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How Communities of Purpose Support Knowledge Sharing


Produced by Steve Nathans-Kelly

People often ask how communities can be helpful. One of the ways they help is in supporting community members. Employees need to feel supported in their work and, and for new people starting, it's super important to support their onboarding and, for existing employees, it's important to enable that knowledge transfer.

At KMWorld Connect 2021, Process Solutions' Elise Haladyna discussed how structured, organic, dynamic communities within organizations can support professional development, improve communications.

Everyone wants to be able to solve problems collectively and be able to leverage the collective brain power of an organization to solve problems, said Haladyna. Communities help to support problem solving and help to increase motivation because when people feel supported, they feel more motivated.

Communities also help in accelerating professional development, noted Haladyna. "I know we often think of the professional development in terms of individual learning plans and taking courses and things like that. But a lot of the ways that we develop as professionals comes directly from our colleagues and having that kind of structure in place with these communities really helps support that professional development of individuals and groups, and also helps strengthen our organization's capabilities. And by having these communities, it can really help accelerate learning."

Communities can also help break down silos. Static organizational structures tend to be very silo-forming. When you have departments and functions, those tend to serve as silos and having these more organic and dynamic communities that pop up and change over time and evolve over time can really help break down those silos. They can help improve communication, increase knowledge sharing across the organization, reduce duplication, and just make it easier for work to flow.

"None of us ever intend to have silos form, but they just naturally do because of the organizations we work in and having these COPs can really help," she said. "Communities can also help in knowledge sharing. Reducing the duplication of effort and improving that problem solving—just getting that collective brain power together—helps to solve issues more quickly and leads to better working practices for all of us."

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