There a lot of ways companies try to save money. Among them all, the most popular seem to be slowing down hiring, canceling nice-to-have software subscriptions, and even planning fewer team outings.
However, chopping your budget in half isn’t always the best way to cut costs. That can actually harm your company’s financial performance since your employees won’t have the resources to do their jobs well.
As counterintuitive as it might seem, shelling out some cash on a software solution, like as an internal knowledge base, can actually save your company money. Among other benefits, it can protect your employees’ time and, in turn, boost their productivity.
What’s an Internal Knowledge Base?
An internal knowledge base is a central database of information where all of your coworkers can create, store, and search for internal documents about processes, projects, or products they’re building. You can think of it as an internal Wikipedia for your company. Don’t know how to do something? Not sure who is in charge of a specific project? Just look it up in your internal knowledge base.
Most internal knowledge bases will contain information about your company’s benefits, onboarding process, workflows, and more. They can organize this important information in a hierarchical structure, making it easy for your employees to search and quickly find the answers to their questions.
Internal knowledge bases also integrate with a lot of tools in your tech stack. This allows you to import and embed any documentation that’s scattered across multiple platforms and create a single source of truth for your company. Some internal knowledge bases even integrate with Slack, which enables you to search for and share knowledge right in your chats and channels.
Additionally, internal knowledge bases are collaborative. So, when your team is creating content, everyone can suggest new topics, use templates to expedite the writing process, and share final drafts with each other.
Out of all of the features an internal knowledge base boasts, though, the one that will protect your employees’ time the most and have the greatest impact on their productivity isn’t highlighted above.
It’s actually the tiny magnifying glass at the top-right corner of the page — the search function. Here’s how this subtle yet potent feature can save your company more time and money than you might expect.
How an Internal Knowledge Base’s Search Function Saves Your Company Time and Money
If your company is like most, then chances are that people on your team are probably wasting a lot of time looking for the information they need to do their jobs.
Source – McKinsey
That means if your employees work eight hours per day, five days per week, 50 weeks per year, they’re spending 380 hours per year looking for information.
That’s equivalent to 47.5 workdays, which is about two whole work months.
This is not only a waste of time but also a source of deep frustration for your employees.
Fortunately, investing in an internal knowledge base can slash the amount of time your employees spend hunting down information.
An internal knowledge base returns search results like Google does. It knows that people want the most relevant information, so it ranks its results by the relevancy of each page stored in its database.
To determine this relevancy, internal knowledge bases give each page a relevancy score based on title matches, header matches in descending order from H1 to H3, keyword matches in the body content, and its age. Good internal knowledge bases also leverage typo-tolerance to account for a user’s spelling mistakes.
Additionally, internal knowledge bases allow users to refine their discovery experience by searching for knowledge within content categories.
According to the same McKinsey study, a knowledge base with these types of search and discovery capabilities can free up 35% of the time the average knowledge worker spends foraging for information.
That may not seem like a major impact at first glance, but let’s refer back to the numbers.
Again, if your employees work eight hours per day, five days per week, 50 weeks per year, investing in an internal knowledge base can save each of them 133 hours per year. That’s equal to 16.6 workdays per year.
The thought of salvaging three work weeks per year for each of your employees might make you want to leap out of our chair and fist pump triumphantly.
But if you calculate how much additional productivity it creates for your entire company, you could get more excited than a millennial who has just found out their office has kombucha on tap.
By the numbers: calculating how much money an internal knowledge base can save your company
According to Trading Economics, the average U.S. worker earned approximately $24 per hour in December 2019.
So, given the fact that a searchable knowledge base can save each of your employees 133 hours per year, investing in an internal knowledge base will save the average 100-person company about $320,000 in productivity per year. That’s a lot of work getting done.
Here’s the full formula for reference:
Even better, most internal knowledge bases cost a fraction of the savings in productivity they generate, so they’ll produce a healthy return on investment for your company.
For instance, if an average 100-person company invests $30,000 per year on an internal knowledge base that saves them $320,000 per year, they’re earning a 967% ROI.
Again, feel free to check our math:
The Easiest Way to Save Your Company Time and Money
Most people value their internal knowledge base because it slashes the amount of time they spend searching for and gathering information for their jobs. But most people don’t realize that the amount of time an internal knowledge base can free up actually saves your company hundreds of thousands of dollars. And that’s ultimately where the value of an internal knowledge base lies.