In the past, the workplace was composed of a physical office space with employees working face-to-face and through email during fixed hours between 9am to 5pm. Modern work environments stand in contrast with the former and connect employees working across multiple locations, hours and devices and willing to share their expertise, passions and interests.
As these diversified workplaces emerge, there is a rising need for a collaborative and digitally connected work environment that facilitates knowledge sharing and retention. Multinational corporations face a major obstacle regarding knowledge flow within the organization: changing employee behavior and encouraging adoption despite geographical as well as cultural differences. PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) admitted that their internal adoption rate for content-based knowledge management despite being “high compared to industry standards, is roughly 14%” . Adoption cannot be forced upon employees by requiring them to change the tools they use on a daily basis or imposing weekly training sessions to understand another complicated platform but much rather must be encouraged by providing short-term benefits and improving their productivity in such a way that this changed behavior will take place intrinsically and voluntarily.
The most foundational step in this direction is creating a work environment of what Amy Edmondson in 1999 called “psychological safety”. It relates to structural requirements such as awareness as well as accessibility of necessary information but also inter-personal relationships with the objective of producing a high-performing workforce. Elqano encourages interpersonal risk-taking by incorporating social and learning aspects to its knowledge management platform, so that workers have an outlook for expression. Using social aspects allows employees to share their ideas, opinions and get to know one another despite being in different teams and countries. This means that everybody, from the most senior to the most junior employees can add their expertise and talent into the knowledge pool, thus giving rise to a collective intelligence within the organization. A study by the McKinsey Global Institute found that productivity levels rose by as much as 20-25% among workers who use online social tools to collaborate.
Elqano contrasts to the outdated, centralized one-way communication by connecting users to each other instead of leading them to an information repository. The more interactions take place among employees the more opportunities for knowledge to flow between parties will occur as effective collaboration breaks down possible barriers in communication.
Elqano incorporates the two must-have social media functionalities for the purpose of knowledge sharing within companies identified by Ann Majchrzak. The first one is metavoicing which gives name to the ability of users to give their opinions directly on contributions and in doing so framing the content in context. By enabling in its interface actions such as comments, likes, shares and upvotes, Elqano sets the agenda for greater openness and trust between managers and their teams and promotes a more entrepreneurial, forward-looking business culture. Given that the whole organization participates, trends in products and challenges will be identified while mistakes or weaknesses will be unveiled.
The second relates to triggered attending which is the ability to stay disengaged from a topic until a new contribution of interest has been made. This lifts the burden of having to regularly follow up on all important projects to see whether any relevant change have been made. Not only will Elqano anticipate and push the information that each employee is more likely to need in the future but also allows each employee to follow other employee’s contributions and the development of a particular topic. In this way, relevant parties comprehend how and why decisions have been made and serves to keep the organization working towards a defined set of goals.
Key motivational factors such as employee’ awareness of his/her contributions to the company’s success and an increasing reputation through the sharing of his/her expertise ensures a high adoption rate and a continually use of Elqano. Elqano only pushes high quality user generated and up-to-date content though its interface. This is the most crucial and convincing criterion for users to continuously access our smart knowledge management platform whereas plain orders and traditional document management systems will have a negative effect and repel workers from the platform.