by strategically putting pieces together and shining a light on previously unrelated information.

There is a never-ending sea of content out there – whether it be on the internet or in your workplace repositories. A great curator can bring order to the chaos and help you find the right information to help learn and solve problems effectively. Hopefully, you see my monthly blog posts as a great example of the curation skills Carole presents in her article!

How internal blogging with Confluence created a culture of knowledge sharing at APT from Dave Pacifico

Here’s a great practical example of the benefits of workplace knowledge sharing. Dave’s organization was growing quickly and realized they had to do a better job keeping everyone updated and informed. Rather than craft a big complicated strategy, the company picked a familiar medium—a simple blog—and gave it a try. I like the organic approach. Rather than dictate how the blog should be used, the company let employees figure it how the platform could be most useful based on their needs.

I applied a very similar (and successful) approach to enterprise knowledge sharing while with Kaplan. I actually wrote the company’s only internal blog for several years. It was enlightening to see how often my “work out loud” posts from months prior would transform into reference articles as my ideas were adopted.

Dave goes on to share some great steps for getting started with internal blogging, but these ideas can also be applied with other knowledge sharing strategies. If anyone ever questions the value of spending time and effort on sharing your knowledge at work, point them to this article!

Learning Insights, naturally from Cammy Bean

My last curated entry is a short story from my industry peer and accidental instructional designer Cammy Bean. Cammy tells the tale of how her husband used online resources to fix their air conditioner without the need for formal training. She relates this experience to the inability of employees to solve their own problems on the job due to the lack of shared knowledge. I often use a similar example about broken kitchen pipes when I discuss the value of shared knowledge.

Too many companies try to control their employees’ learning experiences, and their reasons just don’t make any sense to me. Meanwhile, in many cases, all employees need are workplace versions of Google, YouTube and Wikipedia so they can apply their natural problem solving behaviors between 9am and 5pm (Monday – Friday).

I particularly enjoy Cammy’s reference to “natural learning environments” as a way to put knowledge sharing into an enterprise L&D context. Oh … and plus 10 points for the Willy Wonka reference!

That’s a wrap for this month’s sharing on knowledge sharing! Keep an eye on the Axonify KnowlEDGE blog in June for my next collection of articles on a major theme from the world of workplace learning.

JD Dillon, Chief Learning Architect

JD Dillon became an expert on frontline training and enablement over two decades working in operations and talent development with dynamic organizations, including Disney, Kaplan and AMC. A respected author and speaker in the workplace learning community, JD also continues to apply his passion for helping frontline employees around the world do their best work every day in his role as Axonify's Chief Learning Architect.