I’ll never forget the first great coffee I made at work.  The foam was smooth and silky, the milk was heated to the perfect temperature, the coffee tasted creamy, and I even managed a leaf picture on the top.  Well, sort-of…

After weeks of trying, and failing, to master the coffee machine, I had turned to my colleague (who’s coffee always looked barista quality), and asked for advice. Et voila!  A definitely drinkable coffee!

I’m sure I’m not the only one that could have benefited from that advice either (loud screeching coming from the milk steamer will testify to that).

Throughout any organisation there’s a plethora of untapped subject matter experts (and I’m not just talking about people who know how to make coffee).  Everyone from the CEO, to managers, to team members, have valuable information that, if shared, many people would find helpful.

‘If’ being the operative word.

Up to 90% of the knowledge in an organisation is locked inside the heads of their employees, which leaves businesses in a pretty precarious position.  What if someone leaves?  Or what if they don’t leave, but keep that knowledge to themselves, instead of helping colleagues to find better ways of doing things.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

People love to feel valued and publicly recognised as an expert in their field.  So why not ask your process guru, your product expert, your compliance queen (or king), to share their knowledge with others.  Get them to jump online, create a quick 5min learning topic, then share it with the people who would benefit.

To get started, send out a quick survey (or just speak) to your employees, team leaders, department heads etc. to discover which topics need addressing.  Then find out who your subject matter experts are on each area, and invite them to create some training.

To make it as engaging as possible, encourage them to add in some images, text and a quick guerilla-style video shot on their smartphone (95% people remember info they learn from a video).  They can even curate useful YouTube links or news articles they’ve found helpful in explaining a particular topic, and include them in the learning topic.

By using a mobile learning platform, you can ensure that your people have access to the new training topics the minute they come out, anytime, anywhere, and can dip in to them for refreshers, as and when they need to.

It’s infectious (in a good way!)

Once you have a few people on board, and several bite-sized training topics out there, you’ll be amazed at how quickly people put their hands up to share their own knowledge.  After all, there’s nothing more motivating than seeing your peer being publicly recognised for their expertise, to make you want to be recognised too.

Quality control is, of course, incredibly important.  You can choose to have final edit (until you feel comfortable enough to take a step back) and make sure you’re happy with the content before it gets shared out.

Before long you will have developed a culture of sharing best practice, that will see some (if not all) of the 90% of knowledge documented and passed on, which ultimately will strengthen the capability, confidence, and engagement levels, of your workforce.

Don’t forget – if someone knows how to make a brilliant coffee, get them to share that knowledge out too – people love to learn new skills, and sometimes they don’t have to be work related!