Credit Union Centralizes All of Their Documentation to Prepare for Growth

“This platform has been a real game-changer in transforming the way we create and consume information to support our employees with growing their expertise and know-how to create a remarkable member experience.”

– connectFirst

connectFirst | Hussar Branch

When connectFirst found ScreenSteps in September 2019, they were experiencing growing pains.

But the Canadian credit union had an exciting challenge ahead of them. They were scaling their company by merging four credit unions and wanted to deliver a consistent member service experience across 40+ Albertan branches. This meant that connectFirst needed to standardize policies and procedures that would be accessible to all of their 740 employees.

connectFirst began searching for a solution when they came across ScreenSteps, a knowledge base software company. Unsure of what the right solution would be, they researched the features to understand what ScreenSteps could do for their company.

connectFirst | Hussar Branch

Table of Contents

Knowledge base usage

Completed workflows
Articles everyone in the company can view
Page views in the past year

The challenge: Harmonize documents scattered across four divisions

As connectFirst prepared to merge their divisions, they knew they had a lot of work ahead of them. And one challenge stood out.

The credit union knew they needed to do something about organizing their documentation. Between the divisions, there were four banking systems and numerous processes.

In short, the credit union had to align its policies and procedures.

Not to mention, they had been documenting these policies and procedures using different tools. And those tools weren’t living up to their expectations.

Before merging, the divisions hosted their documents on everything from OneNote to SharePoint to Word docs.

“Documentation could be in many different places, depending on what division you were part of before,” said Alaska, Information Technology Support Specialist for connectFirst.

For Alaska, using these competing tools made it difficult to edit documents as well as find articles she needed. And, with the expansion, they needed each of their 40+ branches to have access to up-to-date information.

Instead of choosing one of their old tools, they decided to search for a new documentation solution.

The solution: Create a one-stop shop for all of their resources

connectFirst | Calgary Bow River

Coming under one roof, connectFirst wanted to create one set of policies and procedures — one way of doing things — that applied to all of its branches. They needed to be able to provide remarkable service to their members no matter which of their branches a member visited or called.

Their main goals were two-fold:

  1. Merge and standardize documents to create one source of truth
  2. Make it easy for employees to find information

connectFirst wanted to create a Google-like experience for their credit union, meaning one location where employees could turn to and easily find the answers to their questions. The credit union wanted a one-stop shop where employees could find all the information they needed. 

How they made the decision

Going into their search, connectFirst set different criteria that they needed in the new software they purchased. The three main factors they were looking for were:

  1. Ease of adoption by end-users and content contributors
  2. Ease of navigation and searching
  3. Top-notch support and consultation

With more than 740 employees in the company, the new software needed to make it easy to add new employees to the system. Then it needed to be easy for employees to learn.

The software connectFirst chose needed to be affordable. It needed to fit the company’s budget. And the team behind the platform needed to be supportive.

connectFirst wanted a vendor who would be by their side after implementation. They needed guidance and consultation on best practices for how to create, manage, and use their documentation. They needed a partner.

connectFirst wanted a company that would communicate with their team. They wanted a partner that would continue to support the team and care about their company succeeding with the product after the sale was over.

Adopting ScreenSteps as their knowledge base

During their search, connectFirst compared a variety of platforms. That’s when they came across ScreenSteps.

ScreenSteps is a knowledge base software company that simplifies creating, storing, sharing, and using documentation across your organization.

With ScreenSteps, Alaska and her team saw features that solved their problems:

  • The software was intuitive to learn
  • Importing content was user-friendly
  • Documents were easy to edit and maintain

“When our team got the demo, everything looked seamless and easy to edit,” Alaska said. “Importing content was painless.”

In the end, connectFirst chose ScreenSteps to help them merge their divisions’ documents.

