Empower Employees with a Digital Knowledge Base

Jascha Zittel

When most people have virtually all the information at their fingertips, cutting through the informational chaos and grabbing the necessary information becomes a true skill.

If you’re browsing at your pace, there’s no pressure to be quick — but working people need information ASAP, especially the frontline staff. Moreover, everything has to be 100% correct and double-checked in a digestible format. 

That’s where a digital knowledge base comes to the rescue! This self-service information vault provides all the speed of a browser search minus the ads, distractions, and other digital noise. 

Today, we’ll dedicate special attention to the employee knowledge base and show you how to build the most reliable and convenient one so your staff will love and use it often.

What Is a Digital Knowledge Base?

A digital knowledge base is a centralised digital collection of educational, informational, and training content. 

The purpose of the digital knowledge base is to be self-serviceable. The knowledge base assets are stored in a way that allows the users to access the content themselves without ringing higher-ups or customer support. 

Digital knowledge bases are built with different permission layers, keeping some knowledge exclusive to specific user types and roles and unavailable to others.

Depending on who the intended users are, there are two types of knowledge bases: external and internal.

External Knowledge Base

The intended users are outside the organisation/business, most often customers.

An external knowledge base aims to help customers (and other interested parties) resolve the issues with a product/service or get the desired info without involving customer support.

External knowledge provides content such as:

  • Video tutorials;
  • How-tos;
  • Technical documentation;
  • Blog posts;
  • FAQs;
  • Troubleshooting;
  • Help centres.

As it’s publicly available, this content may double as an SEO/marketing asset if optimised correctly.

Internal Knowledge Base

An internal knowledge base (also known as an employee knowledge base) caters to company employees and helps build operational efficiency. 

It is mostly kept private, as it contains confidential and strategic information and trade secrets. Obviously, employees will make use of some content found in the external knowledge base, as needed. 

These are just some of the materials of a rich internal library you should build for employee use:

  • Company and employee information (websites, contacts, addresses, chain of command, employee roles);
  • Brand design and marketing assets (names, trademark information, visual identity, brand voice, social media profiles);
  • Company policies (benefits, PTO, insurance, promotions, awards);
  • Training and onboarding materials;
  • SOPs and internal processes;
  • Tech/IT information (account access information, toolkit manuals);
  • Company calendar (product launches, corporate events, etc.)

There are no two identical knowledge bases. 

They are highly contextual and adapt to the needs of your workforce, the complexity and sensitivity of the information they store, and the available ways to share and distribute the knowledge base contents. 

Why Should You Build an Internal Knowledge Base

Right off the bat, it is clear that a digital knowledge base for your employees is a huge time saver.

But it wouldn’t be fair to end it there because internal knowledge bases prevent so many issues and help with any internal process you can think of.

#1 Better Quality of Employee Onboarding and Training

Have you ever heard of employee pre-boarding?

It’s more than a mere buzzword. 

This part of the onboarding process ensures the new team members show up on their first day with more knowledge and confidence, ready to successfully tackle their first tasks.

Providing your staff in training with a pre-made knowledge base is a key to great onboarding.

People can access the knowledge base and learn on their terms, without the pressure or urgency of formal training — but as a great supplement that doesn’t require anyone else’s immediate attention.

#2 Facilitated Cross-Functional Team Collaboration

Different teams often join forces to brainstorm ideas or work on the same project — but having no shared knowledge base may cause a collision.

With an employee knowledge base in place, everyone is always on the same page, with information and processes aligned. This enables all staff members to follow through with plans and deadlines, especially if teams depend on one another.

#3 Enhanced Safety Procedures

As mentioned above, the internal knowledge base contains sensitive information, such as account passcodes and employees’ personal information.

Storing everything in a carefully built and secured database ensures the information doesn’t slip away. Whoever builds the knowledge base can establish special safety protocols that keep the information safe. 

The experts from IT teams set up data encryption and 2FA/MFA, and teach their coworkers how to handle their accounts and devices safely, with instructions stored in the knowledge base.

