Knowledge Sharing-Challenging role of HR


Knowledge is gained through experience, other sources like books and people.  Whatever we learnt is not private.   Knowledge may have gained/faced by anyone, someone in the world. Even our own experience basics are shared by others like mother, guardian and others too.

Knowledge can be divided into two groups – Explicit, Tacit.   Explicit is typically visible and definable.  Tacit is within individuals and not easily transferrable. Knowledge Management is just focusing on information making tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge which paves way for making quick decisions.

Usually conversation among the employees is considered as chit-chat, gossip like.  When it is fine tuned by the HR, the discussion can be converted to positive sharing of knowledge.  i.e., transferring tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge. Many organizations are unaware and do not pool investment in developing Knowledge Management system. HR should create environment of sharing culture by providing quality construction of knowledge network by getting right information, at the right time by the right people.

How Organization reaps the fruits through Knowledge sharing culture?

  • Sharing of knowledge gives innovative ideas;
  • It saves time
  • Maximizes profit
  • Save organization from critical capabilities
  • Develop right source at right time
  • Survival through creative ideas.

Why people do not share/ Challenges for HR

Knowledge accessibility leads primarily to cost reduction, if not accessible, need to source expertise and to spend for research too.  It’s very difficult to motivate the people in sharing knowledge.  The reasons are reluctance in sharing, fear of losing monopoly. Some may perceive as it’s not worth listening, its time consuming etc., It is unable to suggest solution by empathizing their issues. Besides, in this competitive market, people who have knowledge can hold their peers and they can avail the privileges and reward, awards which makes them to hoard the knowledge. (Do not want to open the trade secrets). On other side, the receiver may be heavy headed in seeking advice from the expert. It has to be understood that solutions may vary from situation to situation and also, shared knowledge will be considered depending on the person who shares the knowledge. The above said are the critical challenges of the HR which has to be overcome by the HR.

Role of HR in Knowledge sharing culture

HR plays vital role in developing Knowledge Management system.  HR can get pooled employee experience.  It’s in the hands of HR to make the tacit knowledge into visible one.

Steps involved in Knowledge sharing process:

  • Identification of skill
  • Refinement of skill
  • Recognition of skilled person, who shares knowledge
  • Budget allocation for Knowledge Management system
  • Organize Knowledge Management system
  • Communication of value of sharing
  • Reinforcement for Knowledge Management

To ensure the above process, 2008, SHRM survey, indicates that HR can promote effective Knowledge Management by focusing on four tasks

  1. Identifying behaviors needed for knowledge based competition
  2. Ensuring the workforce as the required competencies.
  3. Ensuring the workforce is motivated to engage in the required behaviors and providing opportunities for these behaviors in the work force.

HR process and practices that should be aligned to strengthen Knowledge Management.

The HR practices are Recruitment, Training, Appraisal and termination of employees.  HR cultivates knowledge sharing culture right from the recruitment till termination which is pointed out as follows:

Recruitment: Firms are very keen during interview prospective candidates who fit for the organization for the maximum collaboration, who shares and accepts the knowledge management culture.

Training: Learning and knowledge are inter-linked.  Training for Knowledge Management system implementation can be started from new hire training. Training modules include, what is Knowledge management, Knowledge Management System, its technology, and explain how to share and implement through practical sessions.  Those training programs help HR in bringing knowledge sharing culture.

Job rotations: Well planned job rotations across geographical locations and businesses in a firm help not only people development, but also provide transfer of knowledge and best practices.

Appraisal: Through the employees’ appraisal report, work achievement can be analyzed and it can be set as the  best practices too.

Termination: Through the Handing over report, Employee feedback form, can get some information which act as a source for Knowledge Management system.

HR could play is to capture stories of successes and failures in the company training center for reference for future.  This would not only support leaning but could prevent repeat of same mistakes.

Corporate shining in Knowledge Management

The following are the corporate insights as a sign of Knowledge management initiation:

  • Dow chemical used to manage intellectual assets by classifying their portfolio and identify gaps to accomplish their goals.
  • AT&T use electronic database system which contains employee database system that may help the employees in developing knowledge management, competitive intelligence etc.
  • Harris Corporation usually award the employees experts as certified practice experts, where their photos are displayed in their departments.
  • Pella Corporation composed a library where successful history, performance and practices are displayed
  • Dai-Ichi spend half hour daily at rooms with tea and discuss on work issues.
  • General Electrical organizes outbound learning program me where 50 to 100 employees in various cadre are assembled in hotel. Open discussion with the boss following agenda.  They have list of complaints, debate solutions and sharing of ideas with creativity and innovation.
  • Walmart Co. have weekly one day meeting in the morning, they discuss about competitors and try to find solutions for unattainable goals, and recognize heroes of the organization, who share their experience and spell reasons for their success.

Creation of Knowledge sharing environment

Successful HR Manager recognizes the intellectual assets are highest in demand and cause great damage when they leave the organization. So, ask the people to contribute their ideas, reward those who come out with the best way of doing operations to set the example.  To be conducive, HRM must take strategic approach by having intranet facilities which assists people in knowing, sharing information.  Dependence on electronic media lacks social contact which helps to give brief explanation and discussion can be done. Hence, Allocate some time for sharing the ideas by conducting weekly meetings with the presentation. Those ideas to be refined and convert into knowledge source. If people were asked to share, they hesitate, instead, if we ask questions and create describe knowledge need, there is possibility in building knowledge network. If the shared knowledge is maintained in written (in-house journals like), it reaches maximum people.

Knowledge sharing and relationship are coupled

Experts will want to contribute to Co-workers who need them, hear them, respect them and even thank them. Peer recognition leads to knowledge sharing, Peer recognition means the most of us when it comes from those who really know the subject who know what they are talking about. It’s great to have boss to think ‘you are a top performer’ but chances are, boss does not know enough about the technical part of your work to know how really good you are.


If you find a person with

“No knowledge, share with him;

No confidence in expressing, boost him,

Lazy people, ignore them.”

“When knowledge is shared, knowledge gains power,

when knowledge is hoarded, Knowledge loses power.”

When the HR understands and share the value of knowledge management with the employees, the organization will be intellectually profitable one which paves for the overall growth of the organization too.

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