Timeline for implementation

In January 2020, connectFirst officially purchased ScreenSteps, but the company didn’t start digging into the implementation process until February 2020. They knew they had a lot of work ahead as they merged the four divisions, but they were excited to get everything organized.

connectFirst launched their knowledge base in November 2020 when the divisions officially came together as one.

connectFirst put a lot of thought into organizing, writing, and editing their policies and procedures.

In preparing their ScreenSteps knowledge base for launch, connectFirst needed to decide on one way to handle policies and procedures. Then they needed to migrate content to their ScreenSteps site.

The largest manual they needed to migrate and edit had 1,500 articles. They condensed that content into 325 articles. They now have 790 articles written across 16 manuals.

Alaska organized content migration with a timeline tracker in Excel. This workbook tracked due dates and divided articles into stages. Then, progress was tracked through three phases:

  1. One team member imported content into ScreenSteps
  2. Another validated that the information was correct
  3. Alaska made final revisions to ensure consistency and use of their style guide

“I was always the last stage for proofreading to ensure all articles looked and sounded the same across the board,” Alaska said.

“The tracker helped us stay focused, but it also reduced the risk of becoming overwhelmed.”

Investing in content coaching with ScreenSteps

The magnitude of scaling their credit union and centralizing their documents meant that connectFirst needed extra support to make sure their implementation succeeded. connectFirst decided to hire ScreenSteps for additional services.

Content migration

Because of the number of existing documents connectFirst already had, they decided to use ScreenSteps to migrate some of their documents into their ScreenSteps site. This helped speed up the initial transfer of content.

Then Alaska and her team could go through the three phases of content implementation they created.

Training support

Once the knowledge base was established with help articles, connectFirst needed to train their employees on how to use the ScreenSteps software.

connectFirst decided to have ScreenSteps support training. In the first step of training, ScreenSteps Head Consultant Jonathan DeVore would meet with a group for a couple hours. He would train employees on the basics of how to use ScreenSteps.

From there, Alaska would take an hour or two to meet individually with employees to answer questions and provide additional support. In total, employees only went through about four hours of training on ScreenSteps.

“Screensteps’ platform is seriously easy to get started with. Our editors had only a couple hours of training to get started and then another hour or two down the line to hone their skills.” Alaska added. “An interesting bonus is that you can use ScreenSteps to teach ScreenSteps — we have a manual just for editors where we house our style guide and additional tips.”

Content coaching

Beyond implementation, Alaska worked one-on-one with Jonathan to learn best practices on how to write policies and procedures and how to take advantage of ScreenSteps’ features.

The results: Employees rely on their knowledge base 

After working with ScreenSteps for a year, connectFirst has been able to standardize documents and make those resources accessible for their employees. connectFirst has seen a variety of benefits.

Employee adoption of knowledge base

In a year of using ScreenSteps, 1,200 users at connectFirst have viewed just under 1 Million support articles. The knowledge base has become a tool employees turn to.

Six months after implementing ScreenSteps, connectFirst sent out a survey to their employees to get an idea on how employees felt about the new software. The survey asked employees about different functions and the overall impact on their work.

The results from 102 survey responses were very positive. Employees could say whether it was a “poor, neutral, good, or great” experience in each category. Neutral meant it was on par with the platform employees used before. connectFirst counted anything “neutral” or above a win.

Combining neutral, good, and great, employees’ ScreenSteps experience was rated:

  • 97% for look and feel
  • 78% for searching
  • 85% for browsing manually
  • 82% for having access to the right information
  • 78% for feeling up-to-date

connectFirst Employee Feedback Chart

“Our favorite comment overall was that it was ‘miles ahead’ of other manual hosting platforms that we've used in the past,” Alaska shared.

Employees can find the documents they need

Having a single source of truth means that the documents are organized in one location. Now, employees know exactly where they need to go to find policies and procedures they need.

As part of the implementation process with ScreenSteps, the company has merged and standardized its policies and procedures. Now, they have a one-stop shop where employees go to find answers.

“Our employees now understand how to use it, how it fits in with their other tools, and where to go for support.” Alaska said. “Our focus has shifted from adoption and training to simply enhancing the content and user experience.”

