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Knowledge Documentation: Expert Advice on How to Get Team Buy-In

Knowledge Documentation: Expert Advice on How to Get Team Buy-In

A graphic showcasing two Ask Me Anything (AMA) series speakers who led a discussion on knowledge documentation buy-in.
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🙋🏽‍♀️ Ask Me Anything

Our Ask Me Anything (AMA) series highlights the tips, tricks, and insights from Tango Community experts on everything from documentation and hiring to onboarding and software training.

These AMAs are exclusively for the Change Enablers, a community by Tango, where training, enablement, and operations professionals come together to build better operations processes. Sound like your thing? Join us here.

We hosted our first AMA with two pros who know, live, and breathe the power of organizational change: Brittany Arbuckle and Kathryn Dahlke. ✨

Meet the experts

Brittany Arbuckle

  • 💼  Current role: Curriculum and Training Specialist, Public Consulting Group
  • ✅  Responsibilities: Develop communication and training plans for organizational changes. She works with Senior Leadership, Project Managers, Product Owners, IT Developers, and Subject Matter Experts for a successful release and adoption. 
  • 💃  Outside of work: Brittany is a Registered Yoga Teacher, is very invested in her local community, and has volunteered as a Young Life leader mentoring teen women through their high school years.

Kathryn Dahlke

  • 💼  Current role: Customer Success Manager, Tango
  • ✅  Responsibilities: Help Tango customers get the most value out of Tango and ensure a positive experience along the way. She loves educating and empowering users so they can become the superstars of their organizations.
  • 💃  Outside of work: Kathryn loves riding bikes, getting lost in the woods, and fostering her rescue dog. You can read up on a recent adventure participating in the XTERRA World Championship (an invite-only triathlon) in this blog

Now that you’re caught up, let’s dive in! ⬇️

A Tango-branded graphic listing the 8 questions on documentation buy-in answered in the blog

The importance of knowledge sharing

Kathryn: Knowledge sharing and continued learning are important because they're all about empowering people with new ways to experience the world, think critically, and understand one another is paramount to the success of an individual and community. Diversity of thought is what pushes us all forward.

The value of knowledge documentation

Kathryn: For anyone looking to explain the value of creating, sharing, and using documentation to their teammates, I recommend explaining it by saying that a culture of knowledge sharing improves onboarding and retention across teams.

Teaching others is a skill with multiple upsides. The more the experts can share, the more experts they create.

Suggestions for siloed departments

Brittany: We've all experienced siloed departments who don't have much interest in documenting their processes. To address this, I suggest starting super small. With Tango, we have been able to help shift our culture around the need for standardization. We do our homework on metrics to show inefficiency and wasted time. 

And we love sharing what we learn and summarizing our results (and wins) loudly! Kathryn has supported these efforts through our dashboard to show metrics for Tangos viewed and trending within our company. With that, we’re able to point to the direct value to our leadership team.

The culture around knowledge sharing

Brittany: One of the most important aspects of knowledge sharing is creating a culture around it that your leadership team recognizes.

My role focuses on new release curriculum development. I develop curriculum and training using Articulate 360. Tangos embed beautifully into this program and translate well to learning management systems (LMS). We use Tango as a visual aid to support any changes coming and ensure everyone feels ready and comfortable.

When the learning is multidimensional, leadership sees the value in the overall organizational support.

Kathryn: A culture of sharing knowledge will improve the onboarding experience for new hires. And great employee onboarding can improve employee retention by 82% and productivity by 70%!

Knowledge sharing can also help with psychological safety. It opens the lines of communication from day one.

Overcoming resistance when building documentation processes

Kathryn: There will be times when you have to address and overcome resistance or skepticism when you're building out your process. For example, there was a lack of awareness around our learning and communication styles on a previous team I worked with. Operational processes suffered greatly because no one was on the same page.

I'd recommend teams take the time to talk about each other’s learning preferences, find common ground, and understand where others are coming from to inform a more collaborative approach to sharing knowledge.

Incorporating an objective third party to facilitate those conversations is also massively helpful in removing biases!

Brittany: I’m in the midst of overcoming resistance right now. People have different ideas about what documentation looks like and how comprehensive it should be. 

Currently, we are in the process of a product launch. An associated user documentation guide has been debated for weeks about how comprehensive it needs to be in order to publish. Some individuals feel it needs to be completely monotheistic and demonstrate all of the hundreds of possible scenarios.  

We believe with the value of Tango, we can demonstrate the process so users can swap out any actual fields they need to input. We are still in the process of this discussion, but it has re-iterated that documentation is closely related to adoption, and even moreso, relates to fear of change. 

By supporting users with Tango, we no longer rely on abstract ideas of what type of documentation is needed. Instead, we can provide support for all types of learners! Especially with the late or ambivalent adopters through Guidance.

Most common knowledge sharing challenges

Kathryn: Some of the most common challenges I see are a lack of purpose and audience understanding.

A Tango-branded graphic that lists 4 questions to ask yourself early on in the documentation process

Concerns about outdated documentation

Brittany: I address concerns about outdated documentation daily, especially in ever-changing environments. This supports the need for live documentation and integrations of live-embed across platforms. It is SO much less of a headache to have to go into every nook and cranny where a document lives. 

We have run into this with individual downloads and sharing outdated documentation. With Tango, if a user's preference is to download a file, a PDF will advise them with a note stating, “This might not be the most recent version,” and guide them back to the original web-based Tango to download the most updated one.

Kathryn: This is a common concern that goes back to communication and expectation-setting. Using tools to share feedback on knowledge documentation is extremely helpful to ensure the person creating it understands how the person viewing understands the information. Also, it’s helpful to establish ownership of specific areas of knowledge documentation across the team, as well as a cadence for review.

Measuring the impact

Kathryn: There are a couple of ways to measure the impact of knowledge documentation on performance at an organization. Qualitative and quantitative queues across the organization can help point to the impact of sharing and productivity. 

When I hear or experience more collaboration, assuredness in process, and recognition in other colleagues, I know that the team is working together more effectively and productively than if we were more siloed with institutional knowledge.  

When I quantitatively see less meetings scheduled, more projects completed, and strong platform usage analytics, those triggers tell me that knowledge documentation has had an impact and the culture has potential to positively grow!

The bottom line

Getting your team bought in to the power of documenting and sharing knowledge in a scalable way is no easy feat—even the experts agree.

But the value in putting a system in place goes far beyond initial learning experiences. Not only does a culture of sharing knowledge improve onboarding, it also drastically increases retention. 

When starting out, it’s important to:

  • Start small and don’t rush the process. Shifting a company’s culture of documentation takes time, and you’ll learn a lot by understanding the need for it in the first place.
  • Nail down the value of creating, sharing, and using documentation so you can communicate it with leadership and the company.
  • Decide ownership for different tools and documentation, as well as a cadence for feedback, updates, and improvements.
  • Establish how you’ll measure both the quantitative and qualitative impact of documentation.

Interested in learning more about how other teams are setting up their internal knowledge sharing processes? 

Join the conversation with leaders from top companies in Tango's community.


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