4 Reasons Why Your Employees Aren’t Sharing Their Knowledge

Written By Anna Sullins


Employee Engagement

Think about all the people who work for your company—their different skillsets and personalities, backgrounds and experience levels. How much must each employee know? And how powerful would it be if they exchanged information—if your company had a healthy culture of knowledge sharing?

Aside from boosting individual creativity, innovation and performance, knowledge sharing leads to more successful organizations as a whole—which is why companies big and small want their employees to share what they know. But for some, simply encouraging knowledge sharing doesn’t yield much fruit. And below, we’ve outlined a few reasons why employees might not be participating.

1. They don’t know how.

Maybe you’ve addressed knowledge sharing with the company, but employees haven’t exactly hit the ground running. Ask yourself, did I explain how knowledge sharing works? If not, consider circulating a simple guide for employees to follow. Do you have a database set up where employees should send content for knowledge sharing purposes? Do you recommend employees stick to documenting what they’ve learned or shared? Let them know.

2. They think knowledge hoarding makes them indispensable.

When employees withhold information that might benefit others, it’s called knowledge hoarding. And more often than not, employees do this as a way to secure their jobs—e.g., “if I’m the only one who knows how to do this important task, I’m safe.” But in reality, knowledge hoarding hurts the entire company, and promotes a culture of hostility. If you notice an employee going out of their way to keep information to themselves, talk with them—and relieve their fears. If they share what they know, it doesn’t make them any less valuable. In fact, it makes them more valuable.

3. They don’t see it as part of their job.

Sometimes, employees aren’t sharing much because they don’t see it as part of their job. Maybe they’re focused on their “designated” tasks and consider knowledge sharing something additional to do if they happen to have extra time. Try incentivizing knowledge sharing by setting a monthly quota for each employee to meet.

4. They feel too much pressure.

For some, the pressure to perform can often feel overwhelming. They think their ideas aren’t good enough, or their experience isn’t strong enough to warrant knowledge sharing. As a result? They keep quiet, withholding information—which is why it’s crucial for leadership to consistently communicate one thing: every person has something valuable to share.

There’s no doubt about it, knowledge sharing is essential to the success of nearly every organization—but effective knowledge sharing is hard to implement if your employees aren’t on board.

If you’re ready to create a culture where employees are engaged and eager to talk about their work with others, attend our Culture of Engagement workshop and develop a plan of action tailored to your organization.