Building an external knowledge base for customers is a great way to enhance their experience by enabling self-service (and to reduce support costs). For this reason, many companies create a knowledge base packed with FAQs, product documentation, how-to guides and feature updates for their users or customers.
Many companies don’t realize, however, that a knowledge base can also support employee development and boost internal operations.
Why Create an Internal Company Knowledge Base?
An internal company knowledge base enables you to centralize all essential company information and useful resources for employees in one easily accessible location. It can also help you bring new employees up to speed more quickly while streamlining your company’s workflows and processes.
For instance, an internal knowledge base can include design guidelines for the creative team, outreach templates for marketers, onboarding materials and tutorials for new employees and other content to help to keep employees on track for continuous development.
Here’s a straightforward approach to creating a useful knowledge base for (and with) your employees:
4 Steps to Creating a Useful Knowledge Base
1. Decide Which Content and Resources to Include
You’ll cover company policies and guidelines in your knowledge base — but they’re just a drop in the bucket. A valuable internal knowledge base empowers employees to be more efficient in their everyday duties, from coding and content creation to sales and customer service.
While it makes sense to cover everything you think would be beneficial for your teams, it’s important to make sure employees don’t feel overwhelmed with information when they try to use the base. Consider your company’s existing processes, and solicit feedback from employees of different departments to determine common concerns and topics that you can address in the knowledge base. For example, after a quick chat with your advertising team, you may find out that having battle-tested bidding strategies in your knowledge base can help them achieve quicker results in their campaigns.
You don’t need to create all the content from scratch. Find out what content you already have (it could be in the form of blog posts, sales material, etc.), and repurpose it for your knowledge base.
2. Ensure the Content Is Easy to Consume
For your knowledge base to be a truly handy resource for your employees, make sure the content is easy to find and consume. If it’s a help document on how to answer common customer support queries, it makes sense to use an FAQ format. Conversely, to lay out the latest best practices for your design team, an illustrative infographic or slideshow may be a better approach.
Also, outline a clear structure and content hierarchy so employees don’t waste time while navigating the base. A search bar is a must as it enables employees to quickly find the resource they need.
3. Let Different Teams Collaborate on the Knowledge Base Content
Encourage employees from different departments to create and collaborate on content for the company knowledge base. Doing so will help make employees feel more involved with the base and engaged with each other.
For example: One of your more experienced developers writes a quick article on user experience best practices. A new developer reads the article and finds it useful, so he gives it a “like.” Then, a more seasoned developer notes that a couple of important points are missing in the article, so she leaves a comment, and the author adds those points to the article.
Just like that, your employees are bonding, learning and developing as a team. You can even create templates for easier content contribution.
4. Keep the Base up to Date
As your company grows, so must your knowledge base. Keep it updated with the latest information, and delete outdated content that’s no longer relevant. For full transparency, you can also add data about the company’s growth, such as the number of deals closed in the last quarter or the results of the latest customer satisfaction survey. Senior leaders can also add their personal insights with the aim of empowering employee development.
An up-to-date internal knowledge base improves employee productivity and collaboration and supports their continuous development. It requires an investment of time and effort, but if you put these tips into practice, you’ll quickly realize the returns on your investment in terms of happier, more effective employees and better business results.