Savvy organizations understand the importance of having a knowledge base that is more than just a static repository. They want a place where people connect and collaborate with each other and contribute the information they need to get work done that can be accessed at any time and from any device.
However, translating your vision for a private knowledge base into reality isn’t always straightforward. Here are 11 quick tips for implementing an effective internal knowledge base.
What is a Private Knowledge Base?
Private knowledge bases are internal repositories deployed by companies to share information and collaborate on projects between internal teams. They provide employees with important, easy-to-find information and, since it’s an internal repository, there is no risk of sharing private or sensitive information with the general public. Employees are encouraged to share content and contribute to the collective knowledge base.
A private knowledge base offers many benefits to the organization and its staff. It organizes and stores content enabling it to be shared and searched. Typical knowledge bases contain how-to articles, troubleshooting information, FAQs, manuals, useful updates and more. A good internal knowledge base streamlines communication across teams, saving time and energy.
1. Focus On Relevancy
All knowledge is local. If you want to drive knowledge base utilization and contribution levels, prioritize relevancy ahead of comprehensiveness. Identify the core topic areas that are the most relevant to your teams and populate that content first. Once you have staff engagement you can gradually build your knowledge base to embrace other topics. Building a knowledge base works best when you create and document frequently encountered issues and concerns.
2. Frequent Updates and Fresh Content
If you want to get the most productivity out of your private knowledge base, ensure it is regularly updated and populated with fresh content. New insights and information need to be seamlessly incorporated when available. As employees interact with the knowledge base, they can continuously review information, contribute content and add their feedback. This approach ensures that knowledge is updated and maintained continuously, offering consistent value and insights.
3. Content Creation
Your private knowledge base enables your company to reach audiences organization-wide regardless of geography, time zones or office hours based on the content you create and share. For optimal results, integrate blogs and social media posts and include marketing content to drive market awareness and brand consciousness across the organization. Your content can include video, images, multimedia, search engine optimization strategies and other special features.
4. Create a Simple and Streamlined Taxonomy
Your online knowledge base has to be easy to search and understand if you expect internal staff to use it. It is important to incorporate a streamlined navigation model to enable internal collaboration and facilitate knowledge capture, sharing and update information easily. Smart taxonomies and easy-to-use navigation encourage your internal teams to review, access and update your corporate knowledge at any time.
5. Continuous Improvement
For a knowledge base to be embraced, it requires continuous improvement and ongoing enhancement. As you grow and manage your company knowledge base, employees can search for answers in a targeted and efficient manner. The effectiveness of your knowledge base is dependent on your company’s ability to create, edit and review content on a regular basis to build in ongoing improvements.
6. Beacon of Best Practice
Creating a zone within an internal knowledge base where experienced team members or subject matter experts can outline their best practices, important information and operations guides, means the company’s intellectual property is never lost and is being actively leveraged. In addition to acting as a valuable memory backup, an internal knowledge base helps to keep procedures and information consistent across the company.
7. Mobile Connectivity
Mobile technology has become a primary means of accessing the Internet. Mobile devices save both money and time and enable geographically dispersed or embedded staff requires access to an organization’s knowledge management system while they’re on-the-go, or working remotely.
8. Collaboration and Decision-making
Look to incorporate wiki-style functionality within your private knowledge base to facilitate staff collaboration on projects, especially if they are spread across different departments or in different offices across the country, or even the globe. This limits duplication of effort and allows for ideas to be brainstormed, facilitating communication and discussion.
9. Social Media in eLearning
Adding a social dimension to your knowledge base helps procure a virtual network of subject matter experts. Rather than being entirely instructor-led, participants can build their own storehouse of subject matter expertise, debating the finer points amongst themselves. Participants contribute answers and on-topic discussions. Incorporating social interaction into your knowledge base allows for more immediate feedback and that feedback motivates engagement.
10. Gamification of Learning
Social networking isn’t the only hot trend in knowledge base design these days. By applying game mechanics, organizations can increase consumption. The goal is to use your time productively so that you walk away better able to do something than you were before you took the training.
Collaboration and learning are time-sensitive. Online training needs to build skills quickly. Games need to be engaging, build skills and increase retention. Community and gaming features have been shown to increase knowledge consumption.
11. Manage Metrics
Measuring success when starting a knowledge management initiative is an important step toward improving team performance. Some simple metrics to consider include:
- Number of articles created and updated by the team.
- Number of articles contributed by external team members.
- Number of articles utilized by the team.
- Number of incidents with article links.
By tracking the right metrics hand-in-hand with your knowledge base you’re building a winning combination that’s smart, effective and constantly learning. That’s a winning combination.
When you build a knowledge base, it’s important to keep these things in mind to ensure consistent acceptance of the knowledge base, consistent employee training, and consistent collaboration among your employees. Stay organized and empower your staff to add information, review content regularly and update information so it is easy to navigate and understand.
Jason Grills is a writer and a technical support executive currently associated with ProProfs Knowledgebase Software. He enjoys writing about emerging software products, new designs and trends in content marketing. He lives in Los Angeles, California. In his spare time, Jason enjoys pampering his pet dogs, shopping, and doing all things creative.