How A Knowledge Base Can Help To Streamline Employee Onboarding

Image: Pixabay

Knowledge, as they say, is power. That said, it’s almost certainly more powerful if you can access it quickly and easily: enter the knowledge base, a convenient tool that centralizes important information and makes it accessible to anyone who needs it.

A digital repository of information, resources, and documentation, a knowledge base might include anything from policy documents to FAQs, and how-to guides to video tutorials. In short, it’s a hub of multimedia content that empowers employees, customers and other stakeholders to self-serve.

While a knowledge base is a great tool for conveying important information to customers (a business might include a repository of product guides, user manuals, policy information, and such on its website or app), it can also play an essential role in employee onboarding, streamlining the process by providing new hires with seamless access to company policies and procedures, training material, and guides to relevant tools and processes.

Let’s explore all the ways a knowledge base can streamline employee onboarding.

It provides a single source of truth

While it’s true that each role will have its own unique set of onboarding requirements — training specifications will differ depending on responsibilities, for example, while those with more experience may require less intensive periods of employee onboarding — a knowledge base can aid in creating a standardized onboarding process that ensures each new employee receives the same essential information.

When it comes to non-negotiables such as company-wide policies and procedures, for instance (leave-booking processes, etiquette guidelines, that sort of thing), keeping these in one central location that everyone can access eliminates inconsistencies and ensures that every employee (regardless of role or seniority) is on the same page from day one.

A lack of a standardized onboarding process is a recipe for confusion and inefficiency (your new hires are likely to waste precious time searching for information, and more experienced colleagues may be burdened with several questions), so a knowledge base can help to ensure cohesion and transparency by acting as a nerve center for information.

In the journey to streamline employee onboarding, incorporating advanced tools like a company wiki software that combines AI and human verification can significantly enhance your knowledge base. By integrating such solutions, organizations can not only provide a single source of truth but also ensure that information is accurate, up-to-date, and easier to navigate. This innovative approach to managing company knowledge supports a more efficient onboarding process by facilitating faster access to essential training materials and operational guidance, fostering an environment where new hires can effortlessly familiarize themselves with company policies and procedures

It allows new hires to learn at their own pace

We rarely all learn at the same speed, and we also respond to a number of different learning styles: many of us are visual learners, for example, meaning we’re more likely to absorb information conveyed through images, colors, and mind maps, while others are more logical, preferring numerical structures and a systematic approach to learning. 

The advantage of a knowledge base here is that it empowers new starters to learn at their own pace and in their own way. By enabling them to independently access learning material in their own time (rather than conducting mandatory training at pre-set times in a way that might not match their preferred learning styles), you make your employees more likely to retain their new-found knowledge while feeling less overwhelmed by a deluge of information. 

Remember too that not all your employees may share a native tongue (this is more likely now that remote hiring and asynchronous working are commonplace). In this case, you can aid their learning by enabling them to access information in their preferred languages — with a tool such as Crisp (primarily a business messaging platform for startups) you can create a multilingual knowledge base where nothing is lost in translation.

It can make onboarding more enjoyable

As a new starter, your first few weeks in a new role can often be a little tiresome: there’s the unavoidable admin (requesting office equipment or setting up logins for the 35 different software tools your company uses, for example), the back-to-back induction meetings (in which you couldn’t possibly be expected to remember everyone’s names), and the reading of company policies until you’re cross-eyed and the words blur into one another.

While some of these things are inescapable, a knowledge base can at least make onboarding feel a little less tedious if you introduce some engaging, interactive content to it. Rather than simply existing as somewhere to house your policies and procedures, you can enhance your knowledge base and keep your new hires engaged using multimedia resources such as videos, infographics, and interactive training material. For instance:

  • You could upload videos to your knowledge base that talk about your company culture (as this guide to creating engaging video content explains, eye-catching visuals such as animations are great for capturing and holding attention).
  • Instead of simply listing information in text-based documents, you could display the most important bits as a series of infographics or as a flip book to make the information more memorable and visually engaging.
  • You could make your training material more enjoyable by making it interactive; for example, turning it into an interactive quiz or gamifying the training process by offering a reward at the end of it.

It reduces the strain on HR teams

Since its primary purpose is to enable its users to self-serve rather than having to ask for information every time they need it, a knowledge base is also highly effective at alleviating the pressure placed on HR teams during the onboarding process — making it particularly useful if you happen to be going through a significant recruitment drive.

And while we’re not advocating a fully ‘hands-off’ approach to onboarding — new employees will still require a degree of human support and interaction rather than simply relying on a digital hub of info — encouraging self-service can reduce the number of questions and queries your HR staff will have to field, meaning there’ll be less need for them to follow up on admin-related necessities.

This, in turn, frees up their resources and allows them to focus on other mission-critical tasks such as acquiring talent and managing employee relations. Not only will this likely mean a more engaged HR team (since the knowledge base can help to reduce their manual responsibilities), but it will also make for a more streamlined and efficient onboarding process.

In conclusion, a knowledge base isn’t just a great asset for helping customers self-serve; it can also be an invaluable tool during the onboarding process, providing a single source of important information, empowering employees to learn at their own pace, making onboarding a little less of a drag, and reducing the pressure on HR teams. Why not explore whether you might benefit from a knowledge base?