Information Hoarding in the Workplace
Setting your team up for success is a priority in any workplace and in any workplace, you will find a diverse set of team members, each bringing valuable skills to the table. Their expertise, knowledge, experiences and ability are all invaluable resources to be shared with their colleagues, and this sharing of information might determine the success or failure of the business. Communication is key to facilitate this process and the subsequent success of the company.
Say for example you have a highly experienced employee who has been with a company for many years. If the knowledge that employee holds is not sufficiently communicated to the rest of department or workplace, the company will find themselves in a difficult position if that employee goes on sick leave, holiday leave or decides to resign. The loss of an employee is almost always a challenging time for any company, but the effects are exacerbated if you cannot simply replace the required skills and experience with another employee. It also presents a challenge in the interim of finding a replacement, where the team has to stall progress on projects because they lack the necessary skills or knowledge.
Learn from Mistakes
Another reason to encourage a free flow of ideas and experiences in the workplace is to learn from mistakes. If there are not systems in place that support the communication of mistakes made by employees, one can predict the same mistake will reoccur, even in different departments across the company. Here, we can see how avoidable errors might continue to happen. If a company has the necessary processes in place to communicate mistakes, that sharing of knowledge increases innovation in the workplace and creates open-minded, informed employees.
Avoiding Information Hoarding
Whether conscious or unconscious, information hoarding is counterproductive and becomes a hindrance for individuals and a company as a whole. Project management is particularly vulnerable to the effects of information hoarding, especially when it comes down to key decision makers. Hoarding of information leads to blocks in a business’ processes, whereby certain employees are required to carry out certain tasks, without whom, tasks cannot be completed or are delayed considerably.
You can take steps in the workplace to avoid information hoarding. Fostering a collaborative work environment and building trust between employees should be the first step. If employees feel comfortable and confident to interact with colleagues, they are more likely to share their knowledge, ideas and opinions. You want to avoid situations where employees feel they need to protect their role by hoarding information.
Creating processes within the business that foster shared knowledge is also an important step. For example, having regular staff meetings to share progress on various projects will ensure each employee knows what each department is working on, creating a shared experience in the development of the company.
At Intov8, we discourage information hoarding in a few ways. We ensure each team member undertakes support training in their first few weeks at the company. This means that no matter what happens, someone from the Intov8 team can assume the role of support in the office. We also take the time every morning to ensure the entire team knows what each team member is working on for the day. This heightens both accountability and understanding of what each team member contributes to the company. It is important to us that we foster a culture of shared information on a daily basis. Furthermore, we encourage our employees to pursue avenues of the business outside of their role that they might have an interest in. These processes are embedded in our company culture to ensure the success of the company is an entirely collaborative process.