Knowledge workers play an important role in driving success in any organization. Their specific skills and knowledge are extremely valuable as knowledge workers are often the ones driving innovation in the workplace.
However, employers need to have a well-set strategy around how to enable their knowledge workers for success and get the most out of their knowledge.
In this blog, you will learn about how to help knowledge workers develop their thought leadership and be more productive.
You will also learn about the importance of proper internal employee communications in helping knowledge workers succeed.
📚Download our eBook "10 Principles of Modern Employee Communications" and learn how to communicate with the modern employee in today's digital age.
Who Are Knowledge Workers?
The term “knowledge worker” was first introduced by Peter Drucker in his book The Landmarks of Tomorrow (1959).
Drucker described the knowledge worker’s labor as “ever-changing, dynamic, and autonomous". Knowledge work is mostly about problem-solving and critical thinking to find solutions to the questions and challenges that arise in daily work.
In organizations, knowledge workers are expected to innovate, routinely coming up with new and better ways of doing things and thinking out-of-the-box. Most of them have very specialized roles and competencies that the rest of the workplace may not have.
The Role of Knowledge Workers in the Workplace
In his book, Peter Drucker noted that:
"Knowledge workers would be the most valuable assets of a 21st century organization because of their high level of productivity, different mindset and creativity."
With the rise of automation, and the belief that the number of blue-collar workers will continue to decrease, knowledge workers are becoming extremely valuable assets for organizations across the world.
However, not only that knowledge workers are valuable because they possess certain skills and knowledge other employees may not have, but they are also expected to share their knowledge with others using knowledge sharing best practices and initiatives.
In order to close the increasing skill and knowledge gaps that they are facing, organizations now are looking for ways to get the best out of their knowledge workers.
However, many employers may not even be aware of who their knowledge workers are, what is their impact on other employees and how they can better equip them with useful information, keep them engaged, and enable them to easily share their knowledge with the entire workplace.
9 Ways to Help Knowledge Workers Be More Productive
Many organizations expect from their knowledge workers to do most of the work by themselves. They have the knowledge that nobody else does, so let them do the job.
However, things aren't that simple. If you want your knowledge workers to drive creativity and innovation at your workplace, you'll need to make sure you keep them motivated and engaged.
Let’s take a look into some best practices for ensuring your knowledge workers' success:
Align them with your business goals
In order for your knowledge workers to be successful at their jobs and deliver valuable innovations at your organization, you first need to make sure that they are 100% aligned with your strategic business goals.
In order to do so, you need to ensure streamlined internal communications. You need to frequently communicate your company’s mission, vision and the ultimate business goals in order to have your knowledge workers strive towards achieving them.
Ensure real-time internal communications to improve your knowledge workers' productivity
Knowledge workers usually constantly communicate with leadership and with their teammates with whom they work on the same projects.
However, they also need to be closely connected with the rest of the workplace as they may need insights and additional information from their colleagues in order to deliver valuable results.
Employers and leaders are the ones that need to ensure easy team and cross-functional collaboration and communication.
Unfortunately, many organizations are still using wrong workplace communication practices that prevent knowledge workers from being successful at their jobs.
Eliminate silos and enable knowledge sharing
Knowledge workers don’t perform well when they work in siloed organizations. Unfortunately, the majority of companies still don’t have clear strategies around sharing information across departments and teams.
Moreover, over half of companies report having siloed teams, and 40% of organizations admit that each different department has its own customer experience agenda. As the consequence, organizational alignment suffers, and knowledge workers are unable to prioritize and drive innovation.
To add, only 25% of senior executives say their organizations are effective at sharing knowledge. The other 75% are taking a financial hit: Fortune 500 companies reportedly losing an estimated $31.5 billion per year because they don't have effective strategies in place to encourage knowledge sharing across teams.
Leadership needs to recognize this challenge and build effective, long-term solutions that are scalable, executable, and realistic. Otherwise, if your organization is siloed, employees’ frustrations are inevitable.
Enforce collaboration across departments
Silos in the workplace affect everyone, regardless of roles and departments. To be more specific, silos disable employees to collaborate effectively. On the other side, the collaboration of knowledge workers with the rest of the organization is the only way to get the most out of your knowledge workers’ expertise.
For example, 41% of customer experience professionals say that workplace silos pose a significant barrier to providing a seamless customer experience.
8 out of 10 marketers say that silos prevent them from knowing how their campaigns are performing across different channels, while 86% of corporate executives, employees, and educators cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures.
Meanwhile, 73% of sales teams say that collaborating across departments is critical to their overall sales process, while 7 out of 10 IT professionals view collaboration as a major priority in their organization.
Drive co-creation of new ideas and solutions
Even though knowledge workers may be responsible for driving change and innovation, they are certainly not the only ones participating in the implementation of new solutions.
Moreover, the best results happen when the workplace is connected and when everyone can participate in the co-creation process by sharing their own feedback and ideas.
