Having a knowledge base for your company is almost like having your own internal Wikipedia.
Don’t know the standard procedure to finish a task? Unsure where to find your company’s official policy on a key issue? Wondering who’s in charge if a computer breaks down?
While these questions may seem self-explanatory to some, others can spend hours looking for answers.
But if you collect all your company knowledge in one place, finding answers to this and plenty of other questions will be a breeze.
That’s why in this article, we’ve listed five benefits of building a quality knowledge base that will hopefully encourage you to create one for your business. Let’s start with the first one.
Simplifies Employee Onboarding
Many companies decide to build a knowledge base simply because it streamlines the onboarding process.
Quality onboarding is especially important for increasing retention and reducing employee turnover, so anything that simplifies the initiation of new hires should be a priority.
The documents in your knowledge base centralize all key policies, work procedures, rules and regulations, and code of conduct in one place.
When you hire new employees and give them access to your knowledge base, they can go through important company documentation at their own pace. They no longer have to pull the sleeve of managers or the HR department or write emails to get key information. Everything is just a click away.
For example, Pronto Marketing does a great job streamlining the onboarding process by putting their knowledge base front and center on their corporate website.
Their knowledge base is primarily an onboarding manual aimed at providing the new hires with all the necessary information to start the new job with ease.
From the description of the first 90 days at the company, through benefits and compensation overview, to the list of important contacts, key facts enable new hires to find their bearings and become familiar with the company’s way of doing things.
In addition, with a good knowledge base in place, onboarding no longer needs to be confined to company premises and can be done from the comfort of the new employee’s home.
That way, they don’t have to go through sensitive legal documents at work, especially since the first few days are usually pretty hectic and full of meetings, leaving new recruits little or no time to focus on rules and policies.
They can browse through them from home, public transportation, or even cafés and then ask the managers to further explain the issues they may be struggling with.
From all that has been said so far, it is clear that knowledge base documentation greatly facilitates and simplifies the onboarding process, making it unified, cohesive, and equal for all new hires.
Improves Workplace Efficiency
It takes a lot of time and effort to understand the company's basic procedures, strategies, and operations, as well as to find the key information necessary to do the job.
And it’s not just the newbies that get lost in the labyrinth of documentation. It’s the existing employees, too.
According to research conducted by McKinsey, the average employee spends nearly 20 percent of their time looking for information about work processes, or asking other team members to help them solve specific issues.
Inquiring around the office or digging through a mess of folders containing internal documents contained on the company server can be very time-consuming and frustrating. As you can imagine, it can also hurt the employees’ performance.
That’s why it’s a good idea to organize and structure your knowledge base documentation in one easy-accessible place and make sure everyone can find the necessary information whenever they need it.
Dropbox, the famous file hosting service, went above and beyond in enabling companies worldwide to store their knowledge base documentation in one place and share it with their team members.
While creating a knowledge base from scratch may be challenging, Dropbox makes it much easier thanks to its user-friendly interface and cloud-based depository.
With Dropbox, users can search, edit, add and archive documents from anywhere in the company and find them quickly with just a few clicks of the mouse.
This example shows us that having a centralized knowledge base can positively affect productivity and effectiveness.
If you give your workers a reference point where they can quickly find all the information they need, they will be able to focus more on the tasks related to their job.
If they know in the back of their minds that they already have all the needed information to do the job and can access it whenever they want, they'll be more relaxed and more focused on the assignment at hand.
And that is a crucial factor for increasing the performance of the employees. Knowing that all the necessary information is within their grasp, they will be able to contribute more to the company's growth and development.
Reduces Workplace Errors
In modern business, mistakes are generally regarded as an excellent way to learn and improve performance.
After all, if you don't allow your employees to make mistakes, they will learn at a much slower pace and take longer to become truly great at their job.
But when employees are repeating the same mistakes over and over again, creating a quality knowledge base can be one of the best ways to reduce the most common mistakes to a minimum.
That doesn't mean that you will no longer encourage trying new things in your workforce. It just means that you will standardize the company's procedures and operations so that all the employees will know how to handle routine tasks to avoid errors as much as possible.
Instead of relying on their assumptions and vague ideas on how the job should be done—which undoubtedly increases the risk for errors—employees will now be able to follow procedures with step-by-step instructions for handling a specific issue.
A unified knowledge base will also enable team members to solve problems consistently across departments, thus reducing the chances of an error on all levels of your business.
For instance, a knowledge base software ScreenSteps developed the Zero Memorization Performance Support System that enables employees to reduce information overload, memorize only the information crucial for their business, and avoid critical mistakes.
The software allows employees to perform routine tasks by relying on interactive guides that help them make decisions, answer questions from clients or customers, or complete procedures.
