In order for any business to function properly, it needs adequate documentation, which an internal wiki can provide. In addition to helping new employees get up to speed quickly, internal wikis ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to processes and procedures.
As a matter of fact, it is shown that better knowledge management can increase employee productivity by 20 percent or more, with 14 percent expecting a 50 percent increase.
A lack of proper knowledge management makes employees less productive, as they are unable to find the information they need, causing them to spend more time searching for information that is otherwise available on an internal wiki.
To help you understand internal wikis better, we discuss what they are, how they can help you, how to get started with them, and some challenges you might encounter.
First, let's go through what an internal wiki is!
What is an internal wiki?
Internal wikis are company-specific websites where employees can share information and collaborate on projects. They are often used to store corporate knowledge, document best practices, track workflows and guide new employees.
The creation of internal wikis can be accomplished by different internal wiki software. As opposed to traditional website design, wiki software is more efficient at adding, removing and editing content.
Since multiple users can work on the same document simultaneously, internal wiki tools are ideal for collaboration.
As a result, changes and additions can be made rapidly without requiring a central authority or webmaster. Generally speaking, the best wiki software tends to have an intuitive interface, much like that of a word processor, which makes it easy for users to navigate. Therefore, employees can use them without much training.
An internal wiki can contain knowledge about your company’s products, services, processes, and procedures. Additionally, it can be used to document internal policies and best practices, track workflows and track projects.
There are two types of main internal wikis:
- Public wiki: Public wikis are open to anyone on the internet and can be edited by anyone. Wikipedia is the most well-known example of a public wiki.
- Private wiki: Private wikis are internal to a company or organization and can only be edited by authorized users.
What are the benefits of an internal wiki?
An internal wiki can be a powerful tool for businesses, providing a central repository for knowledge and information. Wikis help improve efficiency and productivity by allowing employees to share their knowledge and experience.
Some other benefits include:
- Boosts productivity of employees: By having a central repository for information, employees can save time searching for answers and can instead focus on their work.
- Improves communication and collaboration: Internal wikis can help to improve communication and collaboration between employees, as they provide a space for discussion and debate.
- Provides instant access to business knowledge: With an internal wiki, employees have instant access to the latest information and knowledge about the business.
- Enhances employee onboarding: New employees can quickly get up to speed on company procedures, products, and services by accessing the internal wiki.
Furthermore, internal wikis increase the security of a company by creating a central location for sensitive information. In comparison with hard disks, private wikis store company information more securely. A secure location will ensure that only authorized personnel have access to this information.
What are the challenges of an internal wiki?
When creating an internal wiki, businesses need to be aware of some potential challenges. One of the challenges of having an internal wiki is maintaining accurate and up-to-date information. Because anyone can edit a wiki, it is difficult to know if the information is accurate or not.
Additionally, wikis can be difficult to navigate and organize when not properly managed. It can also be challenging to ensure that all employees have access to and understand the wiki. Lack of public awareness or inability to properly train employees will prevent them from taking full advantage of the wiki.
In some cases, employees may not be aware of the wiki's existence, or they may find it difficult to use. In other cases, employees may simply prefer to use other sources of information. To overcome these challenges, it is important to choose the right internal wiki tools, and promote the wiki within the organization.
Certain software may be more user-friendly or have features that align with your specific business strategies. Before committing to a particular software option, do research and ask for user feedback. You should also make sure to review the chosen software regularly to determine whether it still meets your needs and make any necessary adjustments.
It's also important to think about what information should and shouldn't be shared on the wiki.
While sharing guidelines and company policies can be helpful, things like specific numerical data or individual employee information should probably not be included in order to maintain privacy and confidentiality.
How to build an internal wiki?
Wiki setup is relatively simple, but there are a few important steps you must follow to make it work properly.
1. Plan your architecture of information
Your first step should be to select a wiki software and begin organizing your content. It's important to think about how you want users to navigate your wiki and what kind of information you want them to be able to find. You can do this by creating a sitemap or information hierarchy.
Using tools like Scribe, it is possible to create hierarchies for your wiki content, create processes and turn them into step-by-step guides, create effective employee onboarding programs, and document company policies and procedures.
2. Import or create content
Now that you have your information architecture in place, it's time to start populating your wiki with content. If you already have existing documentation or content, you can import this into your wiki. If not, you'll need to start creating new content.
When creating new content, it's important to keep in mind the needs of your users. What information do they need? How can you make it easy for them to find what they're looking for?
3. Plan the launch of the wiki
Once you have your wiki content created, it's time to launch your wiki to your team or company. When launching your wiki, it's important to have a plan and strategy in place. This will help to ensure that your wiki is successful and adopted by users.
Some things to consider when launching your wiki include:
- Who will be responsible for maintaining the wiki?
- How will you promote the wiki to users?
- What kind of training or support will you provide to users?
- What are your expectations for users?
Additionally, you'll need to decide what content you want to keep private and what content you want to make public. Some things like your company's internal procedures should only be accessible to employees, while other things like your product documentation can be made public.
As a final step, create some guidelines for editing and contributing to the wiki. By setting ground rules from the start, you can help ensure that the wiki is used effectively and avoid potential conflict down the road.
4. Launch your wiki
Now that you have everything in place, it's time to launch your wiki!
Make sure to announce your wiki to users and provide them with training and support. It is likely that you will need to provide some ongoing maintenance and support for your wiki, but with some effort, you can create a valuable resource for your team or company, that is more secure and easier to use than some old-school documentation methods.
Top 3 internal wiki tools
If you are looking to create an internal wiki, Scribe should be in your arsenal. The robust process documentation features of Scribe have made it one of the most popular tools for building internal wikis for businesses of all sizes.
Scribe can assist you building:
- Training videos.
- Customer support videos.
- Onboarding videos for new employees and team.
- Document processes and turn them into step-by-step instructions.
Furthermore, you can integrate Scribe with hundreds of different apps and software to make the best tutorials for your business.
And what’s best? 🤔
Scribe offers an entirely free plan for those who want to get started with building internal wikis!
2. Document 360
The Document 360 internal wiki tool comes with a seamless and well-designed interface for both designers and readers.
Document 360 can help you create product help documentation, technical documentation, online user guides, FAQs and any other type of wiki page.
From keeping multiple versions of your article so you never lose import information, to localizing your knowledge base into multiple languages, Document360 can assist.
Currently Document 360 offers a free plan to get you started building your internal wiki pages.
Through its various templates, Notion allows you to create a workflow design that meets your company's needs.
For companies seeking to build internal wikis, the Notion wiki platform is a great option and ensures that the information displayed is organized and easy to find.
The standout feature of Notion compared to its many competitors is that teams can access its internal wiki using an iPad, Android phone, Mac or Windows computer.
With thousands of community-made templates, integrations, and events, Notion has a community of active creators to draw inspiration from.
Pricing-wise, Notion offers a free trial plan to find out if its right for you.
There's no question that an internal wiki can be a valuable asset for any organization. According to research, employees spend an average of two hours a day searching for information.
By using a wiki, employees can share knowledge more quickly and collaborate more efficiently. However, setting up a wiki is only half the battle.
To ensure success for your wiki, you'll need to consider how employees will contribute and how you'll promote and maintain it. Your internal wiki should be tested to determine what works and different strategies tried to maximize its effectiveness.