Let’s be real—information silos happen in every organization. This happens when key information from one department isn’t shared with others, leading to information gaps. Sixty percent of employees find it difficult to get information vital to their job from colleagues.
The solution is simple: record and store business process information in one place—a corporate wiki. Ask experienced employees to contribute, and soon you’ll build a comprehensive database of information employees can use to understand how the company works.
In this article, we’re going to show you how to create a modern corporate wiki, the difference between a wiki and knowledge base and give you free, customizable templates you can use to get started.
TL;DR: Corporate wiki
- A corporate wiki is an internal knowledge base that acts as a company's version of Wikipedia, allowing employees to create, share, and collaborate on information.
- The 6 benefits of having a corporate wiki include improved onboarding, enhanced collaboration, increased knowledge retention, reduced employee attrition, heightened productivity, and organized information.
- Corporate wiki vs. knowledge base: the key distinction lies in their approach to collaboration, accessibility and content management.
- The 5 steps to building a corporate wiki: choosing the right software, importing content, interlinking documents, configuring access rights, and monitoring effectiveness.
- The challenges faced by traditional corporate wikis include content organization, creation and maintenance, effective search functionality, user engagement, content governance, integration with other systems, accessibility, analytics, reporting, security, and training.
What is a corporate wiki?
A corporate wiki is an internal knowledge base that allows employees to create, share, and collaborate on content related to a given topic.
It's essentially a company's own internal version of Wikipedia. A corporate wiki acts as a central database of information and often stores and organizes information such as:
- Employee handbooks.
- Product information.
- Project plans.
- Onboarding checklists.
- Internal process documentation.
- How-to guides.
- Standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Creating a corporate wiki is a collaborative process. Anyone in the company can edit or add to the corporate wiki when they have information to share. This makes it a valuable resource for employees who need to find information quickly and easily.
Corporate wiki vs. a knowledge base—what's the difference?
In a lot of different corporate ecosystems, corporate wikis and knowledge bases are used almost interchangeably. However, despite the overlaps, these two sources of information are quite different from each other.
What is a knowledge base?
A knowledge base is a centralized repository of information that is structured for easy retrieval and use.
- A knowledge base can be a collection of documents, data or other forms of information.
- Knowledge bases are organized and indexed to make it easy for users to find what they need.
- Knowledge bases are often used to store information about products, services, processes, or other topics.
Corporate wiki vs. knowledge base: key differences
A knowledge base is usually run by a chosen group of subject matter experts and editors who thoroughly vet each piece of information.
This means your average knowledge base doesn’t allow all employees to contribute. It has a clear content strategy, which means writers post content according to a schedule.
In some cases, organizations also create a knowledge base to educate customers on their products, services and offerings. For example, Webflow has a comprehensive knowledge base called the Webflow University.
It helps customers figure out how to use the product through quick web design courses.
A wiki in the workplace is a collaborative platform that allows employees to create, edit and share information with anyone in the organization. There’s no hierarchy here. It also lets you link user-generated content to help readers understand the topic more comprehensively.
5 steps to building a corporate wiki
Now that you know what a corporate wiki is, and how it can help you—it’s time to build one. Here are the six most important steps:
Step 1: Choose a corporate wiki software
The right wiki software can go a long way in helping you build a corporate wiki that works for you. Before choosing one, list your team’s priorities. This will allow you to find a solution that has the right features for your company.
Many businesses these days have distributed, remote or hybrid employees, so it’s always best to opt for a cloud-based solution. When evaluating paid and free wiki software options, consider these questions:
- What types of documents are you trying to create?
- How many employees do you have?
- How often will you need to update your documents?
Then look for software with features that meet your needs. The best wiki software should have the following capabilities:
- Provides a quick and dependable search function.
- Easy navigation across all layers of content hierarchy.
- Simple content editing process.
- Has a collection of pre-existing templates.
- Can integrate with your existing digital ecosystems.
- Seamless user role management.
