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Increasing Employee Engagement: Information vs. Knowledge

Give people new information and they forget more than 50 percent of it within one hour. Two-thirds of that information vanishes from their mind in a day. That’s according to Hermann Ebbinghaus’ “Forgetting Curve” commonly referenced in general psychology.

Transferring information from forgettable data points to useful knowledge is a process. In business, there is a massive difference between pushing out information and helping a workforce develop knowledge. 

Pushing out information is futile. Developing knowledge is crucial.

People are blasted with information every day. Every email, text message, conversation, presentation comes packed with some kind of information. All of that information has to battle for space in our mind. But it’s just data. 

Knowledge is information that gets past the point of just hearing or seeing, and is implanted in a person’s mind to call up for later use.

The dictionary definition of knowledge reads “the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association.”

Information does not get retained as knowledge until a person becomes familiar with it, gets to know it up close and personal, interacts with it. Until a person really understands why that information is useful to them and their life, it is not likely to translate into knowledge that sticks. 

How can companies increase employee engagement through knowledge communication instead of information overload?

  • Make information accessible. Your workforce is busy, they have their heads down working for you. When new information is available, employees need to know it exists before they can act on it. Bigtincan Zunos uses targeted push notifications to alert people to new information. Individuals can quickly track their own progress via our Engagement Dashboard, which shows exactly what content requires their attention. 
  • Make information dynamic. Text is forgettable. Engaging and dynamic content is one of the biggest drivers to employee engagement. Your staff is much more likely to retain and respond to information that was relayed in a way that looks great. Remember, design matters. 
  • Follow up. Information needs to be reiterated in order for it to solidify as knowledge. After you distribute information, find a way to follow up with your employees to continue having the conversation. At Zunos, we use short quizzes to make sure we’re seeing content engagement from our workforce. We distribute surveys to give our staff an outlet to communicate up the ladder, and encourage successful communication in the workplace. We also use forums as open discussion boards to keep spreading ideas and turning the information we have into knowledge. Keeping the conversation open gives people confidence to ask questions, have discussions and ultimately learn more. 
  • Be Targeted. Not everyone in your workforce needs to be privy to all the same information. Target the information you share and distribute to the teams and individuals who can make use of it. If you spam your entire staff with mass emails or call lengthy meetings to explain things that only apply to select people, your staff will begin to tune out. If your staff knows that the information they receive is targeted and meaningful, they will prioritize and appreciate it.

Don’t fall victim to the “Forgetting Curve.” Instead, engage your people. Empower them with education. Help them turn information into knowledge.