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How VanMoof’s growing team stay in tune around the globe

What if you had just joined a rapidly growing company with a compelling mission, but had to slow down because the information you needed to do your job was either scattered or undocumented?

Martijn Hazelaar, Digital Manager at Dutch bike-meets-tech company VanMoof, faced this exact dilemma. And it's not an unusual story. According to McKinsey, employees spend 20% of their time searching for information. That's one full day out of the week! You might cringe hearing that - and agree that a team has bigger fish to fry than digging around for scraps of knowledge.

Rather than leaving the team's knowledge in the hands of a chosen few, Martijn set out on a mission to democratize it. If those people were unavailable or left the company, people at VanMoof would get stuck. Also VanMoof is distributed all over the world. And you can't really browse people's brains remotely, right?

VanMoof is the leader of the ebikes market. They designs and sells fully integrated smart tech ebikes built to transform your city commute - and hopefully create a more sustainable future. They employ 260 people with operations all over the world and grew to 500 people in one year. They are now scaling to 600+ people in 2021.

So, here's the objective: if you want to grow distributed operations and teams with ease, you need to find a tool to share knowledge that anyone can adopt, quickly. Since the future of work has arrived faster due to Covid-19, you need a solution enabling asynchronous & remote work. Let's see how VanMoof handled it.



The Solution: Slite vs. Confluence

Martijn led the way. He's a tech-savvy guy, and he previously used Confluence. It is a powerful tool with lots of complexity. However, when looking for a knowledge sharing solution, you should think about the end-users first.

When the word spread about finding a solution to centralize team knowledge, some employees came to him to present Slite as an option. He found out that one team was already using and benefiting from it, which was a sign that the company-wide adoption could be kickstarted. Your team knowledge can't support your growth if people don’t adopt the platform where the knowledge is.

Martijn chose Slite because it's more user-friendly for less tech-savvy people while still functional for collaboration across the company. Slite reduces the need for meetings & gives VanMoof the ability to align teams asynchronously wherever they are.

“As we're growing fast, the ease of adoption is a crucial element when choosing a new solution. You can see Slite is more friendly, and its similarities and integration with Slack make it easier to adopt” —Martjin, Digital Manager at VanMoof

You can learn more about what makes Slite different from Confluence here →

How they implemented Slite

Martijn first created two introduction notes on the VanMoof Slite: One that clearly explains the objective of having Slite as the company wiki and a note that explains how to kickstart it for each team at VanMoof. Here are some of the implementation practices he shared:

  • Inform everybody through email of the change & reminders in Slack*
  • Time it right
  • Share your vision
  • Remove any uncertainty
  • Set up two voluntary workshops, mainly about how to use a company-wide wiki
  • Pro-actively move every document and other relevant written information to Slite
  • Create a special channel in Slite on how to use it (they copied the Slite user handbook)
“Slite is easy: It takes longer to explain the need and benefit of a company wiki than explaining how Slite works.”

At scale, you can't afford to spend time explaining how to use the platform to hundreds of folks. You need the minimum amount of friction. Knowledge must spread fast.

Two months after subscribing to our paid plan, 70% of the team at VanMoof were actively using it.

How VanMoof uses Slite today

Managers store all the information their employees need to do their work. Much of this information is housed in how-to guides: new employee onboarding guides, guides for running their global retail stores, people operations guides. Their Slite also contains collaboration spaces for each team.

Configuration

  • Slack integration to share knowledge and answer questions through their primary communication tool.
  • Authentication through Gsuite Single Sign on to control access (SSO).
  • User administration and permissions done via Slite Groups to easily control access.

Structure

  • General channel: The General channel contains company-wide information, admin and new employee onboarding.
  • Team channels: each team has a channel where they centralize their documentation, their processes and all their internal collaboration as weekly meetings.
  • Transparent communication: All channels are public so knowledge is transparent across teams.

The People channel helps VanMoof streamline internal processes across countries.
You can clone a template of it right here →

The Brand Store channel supports operations and shows everybody what's happening in important projects.

Benefits

Slite became the go-to place for all of VanMoof's team information within only two months. And two months is quick when your team is spread all over the world.

They achieved the two goals they set to support the growth of their operations:

  • Centralize all knowledge in one place, rather than 5 different apps and tools.
  • Make it easy and fast for anyone to access the information, so people spend less time asking or searching around for information.

Now knowledge-sharing supports VanMoof operations and their international expansion. Martijn paved the road so new hires don't end up in the situation he started in.

“Now my team and the team knowledge are walking hand in hand, truly joined at the hip.” —Martijn Hazelaar, Digital Manager at VanMoof

✨ The unexpected side benefit

It not only offers better access to knowledge, but also aligns teams on their activities. It gives structure to their projects. Martjin noticed a clear improvement in the quality of the team's work.

“When your team writes and documents what they are doing, it pushes them to think better and scope their work better. This is the kind of collateral advantage Slite brings us.” —Martijn Hazelaar, Digital Manager at VanMoof
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Written by

Brieuc Sebillotte is our Sales & Customer Success lead. Working closely with customer facing teams, his role is to make sure every prospect and customers enjoy the async life. Brieuc lives in Marseille, France. He often rides his Renault Kangoo to discover the best spots on weekends and holidays in Europe! Find him @Brieuc1 on Twitter.

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