Company Wiki 101: What It is, Why You Need It, and How to Create an Effective One

Andy Cook
June 9, 2022
Company wiki title card

Whenever a company grows, it also accumulates a wealth of knowledge, from processes and best practices to institutional culture. Over time, these valuable stores of information can be scattered across the organization. 

A company wiki aims to solve this problem by collecting all the information into a centralized repository, thus providing an unified and easily accessible resource for everyone.

What is a Company Wiki?

A company wiki (also known as a corporate wiki, enterprise wiki, or business wiki) is a computer-based repository of internal information. It aims to provide a single source of truth that everyone can refer to, collaborate on, or update as necessary.

The term comes from wiki, a server program that allows users to collaborate on website content. The difference is that company wikis are closed systems designed for internal use by employees, in contrast to wiki sites like Wikipedia and customer portals.

Wiki vs Blog: What’s the Difference?

A blog is owned by one person, or in a business context, one department. It can solicit articles for contribution by subject matter experts, but at the end of the day updating and editing falls on the owners themselves.

In contrast, a wiki is designed to be crowd-sourced: everyone contributes and shares knowledge by writing content, editing or updating it. While there may be editors in charge of proofreading and maintaining the site, all members have a say in content creation and revision.

For more on the subject, check out “What Is the Difference Between a Wiki and a Blog?”

What’s the Difference Between a Wiki and a Knowledge Base?

There are times when company wikis are used interchangeably with internal knowledge bases. However, there is a major difference between the two.

Wikis have a much more collaborative design. Contributors can submit new content or edit existing entries, and have them published instantly. Moderation comes after, when editors review the change and either approve them or roll it back to the previous version. It also uses peer review by colleagues to ensure the content or changes remain factual. This allows the wiki to build new content at a faster rate and remain up-to-date, at the potential expense of accuracy.

An internal knowledge base has stricter controls. New submissions or changes to existing entries must be reviewed first before they can take effect. While this makes it slower, it also means the knowledge base is much more reliable and authoritative.

What are the Benefits of a Company Wiki?

Better productivity

By collecting all knowledge in a single repository, people waste less time hunting for information or seeking help from colleagues.

Higher job satisfaction

Employees are less likely to be frustrated when answers are just one click away. In addition, they feel more involved and relevant by being able to contribute to the wiki. A study of IBM’s internal wiki found that enjoyment was the primary driver for employee participation in the project.

Unified source of truth

The wiki’s peer review process allows everyone to agree on a unified version of everything, whether it’s a procedure, practice, or job responsibility. This enables processes to become more streamlined and promote best practices.

Easier onboarding

Training and recruitment are improved when onboarding materials are presented in one convenient location.

Faster learning 

Employees learn new methods and achieve lateral growth faster when information is placed at their fingertips.

Valuable knowledge retention

Priceless intangibles like experiences and better ways of doing things are retained within the organization, even when employees and veteran workers go.

These are the reasons Why a Corporate Wiki Will Always Own a Spot in Your Tech Stack.

Choosing the Right Wiki for your Company

When selecting an internal wiki software, you must remember two things: it will function as the company’s Bible or Wikipedia, and it will be used by everyone, not just a select few people or departments. Therefore, the objective is to make it as easy, painless, and convenient to use as possible.

These are the features it needs to do that.

  1. It must have an intuitive interface and navigation.
  2. There must be a good search function that allows users to locate information quickly and reliably. 
  3. Content hierarchy and tagging allow for quicker navigation.
  4. Easy editing and linking even by non-technical users.
  5. A strong access rights management
  6. It can be integrated with existing company software, to allow users to quickly access the wiki without leaving productivity apps.

Examples of useful integrations:

Slack integration

MS Teams integration

How to Set Up a Company Wiki

An internal wiki represents a major project, one that calls for all members of the organization to participate and be invested in. However, the end product makes it worthwhile for everyone.

  1. Project preparation
  • Get the buy-in of everyone in your organization. As the name suggests, an internal wiki is a company-wide project that relies on members’ involvement, so everyone from the top brass to the newest recruit must be sufficiently aware and hyped up.

  1. Wiki preparation
  • Create templates that everyone can use for different types of content. These can be FAQs, How to, Step by Step guides, or even Audio / Video recordings.
  • Tettra provides a number of convenient templates you can use for your wiki. They are even grouped by department!
  1. Resource gathering
  • Pinpoint the institutional knowledge that should be stored, from individual job responsibilities to methodologies, working relationships, even team values and culture.
  • To streamline the process, designate project coordinators for each team and department. While everyone is expected to contribute, these coordinators are in charge of tracking the progress for their team, ensuring the content is relevant and accurate, and that all the subject matter expertise of their department is covered in the wiki.
  1. Set up access rights
  • While wikis rely on peer review, it’s always a good idea to have editors. Assign designated reviewers, and make sure they are enthused about the project so they continually invest time moderating content.
  • Configure roles and permissions based on access level or need to know, if required.
  1. Content population
  • Test the system by having the project coordinators get first crack at the wiki. Let them post their own content and edit each other’s submissions. This way they can also evaluate the wiki’s performance, moderation and change log features.
  • With initial content up, invite everyone to submit their own contributions.
  • Use tags and categories to make information easier to find.
  • Encourage links to relevant works.

Once you’ve got the system up and running, congratulations! You now have your very own company wiki! 

Don’t have a wiki for your business yet?

At Tettra, we’ve built a business wiki that is simple, smart, and connected. It will help your team share and access collective knowledge.

Tettra is also the only wiki that connects to a lot of other tools you use on a daily basis, such as Slack, Google Docs, GitHub, Zapier, and more. We even enable you to search your wiki right from Slack.

If you’re using Slack and need a wiki, you can sign up for Tettra for free on our site. If Slack’s not your thing, you can still lean on Tettra as your workplace wiki.

The sooner you start documenting, the better off your team will be. Ideally, you started documenting things from day one. But if not, there’s no better day to start than today.

Setting up an internal wiki today is much like the famous Chinese proverb:

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

Sign up for a free Tettra account, and get started with your wiki. Your entire team will benefit from being able to share and find the knowledge they need.

Want to bolster your existing wiki’s effectiveness? check out Wiki Best Practices: Top 10 Tips.

Start building your internal knowledge base today

Fewer repetitive questions for you and faster answers for your team.

We guarantee you’ll be hooked.

Create your knowledge base