#4 Overall Process Standardization

Having processes and a chain of command clearly established speeds things up and boosts efficiency. Still, no matter how simple the process is, someone will inevitably stray and disrupt the workflow at some point. 

That’s where knowledge bases come in handy: employees can take a look at sketched-out SOPs for anything and prevent mistakes from happening. Even if they slip up, they can consult the knowledge base and correct the mistake themselves.

#5 Positive Effects on Customer Satisfaction

In 2023, the customers insist on a seamless experience before they commit and spend more. Employee knowledge base helps with that, too!

What’s good for your employees inevitably overflows to benefit your customers and clients, too.

With improved onboarding and internal communication and faster and safer information sharing, employees are better equipped to assist customers.

A rich library of relevant info available at all times helps staff members provide fast and accurate solutions. Customer support tickets are closed faster, and account managers can provide a better experience to clients.

How to Create a Superb Digital Knowledge Base for Deskless Staff

Consider the Unique Needs of Your Workforce

When creating a mock-up of an employee knowledge base, having their professional needs in mind is the number one tip to stick to. 

No matter how advanced and modern you make it, if it’s not convenient, nobody will ever use it — which defeats the purpose of a knowledge base and makes it a bad investment.

These are the most important questions to consider before deciding what kind of knowledge base you’re going to build:

  • What do your workers need from the knowledge base? 
  • What is the most convenient way for them to use it?
  • What kind of content should you create for the knowledge base? 
  • What kind of integrations do you need to enable?
  • How to incorporate it into your existing employee tech stack?

Use Consistent Structure and Language Across All Points

Consistent structure makes the knowledge base more intuitive and easy to use, so employees can quickly find the information they need and know what to expect.

Be mindful of the terminology you use in the knowledge base. 

Opt for the most correct and precise definitions and terms, and keep them the same for every instance across the knowledge base to avoid confusion. 

Make The Content Skimmable

It’s time to revisit some of those SEO articles you have bookmarked — text formatting rules apply to knowledge-base content too:

  • Eliminate the fluff and use precise, brief language and digestible content to get the point across ASAP and simplify the learning process;
  • Break up the text with headings and subheadings that indicate what’s in the paragraphs below them;
  • Use bullet points, underlining, and bold text to draw attention to key terms;
  • Use internal linking when it makes sense, so they can jump from page to page faster.

Both images and videos should be lightweight and take the least time and space possible to load.

Include alt text for images and illustrations; as for the video, write descriptions and enable rewinding and speeding up/slowing down the playback speed.

Optimise the Knowledge Base Contents for Search

Including the search option in the knowledge base is a must!

Label the articles and videos correctly, and use tags and keywords so it is easier to find the information upon the initial search.

Choose the Right Technology, Platform, and Tools

Knowing the type of content your staff needs and how they operate daily will help you choose the best platform for the knowledge base and a piece of equipment to go with it.

With Mercu, your team members only need to have WhatsApp on their phones — and have full access to the employee knowledge base in the most interactive way.

Continuously Maintain the Knowledge Base

Each knowledge base must be updated regularly to ensure content relevance, quality, and accuracy. 

Delete outdated information, replace it with fresh content, and keep listening to employee feedback to improve the knowledge base.

As your organisation grows, so will your internal knowledge base. Be sure to make it scalable from the start so you can build on the existing solution rather than making a new one from scratch.

Make Your Knowledge Base More Engaging Than Ever, With Mercu

One important thing that most internal knowledge bases miss is employee engagement.

We took another approach to employee knowledge bases and made an interactive one-stop-shop for all the internal needs:

  • Import and go: once you upload your internal knowledge base contents, Mercu does everything else.
  • Looking up critical info is as easy as texting, and provides correct responses instantly.
  • Constant learning mode ensures the employees stay up to date with new information and remember the most important duties at all times.
  • SOC2-compliant app stores the data securely — and we never use it to train AI models outside the app.

Mercu has dedicated people ready to show you around: let’s get in touch!

Your workforce is mobile. Your tools should be too.

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