Information Hoarding: Do You Need To Be Concerned?

Information hoarding amongst employees has quickly risen to be one of the most prevalent questions in the workplace. Why? Because employees do not want to take part in the data they have spent so much time working on.

An information hoarder often hoards information in an attempt to receive appraisals and the due credit that his work ought to receive. Information hoarders also do it to exercise power or gain job security.

The reasons that drive individuals to hoard information are many but the result is the same – lack of productivity in the workplace.


What is Information Hoarding?

Information Hoarding is malpractice wherein employees hide, hoard, or simply hold back information from coworkers or management in their organization.

At its core fundamental, information hoarding can lead to the creation of a lot of functional issues due to the overdependence on a single employee. 

To better understand the drawbacks of information hoarding, consider this 

You’re an employer at a reputed company and have the responsibility of two different verticals under you.  But you do not have access to the data of these verticals and since this particular employee always produces the data for the projects, accessibility has never come into question. 

However, due to some unforeseen situation, he is no longer able to access the data- it may be due to a hard drive malfunction, or hardware being stolen, or some other reason. 

The crux of the situation is that the data only a particular employee had access to is now unavailable for other members of the office. 

Not only does this lead to stalling of various projects, but it can also create voids in knowledge transfers among coworkers which are not favorable in any business. 

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Signs Your Company has an Information Hoarding Problem

Signs that your company has information hoarding problem

Although it is hard to pinpoint exactly whether or not a company has an information hoarding problem, there are a few telltale signs that if are in practice at your firm, should raise alarm bells. 

  • Overdependence on Certain Individuals

This might be regarded as a good thing in the setup of most organizations but this is a major telltale sign when it comes to information hoarding. 

  • Trying to Bridge the Information Gap When Employees Leave

Without a system in place that retains the information gained by employees while interacting with clients/customers/coworkers or while working on certain projects, you’re in for a disaster.

If you find information voids and often struggle to fill in knowledge gaps when employees leave, your workplace is already suffering from information hoarding.

  • Solutions via email threads rather than on the cloud

Not only is this way of going about business inefficient, but it also is hard to maintain when individual project files are distributed throughout the hierarchy of the organization. 


How to Stop Hoarding Information?

Now that we understand the nuances of hoarding information, let us try and address the choices we can make to better set up our organizations so that this does not occur.

Cultural Shift – 

See, I can give you all the tools, tips, and tricks but nothing would work if you do not set up the right culture in your company. 

The problem of information hoarding will lose its power once you shift from a culture of hoarding knowledge and experience a sustainable and thriving culture of sharing knowledge

How to start?

  • Start with thoroughly examining your work culture and understand the channels and tools you need to maintain a free flow of communication and knowledge. 
  • Learn from other teams and departments where collaboration and communication is the norm.
  • Accept that not everyone in your company will be great at collaboration and communication. 
  • Extend learning, training, and development opportunities to instill the practice of good communication and sharing knowledge.

Tools and Tips

The main fundamental that should be followed is to ensure that no one individual has the access to all the files of a particular project. 

  • Shift to technologies and knowledge sharing systems –

Rely on the cloud and other servers to centrally store the data rather than it being stored remotely. 

TCT will help your business create knowledge bases so that your employees can access it along the course of their tenure rather than overburdening them with local information.

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The Cloud Tutorial helps in creating an equilibrium between the amount of company information and personal data held by hoarders – coworkers, a group, and their supervisors at the companies. Not only this, but it will prove as the best way to transfer knowledge from one employee to another employee.

Have some general queries and questions in mind? Don’t worry; we have answered the most common questions asked from the readers.


FAQs

  • Creating A Hierarchy of Information Access:
  • This is done to minimize the influence that individuals/hoarders have on the smooth functioning of the organization. Segregating access ensures collaboration between coworkers for access on the cloud; the absence of anyone individual not affecting the entire process.

  • Switching Information Storage To A Cloud Database:
  • Information is available globally to each employee of the organization rather than individual remote access of the same.

  • De-incentivizing Individuality On Projects:
  • Information hoarding is more likely when an individual employee works on a particular project rather than having the support of team members. Hence, it is important to promote a team culture in lieu of individuality.

A knowledge-sharing software is one of the most effective tools to create a network that is efficient and allows employees to access information on an organizational level. It also helps to minimize the costs and efforts that go into training new employees and trying to fill in information gaps as and when they arise.
TCT – The Cloud Tutorial is an easy to use platform that segregates information into categories and sub-categories, allowing employees to easily access the available data and not be overwhelmed by its sheer abundance.

Conclusion

An information-sharing system not only acts as a human firewall-  the first line in defense for information security but also as an effective means of collaboration between employees. It also helps to minimize the inefficiencies that arise due to miscommunication among the workforce.

How? As each employee is able to access any data that is required instantly, rather than following up with a colleague continuously for the required data field.

Empowering your workforce via this global information sharing module will not only help sharpen the skillsets of the employees on an individual level but will also help the organization grow organically.

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