More information is available to employees than ever before, but do they know where to find it?
Perhaps your remote employees are missing out on important content shared in meetings; employee onboarding takes several days and still results in knowledge gaps weeks later; and teamwork is grinding to a screeching halt.
If these scenarios sound familiar, you’re not alone. McKinsey research shows that on average, employees spend nearly 20 percent of their time searching for internal documentation. Not surprisingly, employee engagement and productivity are taking a hit.
Fortunately, there is a remarkably simple solution. An effective internal knowledge base can reduce time employees spend searching for information by up to 35 percent by providing instant access to important, easy-to-find information – anytime, anywhere.
Let’s look at how to create a knowledge base—why your organization should have one, what it should include, how to get started—and how it fosters continual learning, collaboration, and productivity.
What are the benefits of an internal knowledge base?
A knowledge base is a self-serve, online library that captures, organizes and shares your company’s knowledge on a centralized, secure easily accessible platform across departments, geographical areas and projects. It unlocks valuable company expertise and information currently stored in filing cabinets, hard drives and employee’s brains.
To be effective, a knowledge base must be accessible, secure, easy to navigate and up to date. Consider the following benefits of creating a robust internal knowledge base:
Connect remote employees
70 percent of professionals work from home at least once a week. According to a 2019 report by Igloo, 56% of those surveyed said they have missed out on important information as a result of working away from the office. Whether employees are sitting next to each other or hundreds of miles apart, a knowledge base enables fast, easy access to information.
Improve collaboration and productivity
A recent Gallup survey shows that employees who feel engaged with their work stay at the company longer and produce higher quality work. A modern knowledge base with collaboration features allows employees to make comments, “like” documents or posts, ask questions, tag others—and reclaim up to a full workday for each employee every week.
Accelerate learning and decision-making
When employees can find relevant information – from processes and best practices to customer interactions, news, and employee insights – it speeds up the learning process and empowers employees to make better decisions.
Reduce employee onboarding costs
According to a survey by Training Mag, it costs an average of $1000 to onboard a new employee. Introducing employees to your company’s policies, procedures is simple if all documentation exists within your company’s internal knowledge base. An intranet onboarding center addresses intensive training needs and accelerates time to productivity.
Prevent knowledge loss
When employees leave, years of knowledge walks out the door with them, which can cost your company significant time and money. A knowledge base turns employee knowledge into a valuable, transferable asset.
8 tips for building an effective knowledge base that grows with you
The benefits are clear. Now, how do you get started? Read on for proven tips and strategies to ensure you build a knowledge base that benefits everyone – and grows with your company.
1. Determine what information to include.
From company sick leave policy to brand guidelines and best practices for answering a customer inquiry, everything relevant to your employees should be included in your knowledge base. A governance center keeps employees informed of important business communications by centralizing policies and procedures.
2. Decide who owns it.
Is it HR or IT? Whoever takes the leadership role will manage the content, maintain the community, manage the logistics, and ensure problems are addressed as they arise.
3. Identify your content experts.
A robust, reliable knowledge base relies on generating a constant stream of new, trustworthy information. Identify the employees that possess the knowledge required and use them as your starting point for building content.
4. Agree on the structure and organization of the content.
Organization is vital to locating the knowledge you’ve stored. Your knowledge base documentation should be logically organized, fast and easy to use, and allow for user feedback and continued contributions.
5. Develop a consistent voice.
Ensure the information stored in your knowledge base has a recognizable “voice” that reflects your brand. Ensure that contributors use the same style, content type, and tone. A brand portal ensures that everyone stays on brand by putting all your creative guidelines and resources into a single digital hub. Adding images can help to draw people to your content.
6. Use technology.
Technology plays an important role in standardizing, storing and organizing the knowledge base. Many organizations opt for an intranet platform designed specifically for this purpose.
7. Make it searchable.
In the digital workplace, employees need to find what they need, fast. Include filters and robust search features. Tag articles to make searching for content easy.
8. Just get started.
If it’s time to put your company guidelines, documentation and processes all in one place, you’re ready to build a knowledge base. Start with the basics – choosing topics, contributors, style and technology platform – then get writing. You’ll have a functioning and effective knowledge base in no time, one you can build and improve on over time. No matter how much content you add, a modern knowledge base remains navigable, reliable and accessible.
Armed with an effective plan for creating and building a knowledge base on a shared platform, your company can remove information silos, eliminate productivity roadblocks, improve collaboration and enhance decision-making. And when employees are empowered to do their jobs faster and more efficiently, it’s good for your bottom line.
Ready to build your knowledge base?
One of your company’s most valuable assets is knowledge—and in today’s competitive marketplace – you can’t afford to lose it. With Igloo’s knowledge management solutions, you can build a knowledge base that not only houses your content but captures new knowledge and ideas as they develop.