Employees use only fraction of their knowledge at work

knowledgeEmployees use just 38 percent of their knowledge and expertise at work, meaning organisations are failing to unlock even half of the brainpower of their people, research has claimed. According to the survey of more than 1,000 UK and US “knowledge workers” by Starmind, 90 percent of employees want more opportunities to share knowledge and expertise and three quarters believe their organisation would benefit from accessing more of their expertise. More than 6 in 10 respondents feel they could contribute more but don’t know how, while nearly two-thirds say they have knowledge their organisation isn’t aware of or doesn’t capitalise on.

The research report also claims that employees who want to share skills and expertise or ask questions lack direction on who to approach and how. More than half told researchers they avoid asking questions entirely because they don’t know who to approach. Seven in 10 said they feel more comfortable using technology to search for information than asking a colleague, although 8 in 10 would trust a co-worker more than AI or an automated response.

Lost productivity is plaguing enterprises

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Knowledge workers spend more than a working month each year (26 days) searching for information, knowledge and the right expertise in their organisation.[/perfectpullquote]

The quantity of data at employees’ disposal, coupled with an inability to find task-critical information easily, is threatening productivity, the report adds, as enterprises risk losing out to duplication, slowed innovation, mistakes and inhibited problem solving. More than half of respondents said they feel overwhelmed by the volume of information they receive each day and a similar number said they receive too many notifications. Three-fifths can’t find the information they need to do their job effectively, with the report claiming knowledge workers spend more than a working month each year (26 days) searching for information, knowledge and the right expertise in their organisation.

Departing employees take knowledge with them

More than half of workers have left a job because they didn’t have access to the information they need to work effectively, the report says. When an employee leaves their organisation, it is estimated that they hand over only about a third of their knowledge. More than half of respondents said their company either doesn’t have a process for extracting knowledge before people leave or they aren’t aware of one.

“Not being able to quickly and efficiently access organisational intelligence is a huge burden on productivity,” commented Oliver Muhr, CEO of Starmind. “Failing to find, unlock and share knowledge effectively not only leads to a duplication of work and time wasted but makes brain drain a real threat. As the war for talent, expertise and skills heats up, organisations need to do more to make use of their collective brainpower and skills.”

Image by Gerd Altmann