Effective, persistent communication is the cornerstone of KCS. Team members need to be engaged emotionally—to feel like they’re part of a big, important quest—and practically—knowing exactly what they need to do.
Rather than saying anything more about this, I’m going get out of the way and let one of our customers show you. Having participated in end-user training to kick off Wave I of a brand new KCS initiative, I was delighted to be cc:d on this fabulous email that program manager Joe Young of Intuit’s Virtual HR team sent to the new KCS candidates. My notes follow.
Congratulations! We have launched KCS for Intuit HR with an initial wave of nineteen participants. That’s pretty amazing to me. Just imagine how quickly we will be able build a central repository of shared knowledge with that many really knowledgeable people. (1)
- Tight Focus on Specific Question This will be hard for many of us. (2) KCS is not about writing articles that detail many variations. The focus is on that one question from that one person. If you did not include a detail in the chat, phone, or case, it does not belong in the article.
- Good Enough Perfection is the enemy of the good. Don’t dither and don’t agonize over the “right” wording. Get the essence of the issue into an article, save it, and move on. (3)
- Create Articles “In the Moment” When creating new articles, customer context is key. Use the words that the customer used in describing the issue. Don’t “improve” the wording. And don’t wait until you “have time to write.” You will lose that customer framing.
- UFFA Mindset shift. On every question that you get, walk through these steps:
- Use It: Search for an article that addresses the question in [our tool] (4). If it exists, use the information. Capture the ID and paste in into the [incident tracking system] case.
- Flag It / Fix It: If the article you find could be improved, Flag it for improvements (Candidates) or edit it directly (Contributors).
- Add It: If you determine after searching that no article exists that answers this specific question, write one using [our authoring environment](4). Do it now, even if people are waiting on the phones or chat. Senior leadership (copied on this email) understands that our service levels will dip as we populate this new resource. The benefits we derive will pay back a hundred-fold. (5)
Training Materials for HR KCS
I had a request in the last training session to provide the decks we used for the online training. I almost attached to this email, and then realized that a better way to model the new behavior we want to see would be to post these files in our repository.
I have created an article that contains two training decks and the current version of the Content Guidelines. I am sure everyone on this email will have no trouble locating it. (6)
I have laminated versions of the Quick Reference sheet. It’s the first two pages of the Guideline document, two-sided. If you would like a copy to have at your workstation, let me know how to get it to you. (7)
Expect to be contacted by your assigned KCS coach shortly, if this has not already happened. (8) [T]eam members should expect to spend an hour a week with their coach through the Candidate process. [People taking escalations in] the first wave will likely have more customized arrangements based on their situations. Look for further communication.(9) [List of coach assignments followed.]
- What a clear, compelling vision—who doesn’t want to be part of that?
- It’s OK to acknowledge that we’re building new skills, and that it can be hard. This “sufficient to solve” guidance for Solve Loop content is, ironically, often hardest for your best and most thoughtful team members.
- In its crispness, this paragraph models KCS style at its finest
- In the original, this was an actual link to the appropriate tool. Nice.
- When leadership acknowledges that they’re willing to take a short-term productivity hit, they rarely actually have to
- It seems like a little bit of a trick, but putting information people want into the knowledgebase really is a good ice breaker.
- Simple, helpful laminated cards with the quick reference guide are both useful and a tangible reminder of the program. This is especially useful for a highly distributed or homesourced group.
- Often, after training, I feel like participants are still somehow waiting for permission to start doing KCS. Taking the practical step of setting up the first coach meeting often supplies the needed incentive to start.
- No one communication, even one as good as this, does the job on its own. This message closes with a reminder to all of us that communication is the job that never ends in a KCS program.
ps – Know someone who is coming to TSW in Santa Clara? We’re running our popular one-day Introduction to KCS the day following, May 10th, at the TSW site. Enjoy another day in California: send a colleague, or come join us yourself!