Information is utterly worthless to every set of eyes that do not stumble upon it.
The real power, therefore, lies in knowing how to harness it to derive value.
But that’s easier said than done, isn’t it?
In well-run organizations, information is always available to those who seek it. Despite this, empowering tens, hundreds, or even thousands of people to know how to use it is a challenge every firm struggles with.
Changing this status quo requires a strong commitment.
But before we delve into how to enforce frictionless access to knowledge in an enterprise, let’s talk about how it can be a game-changer for everyone.
Benefits of frictionless access to knowledge
1. Supercharged employee productivity
In the modern-day workplace, each of us relies on multiple files, docs, and knowledge repositories to build on as we work.
With knowledge at one’s fingertips, it becomes easier to navigate the labyrinth of information without spending a ton of time and effort on it.
Forty-six percent of employees say that searching for files is challenging and time-consuming, and 21.3% of daily productivity loss is due to document issues.
Frictionless access to knowledge, however, increases workflow efficiency and productivity by helping you locate files instantly in a single search and eliminating repetitive tasks such as manual data entry and sales order processing. When your team stops wasting time on these manual processes, they will spend more time on tasks that actually matter.
2. Less employee dissatisfaction
Lack of access to knowledge has repeatedly been linked to a negative impact on an employee’s overall well-being. So many of us feel like a cog in a machine, unbeknownst to how our work fits the bigger picture.
Not knowing what is happening in the company creates a feeling of dissonance between the main objective, the company vision, and the ramifications of the work you perform day in, and day out.
The implications of not having a culture of knowledge sharing seriously undermine a team’s ability to collaborate effectively.
Having access to knowledge is a great step toward increasing the feeling of inclusivity especially as remote and hybrid workplaces take the center stage.
3. Alignment towards the bigger picture
A company filled with employees who are aware of the company vision, its immediate goals, and their quarterly objectives are definitely better placed to contribute effectively to the organization’s overarching goals in the long run.
This gives employees a chance and impetus to know how to direct their ambitions in line with the organization effectively.
4. A culture of transparency and collaboration
With knowledge available at everyone’s fingertips, you greatly reduce the chances of miscommunication and misalignment among teams.
For example, if there is a document that outlines the team’s weekly priorities (o/weekly-priorities) that is updated regularly, team members would be less likely to doubt whether to consider a task a priority or not.
8 ways to power knowledge discovery in your organization
1. Use a link management solution
Link management is a means to find, access, edit, store, structure, organize, and analyze all the links that an organization uses and shares.
This includes both internal links that are accessible only within the organization by its members as well as external links shared outside the organization.
With such a solution, it is possible to convert any long URL into a simple human-readable shortcut such as o/daily-standup or o/roadmap. Such intuitive shortcuts in turn make it easier for employees to access any page on the web blazingly fast.
A good link management solution such as OSlash also provides users the means to give their links a hierarchy. They can nest related links inside folders or group them using tags.
Recommended reading: Top 10 link management tools for your business in 2022
2. Manually create a database of where knowledge resides
Knowledge management is the process of creating, curating, sharing, using, and managing knowledge across an organization.
With software tools such as Confluence or Notion, it is possible to collate every important doc or discussion in a central searchable database. KM tools aim to create a wiki for the organization — an open, connected structure that allows information to flow freely among everyone at the organization.
The only con? These days we use multiple applications and software tools for a variety of purposes. Unless someone were to manually keep a track of all those URLs and bring them together on a knowledge management application, it is very difficult to search among the disparate work tools.
3. Use enterprise search
Enterprise search is how employees can search instantly across the company’s knowledge base with a single search query. It allows them to retrieve information when they want it, right where they need it.
This information can be retrieved from all types of data sources, whether structured or unstructured. The technology identifies and enables the indexing, searching, and displaying of specific content to authorized users across the enterprise.
This is perhaps the most effective way of ensuring that knowledge is always available to the team, regardless of which app it may reside in. After all, finding information at the workplace should be as easy, if not simpler, as typing a Google query.
Recommended reading: The ultimate guide to enterprise workplace search
4. Have an #ask channel on Slack
Sometimes, employees don’t exactly know who to approach and ask a query if required. With this, a lot of doubts remain needlessly unresolved.
To encourage people to reach out and ask a question to whosoever can answer, it is advisable to carve out an appropriate forum for it.
If you use Slack, for instance, you can create a #ask channel where anyone with a general doubt can post their question. This would also encourage healthy discussions within the company.
5. Don’t discourage questions
Not many in management who discourage questions from their employees do so voluntarily.
An inappropriate one-off response or a hint of frustration at someone asking a genuine question can be enough to discourage them from ever approaching you ever again.
Such oft-repeated behaviors from the management’s end are bound to create a hostile and toxic workplace where employees don’t even come forward to seek simple clarifications.
It is imperative for the leaders to create an example and show that questions, however dumb or dubious, are always entertained. This will go a long way in building an open culture in the organization.
6. Schedule regular one on ones
How do frequent catch-ups help in knowledge sharing? Information about employee happiness levels is probably the most crucial knowledge piece that a company can use to define its future strategies.
Give everyone the space and chance to talk about what bothers them, what is making them unhappy, and where they want to be. Align their future path in the company with the overall vision and see employees give in their best to justify the opportunities paved their way.
7. Hold frequent townhalls
Townhalls are a great way for management to share information that affects everyone. Unlike regular conferences and meetings that happen within a specific team or a bunch of people, townhalls involve the entire organization.
It is a great way to provide company-wide clarity on mission statements or objectives and forge unity.
The management should hold townhalls either in the office or virtually and share company updates every once in at least two months.
These meetings are doubly valuable because everyone in the organization receives the same information at the same time. It prevents the grapevine from adulterating information and brings transparency to all the members of the company while ensuring they feel aligned with the bigger picture.
8. Send regular emails with PRDs
More often than not, marketing, sales, product, and engineering teams operate in silos, each unaware of what’s to be released next. To give the team more context into what the company is planning, it is wise to send regular newsletters to the entire company with information about the next product/major feature that is about to be released.
Think about it. So much effort is put into crafting the perfect newsletter with a product update that is sent to everyone who would read it, yet no such effort is put into bringing the team behind it in confidence.
The best way to put this suggestion into practice is by collating a monthly/quarterly report from every department head and sending it from the CEO’s email ID.
Quick tip: Every product feature to be released/discussed can be accompanied by the shortcut to its PRD file such as o/onboarding-prd or o/prd/onboarding — filed as shortcuts & collections for a detailed walkthrough for everybody.
Use OSlash for instant access to everything important
It’s pretty evident that frictionless access to knowledge can solve problems and scale your business even faster.
And you can make knowledge accessible in your company by using a comprehensive link management solution, such as OSlash.
OSlash allows you and your team to name your links using simple, intuitive keywords. By creating shortcuts for long URLs, OSlash helps teams of all sizes navigate, manage, and share information at lightning speed.
With workplace speed and productivity as the primary focus, OSlash will help you manage your internal shortcuts to unlock faster access to the right information, right when you need it.