Knowledge centers: Why your growing business needs one and how to build it

Growing businesses face a variety of challenges, from scaling distribution to hiring and training competent staff.

A knowledge center can help to minimize the pain that comes with growth.

A knowledge center is an offline or online area in your business where you capture and store all of your best practices, procedures, processes, and more. It is a single repository of information to enable effective operations.

It’s a place where your staff can go to find the latest and most relevant information and resources to help them do their job. Instead of running here for one thing and over there for another, you can keep it all together in a single knowledge center.

Your knowledge center might start quite humbly, with just a document or two, but as your business grows, your knowledge center can grow with it.

Hiring a technical writer to help you create and/or improve and/or moderate your knowledge center may seem like an investment in a non-core asset. However, with the right structure and attention, your knowledge center can deliver the following benefits:

  • Less time wasted as staff go searching for an answer.
  • Faster redeployment time when you change a process and need to change the instructions, guidelines, and policies that accompany that process.
  • Lower training costs — knowledge centers support training and sometimes even replace it. Moreover, HR can rely on knowledge centers as a starting point for training that they perform.
  • Improved managing: Management moves out of “how-to-do-it” training mindset into a “how-to-do-it-better” mentoring mindset.
  • Processes become streamlined for an improved customer experience and potentially lower costs throughout the organization.

Here are some tips to build and maintain a useful knowledge center:

  • Don’t start from scratch. You probably already have user manuals and job descriptions you can add
  • Keep it simple: Create a blog but make it private (require a sign-in).
  • Train your staff to refer to the knowledge center first, before they go up the chain of command.
  • Record every question you are asked and add it to the knowledge center.
  • Assign on person to be in charge of your knowledge center. Task them with the responsibility maintaining and regularly updating the information.
  • Get your staff to record the procedures they perform and add them to the knowledge center.
  • As your company grows, start dividing your knowledge centers up and give each department their own knowledge center to maintain.
  • Over time, review the content and remove or modify obsolete information.

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