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We are a small company, with projects requiring 1 to ~5 coworkers at a time, that are nearly never in our own offices. In short, we are highly distributed and have very rare chances to spread knowledge internally.

Now we want to change that and achieve some progress in knowledge management, firstly by using our centralised wiki, using internal articles, reports and themed topics related to the fundamentals of our work, that should be written and reviewed by our coworkers.

The wiki has been there for a long time already. It does not look very nice and usabilty could be far better, but it is usable. As it was an expensive piece of software there is currently no chance to replace it with another.

The point of this question is, how can we motivate our coworkers to contribute to the wiki? What kind of incentives (other than money) can be practical?

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  • You can hold an online knowledge sharing session,in each session a team member will present a topic in his/her areas of expertise and then s/he uploads it to the wiki then the other team members share their feedback on the wiki page.

  • If the time difference will make it hard to meet online then, the team can agree on reading an article or watch a video on a specific topic (e.g.flat design), then share their thoughts in the same post (shouldn't be long)

  • At first, you may want to make knowledge sharing time from the official working hours to emphasis the importance of it.

  • Generally they need to see the value of their contribution to be excited about the idea of knowledge sharing, for example if a team member posted an article it would be great to hold a meeting with the team,even for 30 mins to give their feedback and share their thoughts :)

Once the team members feel that they have an audience that is looking forward for what they'll share, they will be more interested in researching and sharing their knowledge.

Hope this helps!

  • Great thoughts. Of course their contribution will be seen as part of their working time. Additionally, the mention that the contributions should start beeing rather short is a good thing. It should help getting acceptance for it. – Oliver Friedrich Jul 7 '14 at 13:01
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Two of my experiences:

  • Re-build the wiki page. If it is not easy and intuitive to use then no-one will want to use it.
  • As mentioned above the sharing knowledge sessions work. Let the people to choose a topic, don't limit them to just technical topics. Invite speakers from outside of your company, get them interested.
  • Resource hours dedicated just to updating your wiki.
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In addition to Yassmeen's answer just want to add that you need an enthusiastic person who'll keep this knowledge sharing alive, by personal example and/or motivating others. From my experience everybody has something to share, I just need to come to him/her and ask to make a presentation on a specific topic I know the person is experienced in.

Also don't limit your people to wiki, especially if it doesn't work out. Ask some people to share their knowledge in a format they prefer, and later you'll be able to come up with "one size that fits all".

Good luck!

  • Very good point. I believe the knowledge transfer startet once in that wiki, but then just faded out. Well, it seems to get my part to keep things alive this time. – Oliver Friedrich Jul 11 '14 at 18:27
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Following are some few creative ways I have seen my current organisation handle this challenge

  1. Tech Talks: Tech talks area good way of improving visibility to those who are delivering the content and you receive feedback immediately which can be more rewarding. Chances are you'll find more members willing to 'talk' about a topic other than 'writing' about it.
  2. Events : Create small in-house events around these tech talks (with invitations, get some one to take photos are add to wiki & write about the event). Make this news available in your company web site & mention during your social media activity (Again this is great visibility to those contributing & will motivate them)
  3. Fix your wiki: As Jacub has also mentioned, if you want the wiki to be part of your knowledge sharing process you'll need to find a way to make it user friendly by contacting the vendor. If it's really bad get rid of it all together.
  4. Publish great articles :Treat the internal wiki as an initial collection and if you find and exceptionally good articles you could always publish in the company blog(if you have one already). Please make sure the contributor get the recognition as well.

You shouldn't only focus on writing articles to accelerate the knowledge transfer since different people accumulate knowledge in different ways.

Hope this helps..

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