By standardizing the procedures in one single knowledge base, employees don’t need to memorize a large number of facts on a daily basis and can make decisions supported by data and readily available knowledge.
A central knowledge base can also reduce the possibility of mistakes that happen due to miscommunication.
Here’s how. Before it’s published, all information is reviewed, verified, and approved, so employees will have an error-free knowledge base to rely on, which will ultimately lead to fewer mistakes in their work.
As you can see, a quality knowledge base can go a long way in preventing errors in the workplace and ensuring consistency across departments.
Unifies Knowledge Storage
In today's fast-paced business world, it’s pretty standard for employees to change jobs every couple of years.
But the problem is that when they leave, they also take their valuable knowledge, insights, and expertise with them.
That can seriously disrupt the company’s internal dynamics, especially if they leave without notice and don't pass on their knowledge to other employees.
Therefore, it's vital to encourage employees to record all their workflows and include them in the knowledge base so you can unify your company's documentation in one place.
As a result, your knowledge base will probably grow rapidly. Therefore, another thing you should consider is where to store it, which should preferably be a place where you can quickly add, edit, and update documents.
One of the ways you can ensure that you never lose any vital company procedure, strategy, presentation, spreadsheet, or any other essential document is to store them in a quality knowledge library like our own documentation software, Archbee.
Archbee has a centralized dashboard and drag-and-drop interface, making it very easy to use, even for beginners.
The menu on the left allows users to search and browse through the knowledge base. Other features include the possibility to add comments and communicate with other team members, as you can see in the picture above, which can come in handy when working on a project.
As it can organize files based on projects and departments, Archbee is excellent for additional collaboration between departments and unification of knowledge.
In many companies, several teams collaborate on the same project, and sometimes even experts from outside the company have some input on it, too.
The right software solution allows everyone to have access to the same documentation, procedures, and strategies so the project can run without a hitch.
At the same time, everyone can use their knowledge and expertise to further enhance the knowledge base by adding new documents or making changes to existing ones, and thanks to the changelog function, updates are easy to track.
This way, the knowledge base is constantly a work in progress, and the best part of it is that it’s saved in one single place so it won’t get lost if the employees decide to pursue their careers elsewhere.
Boosts Employee Engagement
We’ve all been in a situation where we don’t know how to complete the task, so we have to bother our coworkers for every little thing.
While this can be rather uncomfortable for us, our fellow coworkers aren't too happy either because someone is constantly interrupting them in their work.
It goes without saying that a lack of information can cause dissatisfaction and disputes among employees, leaving them feeling unmotivated to do their job with passion and enthusiasm.
And that can be a huge problem if you want to run a successful business.
So, how can a solid knowledge base boost engagement among your employees? It’s simple: it can make them feel more confident and secure in their work, thereby raising their engagement levels.
But, in order for that to happen, your knowledge base needs to fulfill a couple of conditions.
First and foremost, it would be a good idea to establish your knowledge base as a resourceful authority where employees can come to search for help.
This means that your knowledge base will be true to its words: a repository where the knowledge is stored.
This knowledge must be accurate, up-to-date, and relevant to employees, while containing everything they need to do the job, from company values and principles to operations, strategies, and procedures.
If they know how to access the information they need, they will no longer have to bother other team members for help.
As a result, they will be more satisfied, and consequently more engaged at work.
Another way you can use the knowledge base to engage your employees is to invite them to pitch in and share their knowledge with others.
For example, if your employees have specific knowledge that could be useful to other team members, you can ask them to write it down and incorporate it into the knowledge base.
This is another feature that is central to Archbee, our documentation software.
Archbee has an intuitive text editor that makes writing up and editing policies, procedures, and advice for employees as easy as writing a blog or a Word document.
There are more than 20 custom blocks to choose from, so it’s never been easier to enrich text documents with images, videos, diagrams, and a host of other formats.
This means every member of your team, whether they’re a marketer, HR expert, or software developer, will have a way to record their knowledge and easily share it with the whole company.
And if you ask them to share their expertise and write it down in a piece of software like this, which will publish their articles online in a matter of seconds, employees will feel proud, valued, and more motivated.
Finally, we shouldn't forget one of the essential benefits of sharing knowledge.
When we pass on the company's know-how to the employees, they can learn and grow to become top performers in their field.
As the company is investing its resources into their professional development, employees will feel highly appreciated.
In return, they just may surprise you when their engagement increases beyond your expectations. So it’s a win-win situation for everyone.
In this article, we’ve tried to explain why sharing knowledge is one of the most important aspects of every company and every business.
Having a knowledge base in place not only boosts the engagement, motivation, and performance of the employees but also encourages a culture where collaboration and sharing insights are highly valued.
With all the advantages the quality knowledge base can bring to your company, it makes sense to start building one for your business.