Oftentimes when we talk about customer self-service solutions, we focus primarily on how they can support a brand’s end-users (aka, customers) throughout the purchase journey. But you might be surprised to learn that these very same solutions can also be used internally within companies to help improve the employee experience in a number of different ways. So in this article, we’ll quickly review how solutions like internal knowledge bases can give your team’s productivity and efficiency a boost.
The workplace is changing
Actually, the workplace has officially changed. Now that we’ve lived through the COVID-19 pandemic for well over a year, we’ve seen firsthand its transformative impact on how people go about daily work life. Almost every interaction we have in the workplace—from how we communicate to how we collaborate with our colleagues—is now heavily mediated by an array of digital tools and technologies aiming to help us all work smarter.
In fact, a study by Zendesk found that 75% of company leaders believe that the pandemic compressed the timeline for acquiring new technologies, while 90% of tech decision-makers say it has accelerated their digital plans by at least four or more years.
This investment in new technology to help employees stay productive when working remotely has been and continues to be absolutely critical for their success, especially knowing that many employees will likely continue to work from home, in some capacity, for the long term.
However, any kind of organizational transformation comes with a learning curve. We’ve heard from many of our customers that, as distributed teams became the norm throughout the pandemic, both HR teams and IT departments experienced a surge in employee requests.
None of this should come as a surprise: Flipping a switch from a predominantly in-office workforce to a remote or hybrid workforce will undoubtedly have its bumps. Not to mention, people don’t always adapt well to massive change, much less under a very uncertain and precarious context. So, a lot of questions are bound to arise—and for good reason.
Employees need access to up-to-date information
What became clear for many businesses throughout the pandemic is that employees simply wanted more information—as well as an easy way to access it—to stay informed.
As HR teams and IT departments started to see common trends around the kind of questions their employees were asking, the need for a centralised solution to house all of this information became more critical than ever. All-hands meetings and all-company emails, for example, were either not scalable over the long term or necessarily guaranteed to reach every employee.
Businesses needed a better, easier, and more efficient way to share accurate and up-to-date information with their employees at scale. Even more important when so much continues to change around the state of the pandemic and its impact on the workplace.
So as we began to hear this need over and over again with a number of our customers, we started to think to ourselves: We know that a centralised knowledge base is essential for helping a brand’s customers be more autonomous at every point along their purchase journey, so why couldn’t that same experience be replicated internally within organizations?
This gave rise to the idea of leveraging our customer self-service solutions to help companies not only put useful, relevant, and timely information in the hands of their employees but also to reduce the number of inquiries being sent to HR teams and IT departments. We quickly realized that our same strategy and approach for helping brands improve the customer experience could play a massive role in helping them improve the employee experience, too.
The benefits of an internal knowledge base
The same Zendesk study referenced above revealed how the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted perceptions among tech decision-makers around internal help desks. Thirty-three percent see it as a way to boost employee productivity, 32 percent see it as a way for internal departments to manage the deluge of requests, and 31 percent hope it can expand live support for employees.
Similarly, a study conducted by PwC found that 31 percent of employees prefer digital self-service to human content when asking HR-related questions or attempting to resolve difficult problems on their own, while 24-27 percent of employees surveyed would prefer a hybrid help model that involves both digital and human touchpoints. What this tells us, in a nutshell, is that employees are increasingly interested in being able to find information and manage simple administrative tasks on their own. They don’t necessarily want or need another human to help them work through those issues; when given the option to take care of it themselves, they are more than willing to do so.
While there are a number of long-term benefits that come with implementing an internal knowledge base—including some more organizational administrative needs like increasing information security and preventing knowledge loss—here are its core advantages:
1. Accessible to all employees
The major benefit of anything centralised, knowledge base or otherwise, is that it allows companies to create a go-to hub where employees can either find the updates and information they care about most or manage a series of administrative tasks quickly and easily. By putting this information at employees’ fingertips, it not only reduces the number of inquires that get sent—via phone, email, or chat—to other departments but also helps employees feel, more generally speaking, in control of their workplace experience. No information that’s relevant and useful to all employees should ever be hard to find.
2. Incredible time savings
There’s nothing worse than when you’re trying to find something—and you’re looking high and low—but you can’t find it. It’s probably because that information is hidden in some file on some shared drive or on a page on your company’s intranet that is virtually unsearchable. Consolidating essential employee information via an internal knowledge base helps to cut out the time it takes for employees to hunt down the work-related information they need. And knowing how busy everyone’s days are, every little bit of time saved counts.
3. Better onboarding and training
Whenever starting a new job, it can be hard for any employee to learn the ropes and ramp up quickly. It goes without saying that employee onboarding takes time, but it doesn’t have to take longer than necessary. Making your internal knowledge base the home for all of your employee onboarding and ongoing training content will help speed up employee time-to-competency by removing many of the barriers—whether those barriers are intentional or not—that keep employees from being able to advance and excel in their jobs.
4. Streamlined processes
In a similar vein to some of the benefits above, it goes without saying that centralising useful content that’s relevant to all employees eliminates the need to manage different tasks or administrative processes in different places, digital or otherwise. Simply giving employees a central place to manage (almost) everything can streamline the employee experience in a fairly remarkable way and, as you may have guessed it, give employees more time back to focus on their day-to-day jobs. After all, streamlined processes and productivity go hand-in-hand.
5. Improved cross-team collaboration
One of the most important aspects of collaboration is the sharing of information or knowledge. Having an organization’s collection of knowledge in one place not only improves how people work but also fosters a culture that values sharing expertise with each other. And the more sharing that happens, the more collaboration that exists between colleagues, teams, and departments.
Is your organization ready for an internal knowledge base?
The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly changed the way people work—and will likely continue to shape the future of the workplace, whether in-office or remote, for years to come. But it has also underscored the importance of having the most essential, up-to-date information at employees’ fingertips at all times. This is not only good business; it’s also a great way to improve the employee experience and boost employee satisfaction.
Now, if you’ve only considered customer self-service solutions like Smart Knowledge to be relevant to your customer relationship management efforts only, then it’s time to think again. Employees are your company’s greatest stakeholders. They may not be customers, per se, but you owe it to them to provide a better workplace experience whenever you possibly can.
If you’re ready to build an internal knowledge base for your company, our team is ready to help. Be sure to schedule a demo today to see all that’s possible.