6 Methods of Sharing Information to Enhance Communication

Learn the simple steps that will ensure that information flows effectively around each department of your organization

December 4, 2023
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Making sure your employees have access to all the information they need to do their jobs effectively sounds simple... 

But if you’ve worked in people operations for long enough, you’ll know it’s a lot easier said than done.  

Read on for six methods for making sure information gets shared effectively around your business – and the steps you’ll need to take to bake them into your company culture.

Why is information sharing at work important?

Everyone knows sharing information across your business is important.

But you might be surprised by just how big of an impact research shows effective information sharing can have on your business – and your bottom line.

Here’s a whistlestop tour of just a few of the benefits knowledge sharing can bring to your organization:

Boost productivity

Did you know the average worker spends an incredible 20% of their working week searching for the information they need to complete their daily tasks?

That’s an entire working day each teammate wastes every week on just tracking down documents and chasing colleagues on blockers.

Stick to information sharing best practices and you’ll seriously cut that down.

Reduce turnover

People who work for businesses with higher employee turnover rates are 65% more likely to say that it’s "very difficult" or "nearly impossible" to "get the information needed to do [their] job well."

So, if you make it hard for your employees to get hold of the information they need to do their jobs then they might not stay your employees for long…

Which is why nurturing a knowledge sharing culture in your organization can have a huge impact on your turnover rates.

Foster collaboration 

86% of workers believe ineffective team collaboration and communication is the main cause of workplace failures.

And yet 36% of people find it difficult to exchange information across different departments within their organization.

Make sure it’s easy for each of your employees to access the information they need to do their job well and watch your projects start coming in on time and on budget a lot more often.

Future-proof your business

Research shows that 42% of the average organization’s institutional knowledge is unique to individual employees. That means every time a teammate decides to move on, vital knowledge is likely walking out the door with them.

Nurture a company culture that leads to your people proactively capturing their unique knowhow in your company knowledge sharing tools and you’ll have a business built to last.

Help your people get more done

Are meetings really the most effective way to communicate in the age of management information systems?

Most of your teammates certainly don’t think so, with research revealing that a massive 71% of workers think meetings are unproductive and inefficient. 

While there’s always going to be a time and a place for an in-person knowledge sharing session, it’s well worth asking whether every meeting on your teams’ calendar is strictly necessary.

That’s exactly what Shopify did earlier this year. The company canceled all meetings with more than two employees and all meetings scheduled for Wednesdays, freeing up over 322,000 staff hours – or an amazing 8,050 full-time work weeks.

Make information more available to your people through more effective information sharing methods and you could follow in Shopify’s footsteps.

See a huge ROI

All these productivity gains quickly add up. 

In fact, research shows that organizations of around 1,000 people could save $2.7 million every year by using an employee intranet to improve information sharing between their employees.

What are the methods of sharing information at work?

Today’s most efficient businesses use a combination of communication tools to share information as effectively as possible:

  • Email, which is what your people will do most of their external communication through.
  • Instant messaging and chat applications, which allow customers to get quick answers to their questions (helping make sure they stay customers for longer).
  • A company intranet that houses all your organization’s important information, making it easy for you people to find what they need to do their job.
  • Collaboration and document sharing tools like Google Docs and Sheets.
  • Video conferencing software like Zoom and Google Meet.
  • Project management platforms to make it track the progress of ongoing projects – and keep your people accountable for completing the tasks assigned to them.

Empower your people with the right information sharing tools for the job and they’re a lot more likely to collaborate with their teammates.

How do you facilitate information sharing?

Now you know the impact sharing information more effectively across your business can have and the tools today’s most effective businesses are using to capture their people’s knowledge.

But how do you encourage your people to share information with colleagues across different departments?

Here are a handful of research-backed strategies to help get you started:

Lead by example

Want your employees to share their hard-earned knowledge with their colleagues?

Studies have shown you’re going to lead by example.

If the higher-ups in your business are generous with their knowledge, your employees are likely to follow in their footsteps. But it will be a tough sell convincing your people to do as you say and not as you do if you don’t let their team in on the details of your company’s strategy.

Get the right information sharing tools

Convincing your employees to use a knowledge sharing platform that’s difficult to access, clumsy to navigate, and impossible to search is going to be an uphill struggle. 

Which is why effective knowledge sharing starts with arming your people with the best tools and techniques for the job. 

So, be sure to think carefully about what types of knowledge sharing your people will benefit from the most and pick a platform that makes those as easy as possible.

Strike the right balance

The organizations that successfully encourage their people to share their knowhow have mastered a balancing act.

On one hand, a disorganized knowledge base isn’t much use to anybody. On the other, studies have found that “transfer of knowledge is hindered by excessive formalization”.

If you want to foster knowledge-sharing for business growth, you need to learn how to strike the balance between setting overly rigid rules that discourage people from using your company wiki and being so hands-off that things become a disorganized mess.

It’s a tough nut to crack, but leading by example – and setting the right intranet knowledge sharing goals – will help.

As will…

Reward employees for sharing their knowledge

Did you know 40% of American workers say they'd put more effort in at work if they were recognized more often?

So, be sure to reward teammates for sharing information in your company intranet. This doesn’t mean throwing an award ceremony every time someone updates an internal document, either. 70% of people actually say motivation and morale would improve “massively” in their workplace if managers simply said “thank you” more often.

How can digital tools and technology be leveraged to enhance information sharing?

There are three main areas where the latest and greatest tools can help boost knowledge sharing across your business:

Knowledge management

Capturing all the information your people need to access to do their jobs in a knowledge base and internal wiki might not sound like much of a game changer. But you’d be surprised just how big of a productivity boost you’ll see from eliminating unnecessary back-and-forth between your teammates by sticking to the knowledge sharing best practices.

Communication and collaboration

You need to grab some data for a report that you know the Head of Accounting sent you last month. But was that over email or on Teams? Or was it in a company Slack channel? Or did you actually hear it in the last all-hands meeting?

Centralize your company communications through a company intranet and you’ll make this frustrating scenario a thing of the past for your people. They’ll be able to search your knowledge base and find whatever information they need in minutes.

Employee engagement

The right information sharing tools and techniques connect your employees across different departments and locations, helping them feel like much more of a team. This can do wonders for employee engagement across your company – which can boost productivity, reduce turnover, and ultimately improve your profits.

The final word

Stick to the steps we’ve outlined here to make sure information flows effectively around each department of your organization.

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