Scribe has all this and more. From allowing you to record a workflow in mere minutes to producing in-depth visual guides for employees—Scribe's AI-powered process documentation tool auto-generates wiki content in seconds. Here’s a look at a Scribe that demonstrates creating a Slack channel:
Step 2: Start importing/generating content
You can either build a corporate wiki template from scratch or personalize an existing template. If you’re looking for a quick fix, step-by-step guide templates are your go-to option.
Scribe's free customizable templates come ready-made with sections and subsections to keep things organized. All you need to do to create new content is:
1. Navigate to the process you want to document. Click the Scribe icon in your Chrome toolbar to start.
2. Click the "Start Capture" button and go through your work process. Scribe automatically captures screenshots and text based on your actions.
3. Click the "Stop Capture" button. In a few seconds, Scribe will generate a detailed, step-by-step guide.
4. Ask the AI to add titles, descriptions, additional context, alerts, helpful tips, and more to customize your content. You can also ask Scribe's GPT-4 AI to write your content for you, combine multiple Scribes, and add videos, images, GIFs and more.
5. Share it by generating a link or embedding it in your wiki, or exporting to popular formats like PDF, HTML, or Markdown.
Check out these step-by-step playbooks on how to create a wiki using popular platforms like OneNote, SharePoint and GitHub:
- Build a OneNote Wiki: A Step-by-Step Guide
- How to Build a SharePoint Wiki: Step-by-Step Guide
- Setting Up a GitHub Wiki: A Step-by-Step Playbook
But this isn’t a one-man show—wikis are a collaborative authoring system. You’ll also need to build a team of active contributors who can help you create and maintain knowledge base articles.
An easy way to find contributors within your teams is by conducting company-wide surveys. Identify people who are enthusiastic about the idea and ask them to participate. You can also incentivize them by giving them reward points when they add information.
You can also use a GitHub-inspired gamification model where you measure the time each employee spends contributing to a corporate wiki. To amp up your employee participation, you can also assign different badges, create a leaderboard, or provide financial bonuses to top contributors. The goal is to leverage the process of building a corporate wiki as a means to unify teams and help them achieve more.
Step 3: Interlink all your documents
Adoption is the result of convenience. Linked content makes it easy to navigate through the platform and find relevant information.
To ensure each employee can navigate through these multiple SOPs, it’s always good practice to interlink all relevant documents with each other. You can even go a step further and provide a separate document that lays out the entire content in the form of a mind map or business process flow diagram.
Step 4: Configure access rights
Once your preliminary content is added to the wiki, you’ll need to demarcate who can see what. There may be some sensitive information on the wiki that you may not want to disclose to the entire team. So to safeguard your content, you need to configure access rights on the wiki.
This includes updating the security clearance of individual documents, providing editing access to the people you know will contribute accurate information, and identifying which team members will look after the billing and maintenance of the software.
Step 5: Set up workflows to monitor the corporate wiki’s effectiveness
Building a corporate wiki is not a one-time activity. It is an iterative documentation that evolves with your company. Keep adding new workflows to the database, look for content gaps, review and use metrics to see whether employees are benefiting from using the wiki.
Figure out which elements are more popular by analyzing the most viewed documents, keywords used by employees to run searches, and pages they spend most of their time on. You can even add a small poll at the end to ask your team if they found the information helpful.
If the instances of your employees selecting “not helpful” options increase, then it means you should ask your team to update the content.
Challenges of traditional corporate wikis
Corporate wikis can be a valuable tool for businesses, but they also present some challenges that need to be addressed in order to be effective.
Here are some of the common challenges:
- Content organization and structure: Corporate wikis can quickly become cluttered and disorganized if they are not properly organized. This can make it difficult for users to find the information they need, and can also lead to outdated or inaccurate information being shared.
- Content creation and maintenance: Creating and maintaining high-quality content can be a time-consuming and resource-intensive task. As a result, many corporate wikis lack of up-to-date content.
- Search functionality: Poor search functionality can make it frustrating for users to find the information they need.
- Adoption and employee engagement: Getting employees to use a corporate wiki can be a challenge. If employees do not see the value in using the wiki, they are unlikely to use it regularly.
