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Strategies for Scaling through Knowledge Sharing, 6 Expert Tips

What are the best strategies for scaling? We recently spoke to 6 experts to ask for their ideas in using Knowledge Sharing to scale.
Strategies for Scaling through Knowledge Sharing

Insights from VPs who are implementing and succeeding

What are the best strategies for scaling? We recently spoke to 6 experts to ask for their ideas in using Knowledge Sharing to scale.

How is it that some organizations can scale effectively and others not? Apart from specific industrial constraints, the laws of scaling, as do the laws of gravity apply to all. There are a few key factors in scaling any business, which include having a minimum viable product (MVP) and what EOS terms the six critical components of the Entrepreneurial Operating System, namely, vision, data, process, traction, issues, and people.

While we’re entirely obsessed and focused on the mission of helping organizations systemize their processes through knowledge sharing and training, each of the aspects mentioned above is key.

From our perspective, it’s the systemization of processes and documentation that creates the platform from which to scale; connecting people to the vision, and providing a platform for the MVP.

LinkedIn, a case in point

“During the early days of LinkedIn, the technical documentation team consisted of a single employee whose job was to create documentation for our internal IT help desk. The responsibilities included documenting IT procedures for how to help LinkedIn employees and how to update systems…This team didn’t grow at the same rate as the rest of the company, however, and as a result, LinkedIn struggled to scale documentation.

We started to hear from our engineers that the sporadic documentation was becoming a bottleneck that slowed their ability to use internally built technologies and tools…”

Tim Worboys, former Senior Manager of Software Engineering at LinkedIn and now Senior Manager Engineering Efficiency at Apple.

In his first-hand account on Infoworld, Tim shares that the solution was a three-pronged strategy that included improvements in documentation, training, and search. Hypergrowth meant it was essential to get ahead of documentation and training before they held up development and organizational growth.

So let’s talk Hypergrowth!

We recently engaged with six leaders who’ve successfully scaled their teams as part of our Knowledge Sharing Report 2022. Here are their perspectives on strategies for Knowledge Sharing when looking to scale

  1. Strategies for Scaling: Rethink administrative processes

Nadia Vatalidis, VP People, Remote

Nadia Vatalidis is the VP of People at Remote, former GitLab, and a 2022 People Pioneer, a peer-nominated award celebrating HR leaders pushing boundaries to impact their companies and employees positively.

Nadia and the team at Remote are no strangers to scaling. Remote scaled from roughly 70 employees in December 2020 to 700 employees in December 2021, a 900% increase! 

Remote is a remote-first global organization with teams in more than 60 countries across many time zones. Working asynchronously with clear documentation is one of their core tools for scaling.

In many organizations, it’s usually administrative processes and hiring that stifle scalability. The team at remote made integration and automation a priority early on, especially for daily operational-tactical work.

The team at Remote is encouraged to create documentation and respond to questions with links to that documentation to encourage long-term knowledge curation instead of relying on Slack DM’s and email.

“Not only did this reduce our workload tremendously, but it also gave us time back to focus on employee engagement initiatives and iterate on our operational work to continue to create a unique and world-class employee experience.”

What is your advice for scaling organizations?

Many organizations tend to silo information (sometimes within teams, sometimes within specific levels, and hardly publicly). I would encourage companies to consider sharing more open-source or public knowledge about the organization, its processes, environment, initiatives, and what it’s really like to work there. 
Nadia Vatalidis, VP People
Nadia Vatalidis
VP People

We have a public handbook where you can even find how we run our performance reviews at Remote and loads of helpful information. It’s a fantastic way to give back to communities. Sharing knowledge can help a small company scale quickly without the need for expensive information. We will continue to advocate for public and open-source information at Remote and hope to see this more and more around the world.

  1. Strategies for Scaling: Engage your audience to adapt to change and scale

Maja Voje, Digital transformation expert & Founder, Growth Lab

Maja Voje is a digital transformation expert who takes a “real world, real results” approach to empowering teams and organizations. As the founder of Growth Lab, she has led technology teams in companies such as Google and has helped develop growth strategies and build growth teams for more than 300 American, German, Austrian, Swedish, Belgian, Dutch, and Slovenian companies operating in international markets. Her clients include Heinekin, Bayer, Miro, and more. 

By her own admission, whilst the majority of clients work on Teams and Slack, this communication is unstructured and often leads to repeated questions and disjointed information. 

Apart from Teams and Slack, how are companies’ Knowledge Sharing in 2022 and is it effective?

Google Drive, Sharepoint, and Zendesk are standard, but many advanced clients are implementing online learning systems for onboarding and learning, with a lot of video being used as a medium. Internal newsletters are also growing, but they are very passive, and completion rates are low. Mastermind groups where founders share their ideas and findings are tremendous but often time is a challenge for founders.