It is very important to enable knowledge workers to drive open and transparent communication about their projects and make it visible for everyone. Yet, many organizations still fail to do so as they are struggling to find the optimal way to eliminate the barriers of poor workplace communications.
Monitor and deliver the latest industry trends
It is the knowledge worker’s job to constantly stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends, best practices and innovations. However, the amount of information they consume on a daily basis can be very overwhelming.
Often, organizations neglect this challenge as they don’t understand the impact it has on their knowledge workers’ productivity levels.
Luckily, there are ways to eliminate this challenge and make knowledge workers’ lives easier. For example, employers could, and should, consider implementing solutions that automatically find and deliver information from credible and relevant sources right to the knowledge workers’ fingertips, making it easily accessible and findable at all times.
Deliver timely, relevant and personal messages via the right channels
It is of crucial importance to make sure that knowledge workers stay informed and up-to-date with the latest business updates and strategic decisions. If this can not be achieved, it is unrealistic to expect them to be successful.
Keep in mind that it is important to eliminate information overload coming to your knowledge workers’ way as well. As busy as they are, dealing with irrelevant information can only make them less productive.
Personalization is the key here!
The content that you send to your knowledge workers needs to be very specific and 100% relevant to what they do.
Unfortunately, many organizations still haven’t found ways to easily segment their internal audiences, localize their internal content and make sure that their knowledge workers get timely updates that are relevant to their specific roles.
To add, organizations also need to understand the knowledge workers’ preferred internal communications channels. In other words, if you have data that shows that your employees tend to ignore emails due to the content irrelevancy, you should consider communicating via a different channel.
Embrace mobile-first communication
With the emergence of remote work, mobile communication in the workplace became very important. Moreover, many organizations are now switching to mobile-first workplace communications.
As you already know, easy access to information and other internal content is one of the most important prerequisites to ensure your knowledge workers' success. Therefore, if you already haven’t, consider implementing a mobile-friendly solution that will drive your knowledge workers’ productivity.
Help them build internal awareness about digital transformation and change management initiatives
Sometimes, knowledge workers are not only the ones that innovate, but also are the ones that communicate the latest innovations their teams have been working on to the entire organization. As they are the ones that understand the benefits of change, it is natural that they also drive change management initiatives in the workplace.
At the end of the day, the success of your new initiatives driven by your knowledge workers will mostly depend on how well the rest of the workplace aligns with and accepts change.
Learn more about how to successfully drive change within your organization.
5 Characteristics Successful Knowledge Workers Have in Common
Knowledge workers have some specific characteristics and skills that often separate them from other workers.
Below are some of the most common characteristics we can find among successful knowledge workers:
- Specialized knowledge around a specific topic
Most knowledge workers have a very specialized knowledge about a specific subject or a topic. Many of them spend years specializing in their roles and gaining new skills in a form of formal education or self-education.
- The ability to find and access new information
Knowing how to find and access resources and important information is a crucial skill for knowledge workers to have. With the extensive information overload we all are facing, it is very important to have the ability to easily filter through it.
- The ability to analyze and utilize new information
Not everyone can make a good sense of raw data and information. Knowledge workers, on the other hand, know how to apply the found information in a useful way. These employees must be able to analyze the information and use it to solve challenges in an innovative way.
- Good communication skills and the ability to share knowledge with others
When you have knowledge workers who also know how to share their knowledge with others in the organization and collaborate in an effective way, the benefit of their knowledge multiplies. This may seem like an obvious thing, but not many people can share information and knowledge in a way that is easily understandable to others.
- A mindset that drives growth and innovation
Because the nature of technology, business and information is constantly changing, knowledge workers must have a mindset that always strives towards innovation and growth. They are almost always looking for new ideas about how to improve things.
Get the Most Out of Your Knowledge Workers with Smarp
As improper employee communication is one of the main prerequisites to enable your knowledge workers for success, companies are now reconsidering their internal communications efforts and switching to new employee communication solutions.
With Smarp, you can reach your knowledge workers in a timely manner, personalize their news feeds based on their their roles, interests and the languages they speak.
In essence, Smarp allows you to:
- Personalize your internal comms messages based on your knowledge workers' roles, departments, locations, interests as well as the languages they speak.
- Enable your knowledge workers and their managers to create personalized news feeds based on the projects they are working on.
- Invite and engage other employees to join knowledge workers in creating new ideas and solutions and optimize cross-functional collaboration.
- Ask for on-the-spot employee feedback.
- Automate content import from credible sources relevant to their knowledge workers.
- Make important information available and easily accessible from any device.
- Connect remote knowledge workers with the rest of the workforce.
- Create channels dedicated to specific topics relevant to your knowledge workers.
- Schedule content delivery based on your employees' time zones for better readership and engagement.
Schedule a Smarp demo today to see how it can help you set your knowledge workers up for success by streamlining your internal communications efforts.