While enabling people across an organization to easily find and share the knowledge needed to do their work may seem like a no-brainer, it’s surprisingly hard to get right - and increasingly critical to business success. At our recent Remoticon event, we dug into this topic to unpack what it takes to build a truly knowledge-driven culture, and were thrilled to learn from one of the foremost experts in this space, Dana Tessier, Director of Knowledge Management at Shopify.
You can check out the full discussion on “Building a Knowledge-Driven Culture,” below, and catch up on all of the sessions here.
After Rick Nucci (Guru’s co-founder and CEO) gave a recap of the recent research findings from our report, “The Knowledge-Driven Culture Opportunity,” he spoke with Dana to learn more about how she built the Knowledge Management department at Shopify, secured buy-in with leadership, ensured the ROI of her team’s work, and ultimately fostered a thriving, knowledge-driven culture across the organization.
Not surprisingly, the audience had lots of great questions, and we weren’t able to cover them all in the time allotted. Dana was kind enough to follow up with answers after the session, which we’ve pulled together for you below.
Do you have to have a knowledge management team to have a knowledge-driven culture?
- It certainly helps to have a dedicated team to move things along but one team alone cannot create a culture for a whole company. Culture is what happens when no one is watching.
You said that knowledge that can't be digested isn't valuable. How can you be sure your content is valuable when you have lots of changes happening quickly?
- It’s important to know your audience and to have an understanding of what they will find helpful, and then it’s important to gather feedback on your content and action that feedback. Having a style guide that people can use to keep the content consistent is also important.
Do you have a base structure of tags that you have organized and could share? Tags seem overwhelming with how open-ended they can be.
- Our tag structure is specific to our content and was designed and iterated based on the needs of the user base. I recommend starting small with some tags for common topics and then expanding from there. Don’t create too many to begin with because then it’s hard for people to understand how the structure works.
What were some valuable lessons or tips in scaling from one knowledge manager to being a director of several KMs?
- Have a mission and vision for the team, and ensure teams know how to work together, and how to leverage each other.
Training vs. contextual, actionable knowledge. What's your most effective approach to the interplay of training vs. knowledge management references?
- Training is great for when someone is at the beginning of their career with you, or when something new has launched. After that, contextual knowledge is helpful for retention and ongoing support.
How are you calculating your ratio for "activity of incoming interactions"? Are you using Guru analytics in unison with your CRM chats?
- Yes, we use total activity recorded by Guru and then we look at that in comparison to incoming tickets that are recorded by our CRM.
How do you facilitate migrating that “undernet” content into a central system? People may want it there, but don't want to do the work of finding and moving it.
- I recommend tapping in to the reason the individual or team created the undernet in the first place, and then demonstrating how by moving it to the central system this will actually enable them to achieve their goal because they will be more discoverable by people looking for their information. Aligning with their motivation to solve a problem or share their knowledge and then demonstrating how the central system vs the undernet will actually help them achieve this. If they aren’t interested in moving forward, does the undernet still need to exist? Perhaps it’s time to tidy up and archive!
We can’t thank Dana enough for taking the time to share her extensive expertise on what it takes to build a knowledge-centered culture!
We have lots of other great sessions coming up in our Remotathon series, featuring speakers from companies like Yext, Hims, Looker, SalesLoft, and many more. Check them out and sign up to be part of the discussions here.