Inefficient Knowledge Sharing Costs Large Businesses $47 Million Per Year

The Panopto Workplace Knowledge and Productivity Report is the first research of its kind to quantify the cost of lost productivity due to inadequate knowledge sharing

SEATTLE, WA – July 17, 2018 – The average large US business loses $47 million in productivity each year as a direct result of inefficient knowledge sharing. According to the Panopto Workplace Knowledge and Productivity Report, U.S. knowledge workers waste 5.3 hours every week either waiting for vital information from their colleagues or working to recreate existing institutional knowledge. That wasted time translates into delayed projects, missed opportunities, frustration among employees, and significant impact on the bottom line.

In a first-of-its-kind study of more than 1,000 U.S. workers, the Workplace Knowledge and Productivity Report finds that 42 percent of institutional knowledge is unique to the individual. This knowledge was acquired specifically for the employee’s current role and is not shared by any of their coworkers. When that employee leaves their job or is otherwise unavailable, their coworkers are unable to do 42 percent of that job.

Additional findings in the report include:

  • 60 percent of respondents found it difficult, very difficult, or nearly impossible to obtain information vital to their job from their colleagues.
  • The average employee spends 5.3 hours per week waiting for assistance or insights from coworkers. During this time, employees either recreate their colleagues’ existing expertise or simply delay the work in question.
  • Delays due to unshared knowledge have a major impact on project schedules. 66 percent of all such delays will last up to one week, and 12 percent will last a month or more.
  • 81 percent of employees report feeling frustrated when they can’t get the information they need to do their job.
  • 85 percent of employees agree that preserving and sharing unique knowledge in the workplace is critical to increasing productivity.
  • 81 percent of employees state that knowledge gained from hands-on experience is the hardest to replace once it’s lost.
  • In companies with higher turnover rates, employees were 65 percent more likely to state that that it could be “very difficult” or “nearly impossible” to “get the information needed to do my job well.”
  • While the average new hire receives 2.5 months of formal training, it can take up to 6 months for an employee to actually ramp up in a new role. These employees often struggle for up to 3.5 months learning the details of their job on their own, seeking out information, and inadvertently replicating work.
  • Nearly 3 in 10 employees believe their organization does not provide an adequate amount of training for its employees. And half of respondents state that their organizations could benefit from providing more training resources and opportunities for employees.

In an era of increasing job specialization and remote work, business leaders must prioritize knowledge sharing to curb productivity losses, reduce employee frustration, and improve the bottom line. This will require technology solutions as well as a shift in organizational culture.

“Every employee in every company contributes to institutional knowledge,” said Eric Burns, co-founder and CEO of Panopto. “However, employee expertise is fleeting when it’s only shared through conversation. To remain competitive, businesses must provide the tools to preserve institutional knowledge and instill a culture of teaching among employees.”

For the complete Panopto Workplace Knowledge and Productivity Report, detailed methodology, an infographic illustrating key findings, and an interactive calculator business leaders can use to analyze the cost of knowledge loss to their business, please visit https://www.panopto.com/everyday-expertise/

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Methodology

In partnership with YouGov, Panopto conducted an online survey of 1,001 U.S. adults who are employed by an organization with at least 200 employees and have a minimum of five years of total work experience. Nearly 70 percent of respondents work in an organization with more than 500 employees. Respondents were distributed across industries, professions and job levels. Self-employed and freelance employees were not included.

The cost of inadequate knowledge sharing to the average US enterprise business was calculated by combining expected annual productivity losses from inefficient information exchange with expected productivity losses from inefficient information exchange during new employee onboarding. Annual productivity loss was calculated as the product of a firm’s Number of Employees x Average Hourly Wage x Weekly Hours Spent Inefficiently x Weeks per Year x Utilization Assessment Rate x Adoption Assessment Rate. Onboarding inefficiency costs were calculated as the product of Number of Employees x Annual Employee Turnover x Average Hourly Wage x Months to Proficiency in a New Job x Weekly Hours Spent Inefficiently x Utilization Assessment Rate x Adoption Assessment Rate. Based on survey responses, the average enterprise businesses has 17,700 employees. When combined with other averages from the research, this yielded an average cost of $42.5 million in annual productivity loss and an average cost of $4.5 million in inefficient onboarding, totaling $47 million in annual costs. For smaller and larger businesses, the cost of inefficient information exchange would be as follows: A business with 3,000 employees loses $8 million annually, a 10,000-employee business loses $26.5 million annually, and a 50,000-employee business loses $132.7 million annually.

About Panopto

Panopto helps businesses and universities create searchable video libraries of their institutional knowledge. Since 2007, the company has been a pioneer in video capture software, video content management systems, and inside-video search technology. Today, Panopto’s video platform is the largest repository of expert learning videos in the world. Headquartered in Seattle with offices in Pittsburgh, London, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Sydney, Panopto has received industry recognition for its innovation, rapid growth, and company culture. For more information, visit www.panopto.com.

Published: July 16, 2018