By: Greg DeVore on March 27th, 2023
What is a Find & Follow Organization?
It’s been a journey to develop the methodology for a Find & Follow Organization.
When we first launched ScreenSteps nearly 20 years ago, all we thought we were going to do was help companies write better help guides with easy-to-use knowledge base software.
Over the past 20 years, we’ve realized that it takes more than just having a good knowledge base. For a company to really leverage knowledge and improve operations, it also requires a cultural shift in how the business operates and in how employees are trained.
So, we developed the Find & Follow Training Framework and began coaching companies on how to become Find & Follow Organizations. And we’ve seen impressive results, including one contact center saving millions of dollars.
The purpose of this article is to introduce you to what a Find & Follow Organization is. This includes the key principles of the business approach, benefits, and challenges.
Defining a Find & Follow Organization
A Find & Follow Organization uses a different approach to business operations and knowledge management.
Employees rely less on memorization and tribal knowledge. Instead, a Find & Follow Organization is focused on centralized knowledge, standardized procedures, and just-in-time digital guides.
Conceptually, it’s pretty simple. When employees have questions or need to perform a job, they go to your internal knowledge base to find answers and follow the steps. It’s kind of like an internal Google.
Instead of thinking in terms of training and knowledge management, Find & Follow Organizations look at everything through the lens of knowledge operations.
They don't just think about what information is stored in a file somewhere. They consider how that knowledge will be accessed and used to drive better performance.
Traditional training & knowledge management VS Find & Follow
Find & Follow isn’t just a training program or a way of writing help articles. It is a different way of thinking.
Most training and knowledge management programs are more information-centric. Their goal is to capture as much information as possible.
Find & Follow Organizations are user-centric. They are focused on helping end-users do something, whether that is handling a call with a customer or performing a procedure in the back office.
Instead of focusing on what employees need to know, Find & Follow Organizations start with what employees need to be able to do and then work backward to determine what information needs to be taught and what can simply be referenced.
Traditional training and knowledge management programs create encyclopedias of knowledge. Find & Follow Organizations drive performance by creating recipes instead of encyclopedias.
In terms of the Knowledge Ops Maturity Model, a Find & Follow Organization is any company functioning in the “Guide,” “Train,” or “Accelerate” stages.
3 key principles
A Find & Follow Organization is focused on three principles. These principles are key functions to a Find & Follow Organization’s success.
1. Centralized knowledge
First, you need to provide a single source of truth so employees know where to turn when they have questions.
You’ll need a cloud-based software — preferably a knowledge base or other knowledge management tool — that centralizes all your company’s information and resources.
Everyone is on the same page because they are all referencing the same digital guides to do their job.
2. Reliable and easy-to-use digital guides
It’s not enough to have a knowledge base. To be a Find & Follow Organization you need your single source of truth to be reliable and easy to use.
Instead of focusing on just managing knowledge, your focus is on making knowledge operational.
That means your knowledge base is filled with digital guides that provide clear instructions and help employees do their jobs. The guides are findable, followable, and scannable. And it is easy for end-users to search and find the appropriate guide.
3. Employees are trained to rely on those guides for everyday tasks
A Find & Follow Organization doesn’t require its employees to memorize everything. Instead, they train their employees on how to find the appropriate guide and follow the instructions provided in any guide.
This approach is what we call the Find & Follow Training Framework.
Situations Find & Follow helps address
Some common training and operations challenges that Find & Follow helps navigate include:
- Change management
- Knowledge management
- Onboarding new hires
- Employee training
- Employee performance
There are many benefits to making the necessary changes to become a Find & Follow Organization. Those benefits come in the form of improved KPIs as well as less-statistical improvements, such as decreased stress and improved morale.
Here are a few benefits we’ve seen in other companies who have adopted Find & Follow:
- Reduced mistakes
- Increased consistency
- Decreased supervisor questions
- Onboarding new hires faster
- Cross-training employees in less time
- Increased knowledge usage
- Improved performance metrics
- Decreased support tickets
- Adapting to change easier
- Decreased employee and supervisor stress
- Happier customers and employees
As it is with introducing any new strategy, technology, etc. to a company, one of the biggest challenges is getting buy-in. To succeed, you need everyone committed to adopting a new way of working
Luckily, the Find & Follow Training Framework will help with the adoption process.
Another challenge is timing. On one end, it is difficult not to push too fast and launch before you are ready. On the other hand, it isn’t good to wait to launch because you don’t have 100% of your content prepared.
This is why we encourage the 80% Launch approach. You prioritize writing guides for the procedures that take up 80% of the employee’s time. That way, you can support employees faster and continue to write articles for that other 20% post-launch.
Strengthen business operations and improve employee performance with Find & Follow
Adopting Find & Follow in your company is a transformational choice. Becoming a Find & Follow Organization takes commitment and buy-in from your entire team.
Do you want your business to become a Find & Follow Organization?
Learn how to become a Find & Follow Organization with this blog post. In it, you’ll discover what changes you’ll need to make so that you can achieve Find & Follow Organization status.
If you need help figuring out whether your business is a good candidate for a Find & Follow Organization, talk to a ScreenSteps expert. They can quickly help you determine whether a Find & Follow approach would work in your specific business.