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Crowdsource a Company Glossary

What is the very first thing a new employee has to learn when joining a company? That’s right — it’s internal jargon. Even the smallest teams have their way of naming things: project code-names, industry-specific terms, customer nicknames, acronyms,etc.

People talking

It’s always a great idea to provide your new hires with a glossary of company-specific words. It will help them to “decrypt” any information that they run into at the beginning. It can also work as an entry point into the rest of the internal documentation if it has the right links.

So, how do you build a glossary?

A relatively small company can easily use hundreds of words that an outsider won’t understand. Your glossary has to explain all of them. Senior employees will have problems distinguishing what’s simple, and what’s hard to understand for new hires — everything is obvious for them. You would need to source questions from fresh people, and then pass them onto the experts. For every single entry, you would need to figure out who can explain it. That person is likely to be very busy, so you would need follow-up with them multiple times to get the response. This process may span weeks. How can you make it easier? Use OneBar!

Step 1

Create a #whatis channel and /invite @onebar bot to it.

Step 2

Invite all your colleagues.

Step 3

Tell them to think about words that would sound foreign to an outsider, prepend them with “What is … ?”, and post these questions to the channel mentioning the @onebar bot.

OneBar answer to a question with "whatis" tag
A sample #whatis channel

Step 4

The bot will then search the Knowledge Base, and either tell that the question is already asked/answered, or suggest to record it.

Step 5

You or others can then assign experts to these questions, who may know the answer.

Question saved in OneBar

Step 6

OneBar will start periodically reminding these people via Slack and email until each question gets answered.

Step 7

People can add their answers right from Slack or, they can go to the web app, and create richer documents with pictures, videos, and links to other systems.

Example of an answered question in OneBar

That’s it!

With a small contribution from everyone on your team, you will build a full vocabulary of the company’s slang in no time.

Now you can tell every new hire to send all their “What is ...?” questions directly to the @onebar bot. You can also ask your teammates to subscribe to the #whatis tag. This way, if someone asks about a new word, they will get notified immediately.

"whatis" tag

Everything that comes from the #whatis channel will be visible and searchable through the #whatis tag page of the OneBar web app. This page is a perfect entry point for new people to start exploring the knowledge base.

Search results with "whatis" tag

Finally, to add some fun to the process, you can set up a little competition. Call it a “What is? marathon”. Allow a few days for it, so that everyone can participate without immediately distracting from their work. Prepare two gift-cards for top contributors. Announce the event to the all company. Figure out who won by looking at the analytics page in the OneBar web app.

Doing it this way will let you collect more items for the vocabulary faster. Your teammates will have fun competing with each other, and everyone will familiarize themselves with a new Knowledge Base — OneBar. A total win-win!

Question answering marathon notice

Stop wasting time on repetitive questions!

Leave the boring job of maintaining documentation to OneBar because your team has better things to do!
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