When I first joined the SaaS world, I met with some of my teammates across the go-to-market (GTM) organization to learn more about the ins and outs of their roles and our company. Some of them had been with the organization for years while others had joined just a few months before me. Regardless of their tenure, they all possessed a wealth of knowledge that they were happy to share. And, had I not taken the time to have these one-to-one conversations, I might not have learned so many helpful bits of information.
When we hear the word ‘knowledge,’ in the business world, we often think of structured information that’s featured in company manuals, sales playbooks, and guides. But, just as my own personal experience has shown, there’s much more to it.
What is tacit knowledge?
Tacit knowledge refers to any information and skills that are gained through personal and professional experiences. Tacit knowledge is different from explicit knowledge which is often shared through instructional manuals, guides, and how-to docs. As a result, it’s more difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t learned it themselves through similar experiences. However, both types of organizational knowledge are important for business growth and success.
An example of tacit knowledge is when a sales leader asks sellers to share their top three sales strategies. Each seller can easily share the tactics that they consider to be second nature. However, these strategies were shaped and influenced by their own first-hand experiences over the course of their careers. These strategies may also be useful to share with other sellers across the team in order to improve productivity and performance. In fact, studies show that the average new hire spends nearly 200 hours working inefficiently because they have to learn information for themselves. But, by learning directly from colleagues’ experiences, they’ll get up to speed faster.
So, if organizations want to drive continued growth and innovation, they need to harness and share tacit knowledge across their teams. Thankfully, we have three ways that every organization can capture tacit knowledge before it’s too late. Let’s learn more.
Never stop growing.
1. Encourage a knowledge-sharing culture
The best way to capture tacit knowledge is to encourage employees to share what they know rather than keep it to themselves. This should be a foundational aspect of your organization’s culture. But for this type of culture to be successful, employees need to be willing to share useful information that would be beneficial to the entire team.
A culture of knowledge-sharing prioritizes teamwork, so look for ways to encourage collaboration and communication. Working closely with each other will give your employees the opportunity to see how valuable their knowledge can be. This, in turn, may encourage other employees to share their knowledge with others.
2. Deliver hands-on learning
Tacit knowledge is often difficult to experience through words alone. Since tacit knowledge includes both information and skills, organizations can enhance tacit knowledge transfer through hands-on training and coaching. This can be done in a variety of ways based on your organization’s goals and training efforts.
The easiest way to capture and share tacit knowledge is by encouraging employees to shadow or observe other teammates during a specific task. For example, pair a new seller with a veteran rep and have them sit in on a number of prospect demos. This will give them first-hand experience with helpful skills or tactics they can use. Organizations can also create training lessons that include recordings or videos of similar experiences. Once a seller completes training, they can practice applying the knowledge in mock sales calls.
3. Make it easy to share
While tacit knowledge is essential for organizations, it’s useless if it’s difficult for employees to share and access over time. Many teams rely on weekly one-on-ones, roundtable discussions, or town hall meetings that encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing. These are great opportunities for in-the-moment knowledge sharing, but they don’t provide employees with easy ongoing access to the knowledge that they learned.
In order to effectively capture the tacit knowledge that lives with your employees, organizations need to leverage tools and systems that store and organize information. A knowledge management system enables employees to create, share, and find relevant information quickly and efficiently when it’s best for them instead of waiting for scheduled meetings. They also give employees the ability to submit tacit information which can be reviewed for relevance and accuracy by team leaders. Once it’s reviewed, they can make that information accessible to the rest of the team, making the entire process easy and effective.
Capturing tacit knowledge has never been easier
If you’re ready to capture and share important tacit knowledge, Seismic Knowledge could be for you. With Seismic Knowledge, employees can quickly share and access helpful tacit knowledge right when they need it. To learn more about the benefits of tacit knowledge sharing and read more about our newest product, click here. Or, get a demo, and we’ll show you Seismic in action.