Of the 102 employees surveyed six months after launching ScreenSteps, 78% had a “neutral, good, and great” rating for searchability.

Working with a ScreenSteps content coach, connectFirst has identified ways to continue to make search easier for their employees. Content authors continue to add additional keywords to articles. Plus, they are breaking up long articles into smaller, more specific articles.

Knowledge base articles are up-to-date

Now, with ScreenSteps, connectFirst is encouraging employees to go online to the knowledge base instead of printing. This way, employees always have the most current information.

“When employees print articles, they miss potentially critical updates made by editors in the knowledge base,” Alaska explained as part of their strategy with ScreenSteps.

“Before, it was easy to print policies and procedures that could quickly become outdated. In our industry, things change so often that we cannot afford to have old content. When regulations or processes change, we work together to ensure they’re being followed. It’s the editors’ job to provide accurate content and it’s employees’ responsibility to go to the right source.”

Having up-to-date policies and procedures that their employees can access at all times is helping connectFirst maintain compliance at their credit union.

Responsive customer support personalized content coaching

For Alaska, the biggest benefit of choosing ScreenSteps has been the ScreenSteps’ team's responsiveness and end-to-end support.

“For me personally, working with ScreenSteps’ support team has been the highlight of the whole project,” Alaska said. “ScreenSteps has been instrumental in helping our sales teams deliver a remarkable member experience and they are one of our most responsive partners. Quickly jumping in to help and being willing to implement ideas — that's what makes ScreenSteps stand out.”

Whenever her team has a question or requests a new feature, the answer isn’t no. Alaska has noticed how Jonathan always takes their ideas back to the ScreenSteps development team to see if the ideas are possible.

“He will at least listen,” Alaska explains. “There's lots of stuff that he's gotten his team to implement. And we love that because it's very different working with a slightly smaller organization.”

Alaska receives content coaching from Jonathan, starting weekly in the beginning and eventually moving to bi-monthly meetings. Those meetings have been a way to learn best practices and provide personal feedback to ScreenSteps.

“It's really nice being able to work with another organization that is willing to make positive changes like we are. I'm open to hearing Jonathan's explanations and suggestions, too, so it's a great relationship.”

Alaska and her team feel like they finally have a partner that cares about their success and is available to support them.

How they feel now

connectFirst Vulcan BranchAfter having ScreenSteps live for over a year, Alaska is grateful that connectFirst decided to go with ScreenSteps for their knowledge base.

“The look and feel of ScreenSteps is really nice, and it's very intuitive,” Alaska said. “It didn’t take much to learn and adopt.”

Alaska’s team of content authors — which includes seven main administrators and 90 contributing editors across the company — continue to refine and add content to their ScreenSteps site today.

They continue to explore and implement other ScreenSteps features, like incorporating feedback shared in Comments and Revision Notes.

She is happy that employees know where to go to get answers to their questions. connectFirst employees know how to self-serve, reducing support time and taking the pressure off of the internal support team.

“I think the biggest impact is that everyone knows where to go,” Alaska said. “They're starting to understand, ‘Okay, yeah, go here.’ Everything's supposed to be here. If it's not here, then they understand who to talk to.”

Build your financial institution a one-stop shop employees can rely on

connectFirst is a powerful example of how organizing your policies and procedures into one location can help improve your operations. Part of that success was them choosing the right knowledge base vendor and partner to help them merge their four companies' documents.

For connectFirst, that answer was ScreenSteps. connectFirst adopted ScreenSteps and turned it into a critical tool for their company — creating help articles employees could rely on, storing resources in a centralized location, and making it so employees knew where to find those policies and procedures.

We look forward to seeing how connectFirst continues to improve documentation and customer service as they continue to make their resources accessible and transparent for their employees.

Is your bank or credit union merging with another? Are you looking to centralize your resources?

 Download this eBook of how ScreenSteps can help your financial organization reach your documentation goals.