Today’s workforce is rapidly evolving, thanks to changing demographics and increasing digital connectivity. Deloitte identified the future workforce to be aging, more diverse, and more educated. In fact, workers aged 55 years or older have a share of nearly 25% in the US, according to Intuit. This creates a mixture of internet-savvy youth with baby boomer senior citizens (who are actually still active).
Moreover, freelancers, independent professionals, and temporary contract workers are expected to account for 40% of US workforce by 2020, as advances in technology displaces workers, enables remote jobs, and shifts skills demand.
This can probably explain why boards are allotting more of their agenda to strategic initiatives on talent, according to Ernst & Young. As talent becomes a key differentiating factor of competitiveness, it is critical for organizations to cultivate and facilitate knowledge transfer to ensure its availability for future workers (as they come in and out of the company).
While knowledge transfer is not a new concept (this has been a recurring but subtle challenge for organizations), addressing it can be valuable for your organization in the long run. Knowledge resides in every part of the organizational system, including your employees, their tasks and outputs, and the tools they use. With its wide reach within the organization, it makes sense to leverage product documentation to encourage knowledge transfer. Here are the benefits:
1. Quick onboarding
Your employee may have left, but the knowledge (as much as possible) must retain. Having processes documented and organized in a portal makes it faster for new employees to get the hang of their new work environment. Ensuring that the information they need – from organizational structures to the minute detail that describes their jobs – is available can get your new employees up to speed in no time.
- Push additional relevant documentation
- Leverage live filtering and search result previews
2. Generating new ideas
Coming from different generations, upbringings, and cultures, your employees are as diverse as your customers, making them a rich source of fresh ideas. Moreover, they are in the front line, using your system to help achieve your business goals so it is safe to say that they are exposed to actual customer experience and concerns. Empower your employees to share their ideas through your product documentation portal.
- Put up feedback and sharing tools and features
- Support rapid one-click publication of both new and updated content
3. Facilitating collaboration
Within the organization, an action made by one team, group, or department always has an impact to another. Collaborating not only facilitates knowledge dissemination, but also encourages better communication between teams. The product documentation portal, as the source and organizer of almost all information, empowers your employees to mix and match knowledge and skills across the whole organization. Working together results in producing better, innovative products and services, and increasing overall bottom-line.
- Enable comments, tables, or images into documents
- Index to search engines
4. Solving complex problems
When knowledge is retained and shared within the organization, it is quicker to get the data your employees need to tackle a problem. Using a dynamic product documentation portal that cuts across silos, they can have a better grasp of where the organization is standing vis-à-vis an issue. It simplifies data collection, analysis, and delivery, giving everyone the same visibility on causes of the problem, as well as the potential solution.
- Tag and index content written in Flare, DITA, XML, Office, or any other formats
- Set up analytics capabilities
5. Creating an integrated organization
Customer behaviors are changing rapidly nowadays and to be successful in this new market landscape, you must make your organization lean and agile. A product documentation portal integrates your organization as it facilitates the same, horizontal access to information. Knowledge is power, and making it accessible to all employees empowers them with more opportunities to help achieve your business goals.
- Push additional relevant documentation
- Customized according to company’s branding ecosystem
A product documentation portal is just one way to solve the challenge of knowledge transfer. More than anything, the very organizational structures and personal practices must facilitate and motivate it. And like any other initiative, the whole organization must be onboard for it to be successful. Take note of the benefits and see if it makes sense to revamp your product documentation to uncover the value in knowledge transfer.