The Power of Useful Knowledge – Knowledge Base Management
Dwane Lay
January 28, 2016

Knowledge Management

I wrote a piece on Getting Started with Knowledge Management that has been used by several of our clients at the beginning of their process.  If you’re still trying to figure out what you should be doing to move off of the starting line, it could be very helpful.  And if you are serious about using an HR Case Management platform, then you should be very interested in the topic.  Otherwise, you are missing out on what might be the most powerful part of the system.  If you’ve done the foundation work, though, you might be looking around for the next step.  So let’s talk about that, because the care and feeding of your knowledge base is a critical element of long term success. 

Unlike most software companies, we use our own product every day.  When one of our clients reaches out to us, the system we use to track the discussion is the same as the system we are discussing.  So we spend our time working on our own knowledge base, which gives us practical experience, not just theoretical. This is the first in a series discussing how to maintain a healthy KB and Case Management system, overall.

Useful Knowledge

One of the questions we hear quite often is, “How do I know what to put in the knowledge base?”  It’s not always an easy question to answer.  When you are starting out, you take your best guess.  Posting policies can be helpful, but policies aren’t meant to be read, they are meant to document.  Breaking policies into individual topics can be helpful, but this is still guessing at what employees will want or need to read.

Another approach is to create FAQ documents on a topic.

  • Who is our benefits provider?
  • How do I reach them?
  • When can I make changes?

All good questions, and all easy to build.  But there are a limited number of these that can be built before you run out of easy questions.

The Dovetail Approach

Our approach is to build content every day in response to real-world questions.  When someone asks us anything that starts with, “How do I?” we first search our own knowledge base for the answer, even if we already know it.  If we can’t find the answer, we know that no one else will either.  Our response is then built around that particular content.  Instead of trying to describe the answer, we provide a link into the knowledge base, where you will find well written instructions with images and GIFs to walk you through the answer.

This does mean, at times, it takes a little longer to answer a question.  Instead of getting an answer back in five minutes, it may take an hour.  But that means the answers are of a higher quality, and are more useful to the person asking the question.  It also means that the next time that question is asked, we will already have a well-documented answer in place.

Thus, Useful Knowledge

It also means we are adding content to our knowledge base that is not just accurate, but is useful to our clients.  If one client asks, there’s a good chance someone else has or will have the same question.  Having those answers on-demand through our knowledge base means faster answers of higher quality.  And that is exactly how an HR Case Management System brings value to an organization.

There’s more to it, of course…

Check out our post on HR Case Management Best Practices for more ideas.  Or take a peek at our Knowledge Base and see how we build our own documents.  That’s assuming you are part of the Dovetail family, of course.  If you aren’t, we can help with that too!




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