Whether your business has been working remotely for a while or just getting started, managing your business processes is something you need to go smoothly if your team wants to be successful.
It’s often the case in new or young businesses that knowledge tends to live in peoples’ heads rather than documented. This isolated knowledge usually means that when team members leave, knowledge is lost. Or, when new members join your team, onboarding is time-consuming and repetitive. This becomes even more complex in the remote working world.
This article will explore six reasons why your remote business needs a knowledge base template—to help you build a business case for this project in 2021.
No matter how great your product is, if you’re not documenting its journey, then you’re losing a heap of data, knowledge, and time along the way. A problem easily solved by implementing a knowledge base.
Six reasons why your remote business needs a knowledge base
It can be challenging to get a knowledge base at the top of your business priorities. Especially when there’s so much going on that often wins priority over long-term projects. However, if your business isn’t aligned, then growth is stunted or slow without a knowledge base keeping everything in one place.
Let’s get into the six reasons why a knowledge base template can help your remote business grow.
1. Look after your data
Any business, no matter how remote, deals with data. It’s our life-blood, and we know the importance of it. At the same time, businesses deal with a lot of internal data of great value for business growth.
Whether that’s human resources-related data like staff absences and CSR initiatives or project management data, your company knowledge base can store it all.
Your knowledge base can be a reference point, and a great learning curb should you reintroduce an initiative or start a similar project in the future. You’ll have data to benchmark your KPIs against and quantitative information that you can use to tweak your strategy for the second time around. What’s more, with all of the new (and ever-changing) regulations around data protection, it’s easy for your employees to get lost in what is expected of them. This is particularly true of remote working businesses who might be working across national boundaries and need to know key information like the difference between GDPR and CCPA.
2. Build a smoother HR experience
Having your data in one place means you log processes, and onboarding and offboarding staff runs that much smoother and efficiently.
- Employee offboarding
It’s a harsh fact of business; people leave, for whatever reason. But their knowledge doesn’t have to go with them.
When building a company knowledge base, you’ll identify your business’s key stakeholders and the knowledge they have. You can then assign these stakeholders to take the knowledge base template you’ve created and ask them to fill it with information that currently only they have.
These key stakeholders can be team managers, or you can get into the specifics with certain roles like designers, copywriters, sales team members, etc.
It means you track all of these daily processes, project checklists, tools, resources, and important docs and store them well. So, when someone leaves, your business is as prepared as possible to handle it.
Any business owner knows the pains of onboarding a new employee. It’s a time-consuming process and can be very costly. Hiring and onboarding a recruit can cost companies anything between $3,000 to 33% of the recruit’s annual salary.
Plus, it’s not uncommon for HR or hiring team managers to spend days, even weeks bringing a new employee up-to-speed with all of the information they need to know on the business. There are so many processes, current projects, and important resources for the new hire to learn to succeed in their role.
A knowledge base can eradicate a lot of that time that’s essentially repetitive and wasteful. You’ll end up empowering employees to self-learn and discover company knowledge on their own.
It can also be overwhelming for a new hire to retain the mountains of information they come across in their first few weeks with your company. By introducing them to a knowledge base, you eradicate any chance of embarrassment or uncertainty. It’s a win, win.
By shifting your employee onboarding process to your company knowledge base and providing the resources, business processes, and essential information that a new hire needs, you’ll save time for your current employees and provide a more sustainable learning curb for your new ones.
3. Integrate with the tools you love
A knowledge base doesn’t need to be something that sits separate from your working tools. It’s there to enhance your company processes, which means it’s there to work with them, not in a silo.
A great knowledge base can integrate with the tools you’re already using: Slack, Trello, Google Calendar, Asana, Figma, Github. You name it; your knowledge base should be able to integrate with it.
What does this mean? It means you’ll be able to work seamlessly in one app or with one tool and pull the information you need from your knowledge base with ease. Your favorite tools can communicate and work with each other to ensure you can focus on creating great work.
4. Maximize time management
We’ve all been there, searching for documents or processes for much longer than we should be. A not so fun fact, 20% of employees’ business time consists of searching for information to do their job successfully—that’s one day a week!
Especially with remote companies, it can be a pain having to jump through Slack contacts, juggling who is in your time zone, and who has the information you’re looking for or can at least point you in the right direction.
A knowledge base eradicates that wasted time hunting for knowledge and stores it all in one place. If you set up your knowledge base so that it’s easily searched, any employee can find the information they need on their initiative without needing to rely on someone else.
5. Manage external resources
External resources are probably the most difficult to track for any company, but there’s no doubt you’ve got them—it’s just figuring out where.
Post-2020 pandemic, 47% of hiring managers are more likely to hire a freelancer than before. If—like many—you’re now outsourcing talent to freelancers, agencies, or third-party providers, then there’s a high chance you’ve got valuable information sitting in google drive files or on email chains that others could need in the future.
A knowledge base is your safe keeper of all external resources. Whether you’re linking out to resources or choosing to store the information in the knowledge base itself, you’ll be able to control who has access to what.
You can limit the information external stakeholders have access to, so you don’t need to worry about anyone getting their hands on sensitive data.
6. Get your team on the same page
One of the most important things about a knowledge base is the unity it can bring your team and company. It literally gets everyone on the same page.
Whether you’re using it to store company policies, org-wide KPIs and goals, or to keep track of running projects, a successful knowledge base allows everyone to understand the company and their team’s priorities, as well as the reason behind those priorities.
Clear up any misunderstanding between departments and give a clear overview of how all departments support each other.
This is particularly useful for remote businesses which carry out UX Research, as consumer insights into your brand or website (think offering your remote services to users online) are particularly important for remote businesses, yet they often get lost in the communication channels of remote working teams. Your entire team needs to be aware of the impact that your brand or website is having on users, not just those at the helm of the team, in order to get your remote business to succeed. You can integrate your usability knowledge in a knowledge base template and solve these communications in the touch of a button.
Your knowledge base is your employees’ home from home. It’s a place they can explore and learn more about the company. It’s a place they can rely on when they’re ever in need of company information.
Wait, what’s an external knowledge base?
With everything we’ve discussed above, your business can increase its internal operations and efficiency. However, there’s more. A knowledge base doesn’t stop at an internal resource; it can be an external, customer-facing resource too.
Home security IoT business, Simplisafe, has a great example of a clear and searchable, customer-facing knowledge base. The Simplisafe team has broken the KB into products and offers a search bar so customers can jump straight into what they’re seeking.
Customer-facing knowledge bases, also known as knowledge hubs or resource centers, are designed around your customers’ frequently asked questions and success stories. This resource combines everything a customer needs to know to efficiently use your product, alongside everything they want to know to get the maximum benefit from your product.
It can act as a support center and a customer success team all at once. You are saving your staff time and creating time to work on larger projects and your product’s longevity, rather than dealing with daily, repetitive inquiries. The perfect hack for any remote team.
Wrapping it all up
Whether you’ve identified that you need an internal knowledge base or an external one in 2021, there’s no questioning the benefits it can bring your remote business. If you’re in a time of rapid growth or looking for a bit of stability now things are calming down, it’s essential to prioritize building a knowledge base.
Yes, it will be time-consuming. However, the effort is well worth it as both your employees, your customers, or both will be thankful for this essential resource.