The Best Things We Learned At Knowledge Fest 2022
In case you missed it, Knowledge Fest, Guru’s 2-day, free, virtual event was packed with insights for the new world of work. Focused on the intersection of knowledge sharing, collaboration, internal communication, and remote work, our speakers shared their success stories and best practices with a very enthusiastic audience.
What were the biggest takeaways? Here were some of our favorite themes and how the experts approached them.
Building positive culture
Is it possible for employees at every level of seniority to make positive changes at work? The KF consensus was a resounding yes — but only if you’re willing to put in the work. As Gary Sorrentino, CIO at Zoom, put it, “Employees and customers want the same thing: an inclusive experience.” While inclusivity is generally thought of as a top-down culture-builder, it actually extends out to everything from embracing asynchronous work to collectively building a new company culture post-pandemic.
“Leaders are anyone who takes responsibility for the success of those around them. It’s not just those at the top of the hierarchy.” — Amy Lavoie, VP People Success at Torch.io
Sometimes building positive relationships is just a matter of taking some time to think about your intended audience as you put together communications. No one wants to be the person who just dumps information on everyone else. Dr. Rachel Green Teague, Senior Knowledge Management and Training Specialist at SNHU, explained this by contrasting “knowledge shared at me” and “knowledge shared with me.”
Scaling remote work through communication
But it’s not just about culture, as Jen Paxton, VP of People at Smile.io, pointed out during her session, Stayin' Alive: Engagement Strategies to Help Teams Thrive. Better internal communications and knowledge sharing are foundational to scaling remote work.
Now that “remote work is no longer a privilege, but a requirement,” companies know they need to adapt (or employees will go elsewhere), but often aren’t clear on where to start.
“Communication is the crux of any company's success. Effective communication leads to stronger decision making & problem solving skills.”
But with so many ways to communicate — especially in remote or hybrid environments — teams may struggle with knowing the best format. This is where the company can take an active approach to their communication strategy and decide how to leverage asynchronous and synchronous communication in the workplace. Here’s how Smile approaches the two:
Smile takes thoughtful approach to meetings by identifying their goals, such as high participation, energy, constructive collaboration, and meaningful connection.
Meetings are used for urgent or time sensitive work, company updates, and emotional work (ex: connecting w/teammates, developing rapport, having difficult conversations, conflict resolution, etc.)
Asynchronous (everything else)
How does this benefits for the Smile team? Fewer interruptions, and increased productivity as employees are able to properly to prioritize their work and block off time for projects that require deeper focus/work.
Tip for success: Develop a strong culture of documentation.
Adopting the right success metrics
“Are you up to the challenge of creating a work environment where employees are thinking that they’re productive, instead of their employers defining what productivity and success look like?” — Gary Sorrentino, CIO at Zoom
So you’re adapting your culture, improving your communications, and successfully scaling remotely… how do you know if your efforts are a success? As Allison Palombo, Chief of Staff at Cake, in her session Building for Tomorrow: The Importance of Ops Infrastructure, explained, “Remote-first is difficult for people and companies and bosses who are not comfortable with outcome-based metrics of success. I worked somewhere earlier in my career where the bar for success was just being at my desk.”
How do you fix that? Jen Paxton had another helpful set of guides for measuring success when building conection and fostering an environment of support and flexibility:
Focus on results, not hours
Get feedback and adjust policies as necessary
Provide resources and perks that encourage flexibility
The Guru difference
We also heard a whole lot about how Guru helps all of these companies create better culture and more flexibility. The team from 15Five showed how, after implementing Guru in 2019, their Slack got “quieter,” staff onboarding time decreased, and the team was actually able to get focus time for projects.
Dana Tessier, Director of Knowledge Management at Shopify, showed how Guru’s transparency gave employees trust in the system through:
Verification (and seeing when something was last verified)
Providing visibility into the author
Seeing previous changes to Cards
Adding comments with questions to the author/verifier
Mo Weinhardt, Mach49’s Director of Knowledge Management & Content Creation, talked about how she supports her remote team with the knowledge they need to hit the ground running:
“Guru plays a critical role; it enables company-wide asynchronous comms and serves as a wayfinding tool.”
Joe Gaspard discussed how Guru’s Analytics allow him to see what everyone searches for so he can figure out what content he needs to create in his role as go-to-market enablement for Airtable; and Kristin Fretz, Director of RevOps at Bread Financial,loves that “Guru helps me understand how other functions operate, what they’re focused on, and how they think about our company.”
Watch the keynote
Want to learn more about how Guru is powering the new world of work? Check out the full keynote from Rick Nucci, Co-Founder and CEO, Mitch Stewart, Co-Founder and CTO, and Ly Nguyen, VP of Product Management: