How to successfully transfer knowledge within the team

Elena Höppner
by Elena Höppner Content MarketingPublished on 25.01.2024

Staying up to date professionally, recruiting the right employees or creating a constructive working atmosphere - there are a number of topics that are extremely important for successful work, but for which there is no one-size-fits-all solution. For this reason, we in the Vanillaplan team will now sit down together once a quarter (over coffee and a slice of cake, of course), focus on one issue and share our experiences. This allows us to share our ideas, learn from each other and develop as a company. We've summarised the most important results for you here - perhaps you'll find a few useful tips.

The question that interested us the most and that we have chosen for today's discussion actually starts precisely at this point of learning from each other: How is knowledge most effectively shared and transferred within teams?

The first thing that was important for our IT was the distinction between operational knowledge and technical knowledge. While operational knowledge refers to "how the specific operation works, where documents are stored or how programmes are set up", technical knowledge is about "how these programmes are used, i.e. how the tools that are used work". These two fields of knowledge each require different procedures for the acquisition and transfer of knowledge, which we will come to in a moment.

In the context of knowledge transfer, the induction of new employees is a particularly relevant question. How do you best integrate them into the company structures and familiarise them with all the important content?

Our Marketing/Sales team talks about their concept of training new employees with a mentor and a programme for the first few weeks. "This means that an employee from the same team familiarises the new employee with all the important areas and is the first point of contact. There is also a programme that is set up by the team and includes various tasks for the first few days. This ensures that the new employee has at least seen all the important things and can familiarise themselves with them." The main aim here is to give new employees a rough insight and also to give them a good feeling. "Then they have the feeling that although everything is new, there is a concept and they feel a bit more at home."

The IT department explains that they focus on operational knowledge during induction. "We first familiarise ourselves with the operational knowledge with the expectation that the technical knowledge is either already partly there or can still be acquired. This works because it is still easy to acquire specialised knowledge.

How can knowledge transfer be organised in concrete terms? What opportunities are there to share relevant knowledge within the team?

Our IT team says that they facilitate active knowledge transfer through a weekly meeting. "This means that we sit down with the IT team at a round table once a week. We then work our way through the various topics so that the basics in particular are covered. Every week, someone prepares a topic and passes it on to the others. Towards the end, we have a special session in which we customise all the basic knowledge from the previous sessions and specify topics and processes for our company.

Our marketing/sales department says that they mainly share new insights with each other on a situational basis via meetings and by preparing the relevant topics. "Sometimes someone has to research something for their tasks, sometimes you just find something interesting by chance. And sometimes it doesn't just affect your own department, but is interesting for the whole team. In such cases, we proceed in such a way that one or two people prepare the topic, summarise the most important points and present them to the others in a meeting. Depending on how in-depth the topic is, further meetings follow and we work it into our existing processes."

Everyone agrees that an ongoing dialogue on specialist topics is relevant: "It's important to maintain regular communication within the team and to keep trying out new approaches."

How do you organise the exchange of knowledge in your team?