- Content governance: Corporate wikis need to have clear guidelines for who can create and edit content, as well as what types of content are allowed. Without clear content governance, corporate wikis can become filled with inaccurate or redundant content.
- Integration with other systems: Corporate wikis should be able to integrate with other systems that are used by the business, such as email, calendars, and project management systems. This can make it easier for employees to use the wiki and find the information they need.
- Accessibility: Corporate wikis should be accessible to all employees, regardless of their location or device. This means that the wiki should be designed to be responsive and work well on all devices, including mobile phones and tablets.
- Robust analytics and reporting: Corporate wikis should provide analytics and reporting tools that can help businesses track how the wiki is being used and identify areas for improvement. This information can be used to make sure that the wiki is meeting the needs of the business and its employees.
- Security: Corporate wikis should have strong security measures in place to protect sensitive information. This includes measures to prevent unauthorized access to the wiki, as well as measures to protect the confidentiality and integrity of important company information stored on the wiki.
- Training and support: New Employees need to be trained on how to use the corporate wiki effectively. This includes training on finding information, creating and editing content, and searching for information. Businesses should also provide ongoing support to long-time employees who are using the wiki.
By addressing these challenges, you can create a corporate wiki that helps employees improve communication, collaboration and knowledge sharing.
6 benefits of a corporate wiki
A corporate wiki goes a long way toward helping your team gear up for success. Not only does it streamline knowledge management, but it helps improve business productivity too. Here are six more reasons why you should build an internal wiki:
1. Improved employee onboarding
Company wikis provide every new employee with a comprehensive database of information. This gives them a single source of truth on how to perform their daily tasks efficiently.
2. Improved collaboration
Well-maintained company wikis promote a culture where employees work together and improve collaboration and teamwork. All internal team members can share their experiences, best practices, tips and insights on departmental processes, empowering employees to work as a single unit.
3. Enhanced knowledge retention
With a corporate wiki, employees have a platform where they can share all the vital information learned on the job. Referring to these notes won’t just help their current employees perform better—it’ll also help refine training documentation for new hires.
4. Reduced employee attrition
Effective company wikis act as easily searchable databases employees can refer to when required. This means they can complete tasks quicker and hassle-free.
5. Increased productivity
With an internal wiki, your team has real-time access to the mistakes and workarounds documented by their peers, seniors, and past employees. Save time and boost productivity by removing guesswork from the equation.
6. Organized information
While some organizations document their business processes, they tend to disperse this information across multiple siloed virtual ecosystems, making it hard for employees to access information. A corporate wiki lets them access all the information they need in an instant.
What should be in a company wiki?
There are several key elements that should be included in a company wiki:
- Clear and intuitive structure with organized information and a clean layout.
- Up-to-date, accurate and regularly updated content including policies, procedures, guidelines, products, services, and key contacts.
- Search function for quick access to company information.
- Employee contributions, content editing and feedback.
- Visually appealing and user-friendly design.
- Multimedia elements.
What is the use of corporate wiki?
Corporate wikis serve as internal knowledge bases, providing a repository for company policies, procedures, best practices, and other important information. Here are the main uses of a corporate wiki:
- Knowledge management: an internal company wiki enables easy access and contributions to useful information.
- Knowledge sharing and collaboration: Captures and preserves corporate knowledge, preventing knowledge gaps employees leave the organization.
- Communication and collaboration: Empowers employees to collaborate on projects, share ideas, and contribute feedback, which increases productivity levels.
- Promotes a culture of continuous learning and improvement.
- Increases organizational knowledge: By documenting lessons learned from past projects, and sharing best practices and training materials, employees learn from each other's experiences and improve their skills and knowledge.
Automate your corporate wiki creation with Scribe
Creating a corporate wiki can be a long, drawn-out process. But it comes with many benefits like improved team productivity and employee satisfaction. To speed up the process, you can automate it with Scribe. Ask your employees to document their workflows with the in-built recorder. The tool will automatically turn it into a visual step-by-step guide. Create your first Scribe today!