We're going to go there and say that most internet users have heard of the term “Wiki” before. Mostly because of Wikipedia, the open-sourced digital encyclopedia maintained by a global community.
Wikipedia was among one of the most popular web pages available, especially in its earliest years. Popular search engines like Google would often pull it for various search queries. Although the website is often deemed unreliable due to its community-built content, it still holds a wealth of information and has had around 1 billion edits from over 27 million users.
The premise of a Wiki rings true in a business's information hub, too. Every company should have its own Wiki page that is edited by the company workforce. Maybe you already have one and are making a conscious effort to build a new page or pages; or maybe a particular person is your company's Wiki and it’s time to get that information documented.
Whatever you've got to work with, this article will show you how to create a Wiki site that team members actually use.
Who uses a Wiki?
A company Wiki page is used for two main reasons. Firstly, a Wiki page is used for employee onboarding. Implementing the company Wiki as part of a new employee's training will save your team’s time and ensure that nothing is overlooked.
A new employee should scour the company Wiki and absorb as much information as possible. By the time the new hire is ready to start working, they're in the best position to use their mind they've been hired for, unrestricted by their knowledge or experience with company tools.
Secondly, a company Wiki should be an ongoing resource for all employees. It's not a one-read type of document that after you've been through can clear from your checklist. A company Wiki should be a resource that all employees refer to if they're ever at a loss for information.
It's hard to remember all the processes and procedures a company has. Simultaneously, these processes and procedures will update as new tools and technology become available, and the company becomes more agile.
That being said, we can't rely on emails, slack messages, or other internal communication platforms to keep people updated on these constant changes. Perhaps the message will be read; perhaps it won't be.
What's worse, is when the employee needs to find that message for reference in the future and has no clue how to find it in their inbox or sort through their hundreds of online chats with colleagues.
Introducing... a company Wiki. Whenever an employee is in doubt or finds that a process is no longer working, rather than searching for a notification email or chat, they'll be able to open the Wiki. An employee can search for the information smartly and know they'll have the most up-to-date info on their screen. It puts an end to lost info.
How to Create a Wiki
It's important to remember that a Wiki is an open-sourced piece of information. This means that it's not created by one person but by a collection of smart heads. Today, hosting services don't require you to have a ton of CSS or HTML know-how to build a Wiki, which means you can focus on content management rather than worry about building a Wiki software.
So let's identify the steps to creating a company Wiki that works.
1. What needs to be on a Wiki page?
Identify the Information you need. This can be tricky for one person to do, especially someone that doesn't have a good overview of all company teams and processes. This project is often best managed by an internal coordinator or office manager, someone who works closely with multiple teams and people across the business.
The Wiki project manager will need to identify the information that needs documenting; this can include:
- Onboarding information: mission, vision, values, culture & welcome message
- Tools & processes
- Passwords & access information
- Available resources for personal & professional development
- Org maps & basic employee information
- Work procedures
- Software packages
2. Who should contribute to a Wiki page?
Identify the people that have the information you need. If you're building a Wiki from scratch, you should be looking for a contributor from every major team within the company to help create pages.
An individual can't cover the entire company's knowledge base. Identify who is your best resource within each team and the information they can provide you. If you think something is missing, then pull in someone who has the knowledge you need.
3. Host a kick-off meeting
This kick-off meeting largely determines the success of your company Wiki as a project. By introducing the project to core stakeholders, you're essentially making them responsible for the success of their areas within the Wiki knowledge base. Psychologically, this is a great way to get everyone on board with the new system, and hold influence over every department within the organization.
A kick-off meeting is also the perfect time to onboard all stakeholders to the platform you'll use to build your knowledge base. Show them how the tool works, it's capabilities, and justify why you've decided to go with Slite- ahem, the tool you choose.
Lastly, come out of this kick-off meeting with some useful meeting minutes to progress the project, identify potential risks and hurdles, and ensure everyone is on the same page.
4. Use a Wiki template
Creating a Wiki is no easy project, and it's highly recommended that you use a template to help you succeed. There's nothing more daunting than an empty page. To help get you started, we've created a free Wiki template that you can begin to adapt to the company's needs.