What’s your advice for companies who are looking for HyperGrowth?

“The main point I find of interest is just how differently companies treat external versus internal customers. 

One thing successful organizations and brands do is engage their audience, which means both inside and out. Engage your audience, and you’re going to scale, inside and out.”

  1. Strategies for Scaling: Create stability & uniformity in uncertainty

Adi Klevit, Co-founder of Business Success Consulting Group

There are two main challenges Adi sees facing clients. The first challenge is finding and retaining talent. The second is the uncertainty of work and the macro environment at the moment. This is not surprising given the pandemic and the uncertain nature of geo-political events currently.

“You can’t scale in uncertainty with scattered information. It only creates a more disparate and uncertain environment and culture that doesn’t lend itself to new talent acquisition or retention.

You started Business Success Consulting Group because you saw the opportunity for processes to help solve a range of challenges. How does this impact a scaling strategy?

“Knowledge Sharing is key because part of the instability in scaling is the risk created when someone is sick or leaves, as well as the time it takes to onboard new team members. So there has to be Knowledge Sharing to mitigate risk but also when you're hiring, you want to make sure you're able to give new employees as much company knowledge as possible and train them, so they know what they're doing. It makes them happier and makes the whole team more productive.”
Adi Klevit
Adi Klevit
Co-founder of Business Success Consulting Group
  1. Strategies for Scaling: Be agile when building the plane while flying the plane

Roxana Dobrescu, Chief People Officer, Labster

One of the most intricate puzzles is to be able to maintain your company DNA, transfer your organizational values, and evolve your culture organically while scaling.
Roxana Dobrescu, Chief People Officer
Roxana Dobrescu
Chief People Officer

Roxana is no stranger to hypergrowth. The former People Director of Glovo has had a wealth of experience scaling teams across cultures and locations and focuses on agility in order to scale. 

People practices have to be agile, customized, and scalable to enable growth. 

Labster went from 100+ team members to 400+ team members in less than nine months. What has been your approach?

Our approach is to look at our processes as an MVP, building our processes while keeping enough space and elasticity to constantly improve them.

Roxana states that decreasing digital fatigue is of vital importance not only in creating engagement but in ensuring a streamlined process.

Our key takeaway from her approach is that agility is not an approach purely for developers; it’s an organizational framework. The more agile the approach to people and processes, the faster you can grow.

  1. Strategies for Scaling: Building internal trust is a competitive advantage

Janelle Howell, Founder of Training by Nelle

Trust has typically been thought of as somewhat of a kumbaya type of airy-fairy value until recently. Organizations have begun to see social proof’s real impact and importance in influencing decisions and purchase making. 

The value of trust, however, has as much impact internally as it does externally regarding customer value.

“When millennials believe their company has a high-trust culture, they are 22 times more likely to want to work there….” Forbes

Janelle “Nelle” Howell, a professional corporate trainer and coach with over 15 years of experience facilitating and training groups in various sectors, states that internal trust can be categorized as a competitive advantage.

"Organizations that openly (and intentionally) share knowledge throughout all levels will build greater trust, unity, and facilitate better decision-making all around - and it’s those organizations that will ultimately win in the end."
Janelle Howell
Janelle Howell,
Founder of Training by Nelle

Janelle, what is the challenge organizations embrace scaling through Knowledge Sharing?

“With employee turnover showing no signs of slowing down and older workers opting for early retirement, organizations will also need to address the issue of how they intend to prevent knowledge loss and what that long-term strategy looks like.”

Our key takeaway is, as emphasized by Adi, that a knowledge sharing approach needs to both mitigate risk as well as help onboard new team members timeously whilst ensuring employees have the access and ability to appropriately receive and share knowledge in a timely manner.

  1. Strategies for Scaling: Utilize the creator economy to engage and scale faster

Mary Glowacka, People Excellence Lead, Preply

Mary is the People Excellence Lead for Preply and has managed change management and development initiatives across a wide range of industries, including leadership roles at EY, Bank of America, and Relx. 

What do you consider an essential strategy for Knowledge Sharing in scaling?

Most companies are decentralized when it comes to knowledge sharing - be it in the corporate environment or start-ups and scale-ups.  Companies should be devising strategies that incorporate this trend as a matter of fact rather than creating over-engineered processes for knowledge sharing that create bottlenecks, require numerous sign-offs, and therefore slow down information and knowledge sharing in businesses.
Mary Glowacka, People Excellence Lead
Mary Glowacka
People Excellence Lead, Preply

Whilst most organizations might see this as a tactic, we can certainly see the potential for scaling. Utilizing platforms that enable templates and whereby external content can seamlessly be integrated is a massive time saver. As we’ve said before, time is growth!

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