You Cook, I Clean

Strategies for a knowledge-centered support environment

“This is a not a hotel, stop acting like it!”  One of the best tech support tips I’ve had recently came from a church pastor.  He was challenging all of us to take ownership of the small things and to be considerate of those around us.  I was struck by the application to a support organization.  Do your analysts view the work environment like their own home, or a hotel they are leaving the next day?  When opportunities arise to contribute do they take ownership, or wait for an imaginary room service to clean up?  Create an environment your employees are proud of.  When this happens, they will carry the banner for you.  No baby sitting or micromanagement necessary.

Contributing to the knowledge base is a prime example.  Capturing that knowledge on a regular basis is critically important.  However if you put a “document quota expectation” on your team it is likely to backfire.  If analysts sincerely care about their peers and the department, knowledge management will have value for them.  Not only are contributions more frequent, but they are of much higher quality.  The cookie cutter work you are likely to get from analysts filling a quota of knowledge base articles will not hit the mark.

How does one create this environment you ask?

First, the author of the knowledge article should not be required to keep it up to date.  When this happens, the analyst is essentially penalized for making contributions.  By having a “you cook, I clean” system (one analyst writes, another maintains) not only will you have another pair of eyes to add integrity to the information, but all analysts will share the burden of keeping knowledge up-to-date.  Also be sure to creatively engage resources outside of support to assist you in the task of keeping knowledge relevant.  They often times bring a valuable third party perspective.

Secondly, you must lead by example.  Find small ways to contribute to the knowledge base on a regular basis.  It is one thing to speak of the importance of knowledge management; it is another thing to show them.  Set precedence for keeping the house clean and showing pride for the department.

When your team accepts this challenge, the change will be undeniable.  Like walking past that spectacular yard in the neighborhood, everyone who has the privilege of working with your department is sure to take notice!'

Author: Nate Brown

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