One of the key members of Tim’s project team was serving his notice period. It wasn’t a particularly relaxing period for Tim, to say the least. Apart from the taxing concern of replacing Ryan and bringing the new hire up to speed with all the knowledge about the project, he also needs to ensure that Ryan documents the key elements about his role, projects, task pipeline, and other information, and keeps it ready for knowledge transfer. As the notice period proceeds, Tim is increasingly uncertain about the knowledge transfer process. Will it be comprehensive and helpful, especially when Ryan now has no stake in the project success?

This is a common issue that even a high performing team witnesses. For a project team, this period becomes a huge burden on all the team members. While factoring in the replacement time, onboarding the new hire to the project, and making him billable at the earliest, it is the remaining team members who shoulder the burden of the vacant role. Consequently, it either results in employee burnout or client experience takes the dent.

How can Tim find another Ryan, is something that workforce analytics can help with. And how Tim can ensure that the new hire can become a billable resource in the shortest time span possible, can be seamlessly managed through efficient knowledge transfer and re-use.

As projects gain momentum and the delivery accelerates, teams gather knowledge on various aspects of the project. At various stages of the project, teams require a flexible and easy-to-use knowledge sharing mechanism that can be integrated with their ways of working – making it a part of their chat, online meetings, shared storage, and the entire universe of productivity tools that they use.

Transferring and sharing knowledge by embedding it into your productivity tools, systems, and workflows holds the key to –

  • Reducing the time spent on asking and answering questions
  • Breaking knowledge silos with easy-to-access best practices
  • Speeding up the time-to-proficiency and project readiness of new hires

Here are five features your knowledge sharing strategy must have to drive flexibility, agility, and efficiency:

1. Peer-to-peer knowledge sharing experiences

Knowledge sharing challenge: Valuable project-related information can get lost in the flood of peer-to-peer interactions. Those who want to reference the shared knowledge are unable to reference back or find relevant solutions on time, amidst the flood of conversations. On the other hand, valuable employee time is lost in answering the same questions over-and-over again. The challenge here is in creating peer-to-peer knowledge sharing experiences that can also quickly transition into team-wide learning experiences.

Roadmap to change: Your workflows and systems must ensure that as soon as any new information is added and documented, relevant team members are alerted on the same. They must be able to access the information easily as they work. The system must, therefore, make it very easy to preserve all the answers to make sure that once any information is shared, everyone knows where to find it. This way, your critical resources will be less occupied in answering queries from colleagues. It will free-up time for critical resources to do more billable tasks and spend more time on profitable outcomes.

2. Make shared knowledge from different teams easily accessible from one place

Knowledge sharing challenge: Project-based businesses tend to build separate teams that work in siloes. The knowledge held by one team is often not shared with others. It is also common to assign resources to new projects while they are on an unfinished task. When leaving a project, team members are often guilty of giving inadequate knowledge transfer. This leaves a gaping hole in the inter-team and intra-team knowledge transfer.

Roadmap to change: Create visibility and accessibility into the accumulated knowledge of different teams, and document and share it as the project progresses instead of shelving it for the last leg of the project. Also, make it easy for employees to find the shared knowledge repositories. By creating dedicated team-based channels that allow others to view important files, data, and best practices, it will eventually drive down the time spent on researching for solutions. This way you will reduce unnecessary iterations and ensure timely project delivery.

3. Bring knowledge sharing into employees’ daily workflows and productivity tools

Knowledge sharing challenge: Your employees rely on email, texting, instant messaging, social media, video and web conferencing, etc., as their preferred modes of communication. When your knowledge sharing mechanism does not integrate with the employees’ preferred modes of communication, it creates barriers. Any knowledge sharing activity is then perceived as an obstruction to productive work.

Roadmap to change: Your knowledge sharing mechanism needs to be employee friendly. When they are using a shared drive, Teams chat, Excel spreadsheet, project or analytical tool, CRM, etc., knowledge sharing must become a part of it. It must be capable of helping employees to naturally store all project-related data without deviating from their daily productive routine and tasks. This way, knowledge sharing will not come in the way of employee utilization and productivity.

4. Enable smooth knowledge handover and onboarding for new hires

Knowledge sharing challenge: Knowledge sharing from employees on notice period and transfer to new hires is a key challenge faced by project teams. Also, helping new hires to go through a smooth onboarding in today’s hybrid and remote working reality poses a significant obstacle. Not having a go-to colleague makes it even more difficult to find required learning paths, and new hires can get lost in the maze of different tools, emails, chat windows, conferences, shared files, and more.

Roadmap to change: Project team needs to ensure that new hires are not overwhelmed while searching for the required on-boarding documents. Your knowledge accessibility must ensure that the new hires get a self-service experience without requiring long in-person training sessions. While creating the whole experience, the focus must be on making it easy to look-up information, on an as-and-when required basis. It needs to be efficient to ensure that new hires become proficient and be utilized on billable tasks quickly.

5. Measure the impact of training-related content consumed by employees

Knowledge sharing challenge: You may create a ton of training content that is expected to be consumed by your employees. However, it is a challenge to see how they engage with your training material. The larger concern is measuring the impact of their training on project or business outcomes. You, therefore, want to assign a specific value to how employees’ training delivers impact. You want to measure how their learning and knowledge sharing impacts the success of concerned projects.

Roadmap to change: Your knowledge sharing systems must be able to track how employees consume training content and apply the learning. This ability is also referred to as an Object Key Result (OKR) tracking. It helps establish how a training module or shared knowledge is being used by the employee – this includes measuring its impact on performance outcomes, utilization in projects, and in interactions with clients and internal stakeholders. An ideal system would not only show you the time employees spend on consuming training content but also provide insights on how it impacts their performance and tracks the impact it had on their delivery and client satisfaction.

Conclusion

Overall, an effective knowledge sharing system must play a key role in helping employees access the right knowledge without getting distracted or wasting time. Smooth knowledge transfer can happen only when an employee does not need to move away from the productivity tools that they use on a daily basis.

A good knowledge management platform must help you to leverage the collective learning memory of your organization and empower you to create different knowledge access modules for different employee needs.

Make it easy to create, share and re-use project knowledge and foster collaboration within teams.

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