Many businesses have a customer-facing knowledge base for their customers and clients, which has proven to be a great way to enhance customer satisfaction. But a lot of companies don’t realize an internal knowledge base is just as important to improve their internal operations.
As companies continue to grow, there are often lots of information and guidelines that team members need to know. If information isn’t organized in a way that is easily accessible, what you can expect would be lots of constantly repeated questions and meetings that hinder the productivity of your team.
In this article, we will share tips on how to build an effective internal knowledge base and how to encourage team members to contribute in the knowledge sharing process.
Benefits of a well-organized internal knowledge base
While it takes effort to build an internal knowledge base, the effort will pay off later. Here are just a few of the benefits of having a well-structured company knowledge base.
- Centralized information – Teams nowadays often rely on multiple tools to get their work done. By centralizing all the important information and guidelines in your team knowledge base, your teammates won’t have to search in multiple places just to find a piece of information.
- Lower onboarding costs and training time – You can help new hires get up to speed more quickly by providing them with well-structured on-boarding checklists and reading lists, so they can prepare themselves by reading all the necessary materials before training.
- Improve productivity – Having a easy-to-search team knowledge base, you can free the time of managers by reducing the number of repeated questions. Teammates also don’t have to wait for a long time before they can get an answer, which otherwise can impede their work.
- More effective workflows, reduce repeated mistakes – By documenting retrospective learning and sharing best practices and guidelines, you can guide employees to follow a more unified approach to ensure efficiency and avoid mistakes that have happened before already.
How to choose a team knowledge management tool?
There’s a plethora of company wiki tools to pick from if you want to create a team knowledge base for your team. The best tools adapt to the way your team works. When choosing a knowledge management tool, these are the features you should take a look at:
Ease of use and fast searching
Usually the most knowledgeable persons in your team are also the busiest people in the team. Your knowledge base tool should be easy to use so even the busiest person in the team can contribute to building your company knowledge hub with minimal effort needed.
The knowledge base tool should also support fast and effective search so teammates can pull up information that they need quickly. This way, they have less incentive to just tap on someone’s shoulder to ask instead and interrupts their work.
Nowadays, teams often rely on multiple tools to get their job done, organizing the fragmented information scattered among all these tools can be time-consuming without the right tool.
By choosing a team knowledge management tool that integrates well with the tools that your team heavily uses, your teammates can easily add new information to your knowledge base or retrieve information that they need easily directly in their workflow. Check out the integrations we offered at Kipwise to get a sense 🙂
Creating a team knowledge base should be a team effort. Look out for tools which allow the teams to actively create and update the knowledge bases together.
Consider collaborative features of knowledge management tools such as:
- Real-time collaborative editing – so teammates can edit the same docs at the same time and see the changes immediately
- Advanced permission control – so you can allow teammates to contribute while not needing to worry they might accidentally edit the wrong parts. For example, using Kipwise, you can allow someone to edit a certain folder but only allow them to view another folder (e.g. a marketer can edit the Marketing folder but can only view the Sales folder).
What should be included in the internal knowledge base?
The main goal of having an internal knowledge base is to help your teammates do the work more efficiently. So ask yourself the questions below when deciding what to include in your team knowledge base.
- What are the things that everyone in your team should know? That are usually the things that HR will walk through new hires when they first join. So they likely include company mission, employee guidelines such as holiday policy, office essentials such as wifi password.
- What are the frequently asked questions in the team? One best way to continuously build your knowledge base is by adding more information when someone asked a question that you cannot find the answer on your knowledge base yet.
- Team guidelines and best practices – for example, to help your sales team close deals faster and increase win rates, you can share sales playbook, demo best practices, script, email templates and document sales reviews such as common objections, key customer pain points, lost reasons.
If you need more ideas, check out our use cases for some useful wiki page templates.
Encouraging team collaboration on building up the internal knowledge base
Different people in your team know best about different things, so creating a team knowledge base should be a team effort. Here are some tips to encourage teammates to build up your team knowledge base in a collaborative way.
1. Making the teams a part of the process when choosing the tool
Involve your team when deciding which knowledge management tool to use. Don’t just show up with the “ideal” tool that you just picked and expect teammates will just use it. There might be things that teammates value in a knowledge management tool that you may not realize.
2. Reward contribution
Often times, helping to maintain the team knowledge base is not directly tied to one’s KPI so we have to make teammates feel that their effort is acknowledged when they are contributing to the team knowledge base.
A lot of the time, just a little appreciation like giving a thumbs up on Slack would be a good encouragement. Team culture apps like HeyTaco! and Disco are worth exploring that can help you encourage more appreciation among team members to drive behavior.
3. Lead by example and remind teammates
Sometimes it takes time to adapt to new tools. Stay patient throughout the process, and lead by example. Managers can take the lead and create the initial docs and share with the team.
When teammates answer a question that isn’t on the knowledge base yet, remind them to also save it to the knowledge base. Likewise, when teammates forget to search the team knowledge base before asking a question on your team chat, try to answer them with content on the knowledge base so they will remember to search first next time.
For more tips, check out our client case study on how Playground XYZ encourages team engagement in knowledge sharing.
Are you looking for a good internal knowledge base software? Contact us today to get started with your Kipwise free trial!