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Do you have a shared company drive where you guys keep all the data you use when doing your tasks? Do you use emails and Google Documents to share your knowledge? Or, do you use Dropbox to do this? Seriously, you guys need (to discover) the knowledge base.
If you are a midsized company and you still haven’t built your own internal knowledge base then, you have a serious problem.
According to McKinsey’s research, the average interaction worker spends nearly 20 percent of his work time searching for relevant internal information or asking other colleagues to help him with specific issues. The research further implies that a searchable record of knowledge can reduce the time employees spend searching for company-related information for up to 35 percent!
Grrr, this part is hard to read let’s rewrite it like this:
If your employee works 8 hours a day, then he spends at least 1.6 hours searching for the information he needs to get his job done!
That’s 8 HOURS/week per employee!
Let’s say you have 50 employees: 8×50 = 400 HOURS/week.
That’s 1600 HOURS/month!
(You don’t even need a calculator to calculate this).
And that’s based only on the time a single employee spends while searching for the information, the time of other employees who will have to interact with the ones who need help is not even calculated!
So, in reality, this number of spent hours on this kind of interaction is doubled or tripled! That’s a LOT of time and a LOT of money.
Now, the second part of that boring sentence from McKinsey’s research:
The research further implies that a searchable record of knowledge can reduce the time employees spend searching for company-related information for up to 35 percent!
All you have to do is to Google this: 35% of 19200. It’s that easy.
You’ll get something like this:
6720 HOURS/year. Yep, that’s the time which can (or HAS to) be saved calculated for a company with 50 employees.
– Yeah, the employees who ask stupid questions all the time are costing us a million dollars a year! Let’s bash them so they never ask again!
Well, no need to blame employees for asking questions. Actually, you should be happy that they are trying at all.
#1 Fewer assumptions, more confidence
If we consider that people, in general, prefer self-service, then it is easy to calculate that employees prefer to find their answers without asking others. So, this might lead to a situation where a newly hired employee starts to feel uncomfortable to ask too many questions although his position gives him full rights to do so.
Not to mention the number of assumptions which are to be made in this kind of working environment where you have to ask someone about something all the time!
Of course, you will always have a reason to communicate with other employees, but, this communication should be beyond trivial questions that need to be asked and answered again and again.
#2 Better collaboration, better employee engagement + more efficiency
We have already discussed how it is hard to engage your employees and how this can be easily improved with an internal knowledge base.
It’s pretty simple:
Better communication at your company equals better employee engagement.
There are numerous studies about how better communication improves engagement, and even more of them about how employee engagement improves productivity. One of the most interesting facts is that actually only 25% businesses have a defined strategy for improving employee engagement.
Establishing better communication will increase engagement. So, where to start from?
Of course, you are probably already using some kind of service for your internal communication, like #Slack or Basecamp but, with implementing an internal knowledge base you can get rid of boring communication where your senior employees have to repeat all the answers again and again.
#3 Better employee onboarding
Even if you are hiring an experienced employee who has a lot of technical information about the job he is going to do, you still have to introduce them to your company and your product.
When the process of hiring and firing advances to the point where a number of new employees are hired weekly, onboarding by sending company information via e-mail and answering the requests for some additional information again and again can be much more painful than gathering all these data into a knowledge base and sending just couple of links to your new employees.
#4 Reduced employee training time
In the world of SaaS and any other businesses where the most of the workforce operates and interacts online from different parts of the world, employee training must be done online, too.
Considering that these employees who are going to be trained to do the job properly will not be hired all at once, but rather gradually, holding separate online training sessions via Skype, TeamViewer or similar tools can take a lot of precious time.
All this training process can be done through the internal knowledge base instead. This part, as any other, can contain videos, pictures and everything a new employee needs to learn.
This way the learning process can easily become part of everyday activities if needed.
#5 Better customer support
How many times have you been held on a customer support call and you were sure that the guy didn’t know the answer so he went out to ask his colleagues about the issue?
Even the best customer support employees with plenty of technical knowledge will have to ask for some information somewhere from time to time.
The internal knowledge base with relevant technical information will do a lot here and it could be the best way to avoid your customer support office looks like a bazaar. It saves your time, money and improves your customer support.
#6 Higher customer satisfaction
Obviously, better employee engagement and better collaboration create more efficient working environment. Furthermore, this leads to better customer service and more effective customer support so, at the end of the chain, your customers will be more satisfied and less likely to churn.
And what’s more important for your business than customer satisfaction?
Once you have happy customers, you don’t actually need to care about the new customer acquisition that much. According to a research conducted by AmericanExpress, every single happy customer has a potential to bring nine more customers with himself just based on the good experience he had with your company.
#7 Investing for the future
Hey, we almost forgot what the knowledge base serves for! Storing the knowledge and making it accessible and searchable, right? Once you store it, you actually possess it!
In the world of rapid-evolving businesses, the only thing you can really possess is the knowledge. Your business can change its name, your business can change its goals, your business can even stop existing but the knowledge you gather during the process is what matters the most. Now, like never before, knowledge became the most valuable currency.
You can’t and you don’t want to have all the knowledge your employees have.
However, you could possess that knowledge. You could store it and make it available for everyone in your company so it can be used and improved. That’s the only way to go. And to do that, sooner or later, you will have to build your own internal knowledge base.