It is not uncommon for a small business to be fuelled by multitaskers who wear various hats throughout the day. As the leader of such a team you may even read this and say, “Oh certainly, I myself have at least five hats to choose from!”
Whilst creating a team of “Jacks of all trades and masters of none” is not the aim, a business can fall apart if knowledge is not shared between colleagues.
It is important that everyone has clear roles and responsibilities and is held accountable for delivering them. However, when one of the team is on holiday or off sick, the key parts of their role still need to be done.
Long-term sickness absence or even a two-week holiday can really impact on productivity and customer satisfaction. And it can certainly put unfair stress on the rest of the team. So what is the best way to handle this? They say that knowledge is power, and we say that knowledge sharing is a powerful tool for keeping your business running through thick and thin. Here are four ways you may be able to improve the knowledge sharing that goes on in your business.
1. In-house or outsource?
Some key areas such as finance or IT cannot easily be picked up by a colleague, and could actually be very damaging in unqualified hands. Are these areas best kept in-house, or would outsourcing provide a better solution? Decide what’s best for your business.
2. Document processes and review them
Having simple documented processes is a really good start. We do find when conducting reviews for clients that documented processes look fine but can become out of date. We’re even guilty of this in our own business from time-to-time. It’s easily done! So a system for regularly reviewing such documents needs to be in place.
3. Explain the team benefits to staff
You may find that some employees tend to withhold knowledge from their teammates as a way to show their own value, or if they are of a competitive nature. So it is important to encourage knowledge sharing amongst your staff and discuss the benefits involved for all. A buddy system could be an excellent way of starting this.
4. Make use of technology
Nowadays there are plenty of tools available to assist knowledge sharing within your organisation, such as cloud-based storage systems and communication portals. This can be a great way to improve accessibility and is useful for storing things like passwords or guidance on important tasks.
The New Year will soon be here. It is a good time to look at job descriptions and put a knowledge sharing plan in place. And of course, if you want to outsource your HR we would be delighted to help.
Alison Schreiber runs The HR Dept Durham and Darlington franchise, and works with a number of businesses across PBP. For more info, visit HR Dept Durham and Darlington or call Alison on 01325 526036 or 07535 853226.