Finding a way to not only compete, but establish sustainable competitive advantage is one of the biggest challenges business leaders face in today’s global marketplace.
It’s become harder to create a product or service that’s truly unique in the market, considering most markets are now on a worldwide scale and rapidly evolving technologies. And even with the best of products, it’s typically not long before a competitor launches something similar.
You know what is really hard to duplicate, though? Culture. A strong company culture not only shines through in marketing communications (Zappos is a great example) but an employee-centric one can catapult you above and beyond your competitors. Why? People want to work for companies like that. You’ll attract and retain better talent. Today’s employees have a long list of expectations for potential employers, and support, advancement opportunities and professional development fill some of the top slots.
What is a Knowledge Culture?
A company culture that fosters professional development and growth in employees can also be thought of as a knowledge culture, and it’s something very few companies do especially well or invest in.
Organizations with a strong knowledge culture are easy to spot. Leadership believes in ongoing coaching to help employees develop into valuable team members and future leaders. Support for continuous learning is strong, whether through internally-created training programs or external continuing education or certifications. Employees get better at their job with each passing year and are engaged in their professional development.
Why is a Knowledge Culture Important for Today's Organizations?
Simply put, organizations that make knowledge freely accessible to their team members simply produce more, spend less and achieve far superior results, and the reasons go beyond smarter employees. You send a message both inside and outside the organization about how employees are treated. Here are a few reasons to consider:
- Employees feel valued. Opportunities for growth and development are one of the things employees want most in a job today.
- Lower costs associated with errors and inefficient training brings increased profitability.
- Greater sales success and increased revenue.
- Decreased turnover, as your skilled employees are less likely to suspect greener pastures lie elsewhere.
- Use the emphasis on employee development as a recruiting tool to attract and retain better talent.
- Knowledgeable employees feel empowered, so they take care of things on their own while taking fewer guesses, making fewer mistakes and taking less of time.
How Can You Create a Culture of Knowledge at Your Organization?
To start creating an environment where knowledge is easily accessible and can be easily linked to work processes, you’ll need a few things:
- Abstract knowledge translated into concrete “how-to” content that is specific to individual job functions.
- Collaboration among peers and colleagues.
- An understanding that training and learning are different. Training is finite; learning is ongoing.
- A consistent approach to team member accountability.
- Most importantly - a solid commitment to make the necessary changes from those with the power to impact success.
If you're interested, check out ExpandShare's eLearning Services to see how your program can be an epic success.