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Avoiding the Most Common Knowledgebase Pitfall: Maintenance beyond the Initial Launch

Knowledgebase 101

Increasingly, companies are realizing the value that a knowledgebase offers their employees.

A knowledgebase is a searchable repository of information that provides answers to frequently asked questions, step-by-step process guides, articles, and more on an array of topics across the employee lifecycle—everything from onboarding to retirement. A knowledgebase ensures accessible and usable information is available to employees—acting as a training tool for new staff and a continuous learning resource for all.

While a knowledgebase is essential for a leading practices HR shared services organization, the struggle to maintain the knowledgebase after its initial launch is a common pitfall. Oftentimes, there are signs that indicate when a knowledgebase may need to be evaluated and refreshed to continually improve the service experience.

Staying ahead of the Curve

HR functions are evolving to better serve their employees and adapt to today’s needs. As such, any change (e.g., the retirement of programs or offerings at your organization) could result in the need to revisit knowledge articles to ensure relevancy and accuracy. Possible scenarios include:

  • Policies, leveraged in the knowledgebase, may have changed at your organization
  • The way work is performed at your organization may have changed and knowledge articles do not reflect those new processes
  • New systems may have launched as legacy systems have retired

These changes may be driven by internal initiatives or external regulation. Either way, your knowledgebase can quickly become outdated due to the rapid pace of change.

Four Best Practices for Maintaining a Strong Knowledgebase

If any of the above scenarios apply to your organization, it may be time to review the content in your knowledgebase. Below are four best practices to ensure a current knowledgebase:

  1. Create a governance structure that clearly defines roles and responsibilities
    • Identify a single point of contact responsible for oversight
    • Define document owners for each knowledge article, so responsibility is appointed to select individuals
  2. Audit articles on a regular basis (e.g., quarterly, annually)
    • Consider the timing of major events, such as open enrollment and employee engagement surveys, to ensure articles are updated appropriately
    • Establish article expiration dates to trigger notifications when an article needs to be reviewed
  3. Establish seamless processes for updating articles
    • Leverage technology to effectively manage the workflow for updating articles
  4. Remind document owners and subject matter experts of the value of maintaining an up-to-date knowledgebase
    • Encourage staff to be on the lookout for outdated content
    • Discourage the use of storing content on shared drives or remote desktops, leveraging the knowledgebase instead


Proactive upkeep of your knowledgebase will ensure users consistently receive the information they are searching for while minimizing the amount of time and effort it takes to get there. A well-written, maintained, and accessible knowledgebase ensures you meet one of the key objectives of the tool—delivering a positive user experience. It will also enhance the level of knowledge and transparency in your organization and reduce legal and compliance risks. Most importantly, the knowledgebase will continue to help your shared services organization innovate and improve its service delivery.

A knowledgebase goes well beyond providing information—it’s a single-point solution to provide accurate and consistent information.

Additional Resources

ScottMadden: Innovating to Improve and Mature Your Shared Services Organization

This report is part of the Human Capital Management (HCM) Minute series. To view all featured Minutes, please click here.

Additional Contributing Author: Luke Williams

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Contributing Authors

Brad Cauthen Director

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