Tribal knowledge capture and a sharing culture fit together like a video-in-a-player! So, are you doing it?

Almost a quarter of a million baby boomers in the U.S are moving closer to retirement. When they retire, where will the knowledge that they have assimilated over the years go? It will leave the organization with them.

A dramatic scene!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away… Humans developed some technology and videos took over the world. Slowly and steadily, people changed. They began gluing their eyes to screens. The videos seemed innocent but they weren’t. They soon dominated the market. YouTube… dominated, Vines… tried, Vimeo… kept trying! WhatsApp… became an addiction! Videos controlled humanity.

Things changed further. When they learned that they had the most powerful weapon – the share button!

After a decade of the simultaneous social media revolution, the unrest was over. Humans, videos, and social media started co-existing as buddies.

This is no drama. It’s the reality! Starker than you’d imagine.

Let’s take some more time to get our heads screwed on right for this reality.

Video content, video sharing, and visual interactions are fundamental to modern technological humans. We are not talking just about emotionally engaging cat videos, long-lost and forgotten vines, guilt-ridden pleasure clips, dogs, etc. We are talking about intellectually stimulating, authority building, authority validating knowledge-based videos.

And for us with a screen as the workplace? We need both of those videos. We need the emotional arousal to have a good time, we need to share beautiful informational content (like kurzgesagt) to show what we know, what we’ve learned, and what we want others to know.

Video sharing is a norm and it’s a part of our collective identity – it is the technological force behind human development. If you are not yet convinced, the stats will floor you.

You are likely to spend 76 minutes a day (1hr 16mins) on the top 5 social media apps (read more stats here)! A lot of this is video-content sharing.

So, it’s not a big leap to say video content sharing is a core aspect of our lives. In fact, companies thrive on it. We are firmly grounded in a culture of sharing. Look at companies like Uber and Airbnb. Look at all of these viral products like the fidget spinner. They made a fortune leveraging this video sharing culture.

Be it a product or user sentiment. It’s videos that get shared and help people make money.

Establish a knowledge sharing culture to satisfy all!

Traditionally, knowledge creation and sharing in the enterprise has been the sole responsibility of the Learning and Development department. But given the constant seismic shifts in the business landscape, can a single department capture and fulfill the knowledge needs of a diverse workforce and be good at it?

Perhaps, that is why, even though the sharing culture is the new normal, most organizations are still working towards enabling a knowledge sharing culture.

The forces of change are at play.

There are four behemoths at play. There are tectonic shifts in the business environment. There’s the reality of geographically dispersed teams. There is a rapid and never-ending change in the technology landscape. People are exhibiting completely new behaviours at work.

Many of these massive changes are fueled by the Internet. And the Internet world is founded on sharing. So, it follows that organizations also have to focus on sharing. And how well it shares its knowledge decides the viability of the organization.

The millennials are here.

Let’s be honest, the millennials and younger generations are the only ones who will be alive in a few decades. They are here to stay. And they are born in a world of visual media.

Post 90s kids are hungry to learn new skills. Not in the classroom. They want them on the job! And, they are not just perma hungry, they want solutions rn (right now)!

Lack of training is one of the main reasons millennial employees leave one job for the other. Apart from a sense of meaning and purpose, they rank access to learning opportunities a key employer benefit. Do you have the capacity to fulfill the learning needs of this species?

Employee turnover is a real issue.

Careers move fast in this digital age. The average employee turnover rate increased to 18.5% in 2017 from 15.1% in 2013. Even the most valued tech companies struggle with retaining employees. Which is to say that your most valuable resources are and will keep walking out of the door. And your most valuable Management cycles will keep getting wasted on tackling it. Unless they figure out a way to become an internal sharing economy.

We are moving (NOT, have moved) towards self-service.

Smart companies are addressing the shift towards self-service. Employees no longer are asking for knowledge and information. They are adept at searching for it. But does your organization, your Management, or your L&D department have a searchable, continuously updated knowledge repository?

If not, it is time to give your Learning and Development initiatives the 21st-century push. The old order, clearly has to change, yielding place to the new.

Tribal knowledge Paradigm (and why you should care about it).

Russell Conwell’s famous lecture, Acres of Diamonds talks about a farmer, selling his plot of land and moving far and wide in search for diamonds only to never find them. The new owner of his land finds mines of them right in the farmers’ own backyard.

We perhaps need to look at what we have right in front of us instead of searching externally in vain. We could be standing on acres of diamonds and not know it!

Are you this farmer? You can tell by assessing if you are using your existing knowledge base to create new knowledge.

Your employees are a goldmine of information and knowledge. This knowledge is called tribal knowledge and refers to any information that resides with a few people (key employees, process or knowledge experts, etc.) and is not documented.

But there’s a problem with tribal knowledge. Since it is typically not captured by most organizations, when these employees leave the company, they take this knowledge with them.

I don’t need to point it out, do I? We need their knowledge (which is money in the future for you, of course :)) in video format so we can reduce the impact of their retirement, and use their hard-earned knowledge however and whenever we like.

You need to easily capture this tribal knowledge into a central information and knowledge repository. By doing this, you can reduce the knowledge gap between experienced and new employees.

Because the sharing culture is so deeply integrated into our lives, getting employees to share their knowledge is the easy part. All you need to do is provide an avenue to create and share their knowledge.

Share videos and let the knowledge culture evolve.

I’m sure it is obvious to you that videos are important. Can this importance be strategic?

Here are the strategic knowledge sharing uses of video:

  1. Videos are, by definition, engaging and social.
  2. Videos use human voice, humans like the human voice.
  3. Rich stored information becomes personal.
  4. Videos are attractive and attention-grabbing.
  5. Watching a video generates rich analytics you can leverage.
  6. Employees find it less taxing than reading and the impact of sharing is higher.

Yes… video is fun and useful, but I don’t see it!

Exactly! If you aren’t seeing it, you are not videoing. And that’s the problem. Let’s try a different approach.

Are you reinventing the wheel?

You probably are doing that every single day over and over again. When information can be saved, shared, and viewed as video, answers probably lie in a video somewhere. You just need to find it. (Oh, on a side note, the millennials are really good at finding stuff.)

So, you are choosing to reinvent the wheel if you are not leveraging the tribal knowledge that resides in your employees, their shares, and their capacity to pour in video-based learning.

With this specific use of videos, you can invent something for real for your organization.

Enabling a knowledge-sharing culture has its own benefits – It allows you to move with the speed of change because your workforce is moving in step with you. No L&D department can manage this speed of change unless you enable your workforce to harness the latent knowledge.

Ask your treasured millennial employees if they want problems solved with videos.

We did and this is the answer we got.

“Ask the people born in the internet age, with cell phones in their hands at 3 years of age. We only know of a connected world. We have no other reference. We know that one of the most important skills is to know how to find an answer that exists. And if I were to bet, the answer lies in a video somewhere.”

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