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Tips for using a wiki as an employee manual

By Jill Pyle

Starting a new job is never easy. As the new person in the office, there’s always an overwhelming amount of information to absorb. If you’re hired by an organization with a formal and thorough orientation process, consider yourself lucky. I’ve had some employers that expected me to learn by osmosis. Others have been kind enough to hand off a stack of dusty binders or offer a computer where I can navigate the depths of the company web site. I’ve come to the conclusion that orientation processes are often reflective of how organizations manage and share knowledge.

Typically, when I enter a new work place, I spend the first week getting to know my colleagues and volunteering for all the dreadful jobs they’ve been putting off, like “washing through” a list of 10,000 contacts. When I joined inmedia, I was assigned a unique introductory task. They asked me to write the employee manual.

I bet you’re thinking, as I was then, they must be crazy. Well, not exactly.

As a long-standing and close-knit team, they were too entrenched in the inmedia process to convey it to a newbie in any orderly or efficient fashion. Everything that was new to me was second nature to them. I had to become an observer.

inmedia, like many organizations, needed someone new and unbiased to take a fresh look at their process, collect information and transfer it somewhere safe. The task seemed daunting at first but with the help of a wiki, I created a home for our explicit and tacit knowledge.

Our wiki-based employee manual will always be a work in progress; that’s the beauty of a wiki. For the overwhelmed new hire assigned the role of wiki editor, here are my best practices:

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Celebrity geeks

Computerworld

By inmedia

Your IT guy just might be the next big movie star! For those of you toiling away in a tech job and dreaming of becoming famous, here’s an article from this morning’s Computerworld that should encourage you not to give up your Hollywood dreams. Click to read Geek stars: The secret (nerdy) life of celebrities.

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