Companies can’t function well without good internal documentation. It’s the written materials that help workers, investors, and others in the business community grasp the company’s inner operations. This type of documentation is useful for several reasons, including facilitating employee onboarding and helping workers learn the ins and outs of their jobs.
Findings from studies show that the typical worker spends 3.6 hours each day searching for information, which is almost half of their working day. All of this can be prevented if they have good documentation.
In this post, we will go through five methods to help you master internal documentation, so you can onboard new employees, boost productivity, prevent knowledge loss, and more.
Determine Your Core Demographic
Defining who you’re writing for is the first step in producing high-quality internal documentation. A thorough understanding of your employees will allow you to design documentation that precisely addresses their concerns. You should start by learning more about your employees, their roles in the business, and the information they require to succeed.
To give an example, should your target audience consist of new employees, you need to make sure your documentation holds all the instructions required for their onboarding. In addition to getting their hands on the materials they need to execute their jobs, this might also contain information about the company’s rules, processes, and systems. Your documentation’s emphasis may shift to strategic plans, budgets, and key performance indicators (KPIs) if your readers are managers.
While establishing your core demographic, you should also consider their degree of competence and familiarity with the specific topic. If you’re writing technical documentation, for instance, you should adjust the complexity of your language and explanations accordingly. Similarly, if your company is operating worldwide and your documentation is intended for a global audience, you should think about cultural variations and any language barriers.
Establish Your Objectives
When you’ve figured out who you’re writing for, setting objectives is the next stage. What are you hoping to accomplish with all of this internal documentation? To produce useful and relevant material, you should keep your objectives in mind.
Some examples of possible aims include streamlining the process of orienting new hires, making internal resources more accessible, and establishing uniform practices. No matter your desired results, you must make sure they correspond to the requirements and expectations of your intended audience.
Choose a Documentation Format
For your internal documentation to be useful, you must choose the appropriate documentation format. There is a selection of formats available, some of which include internal wikis, PDFs, videos, and web pages, among several others. Each format has its benefits and faults, so you must pick one that can be most beneficial to your company.
Internal wikis are often used for internal documentation due to their collaborative editing features and ease of updates. Additionally, they give employees a space where they can share ideas and other useful information. PDFs are great for storing and sharing official documents like regulations and procedures. When it comes to quickly and easily accessible information, web pages can be your go-to choice, while videos can provide great step-by-step tutorials on how to complete a task.
Put Together Material That is Easy to Understand and Concise
Producing material that is both clear and succinct is essential for internal documentation. Your writing for the documentation has to be clear and simple. These guidelines will assist you in producing information that is to the point and accessible:
- Steer clear of technical terms and keep things simple. Instead, use terms that everyone in your company can understand.
- Headings and subheadings may help readers navigate your text more easily by drawing their attention to certain sections.
- Use bullet points and numbered lists to display information that can be readily skimmed and comprehended.
- To better communicate difficult ideas or processes, use visual aids such as photos and diagrams.
- When writing, make sure not to burden your readers with unnecessary, meaningless clutter.
Update and Examine Your Documentation
The last stage in producing useful internal documentation is to revisit it regularly and make any necessary changes. Keeping your documentation up-to-date as your methods evolve is essential.
Regular checkups of your documentation will help maintain its relevance and keep it up-to-date. This is a great chance to receive feedback from your intended readers and make any necessary adjustments to your documentation. To better serve your audience, you might consider conducting surveys or holding feedback sessions.
Every successful business has thorough internal documentation. By adhering to these five steps, you’ll be able to produce internal documents that are accessible to your intended audience, helpful in achieving organizational objectives, and straightforward to read and follow. Doing so will help guarantee that your company’s internal documentation serves as a valuable resource and contributes to the growth of your enterprise.
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