Why You Should Encourage Your Employees To Write Technology Blogs
We just went through the process of motivating our employees to write blog posts. I was one of three Motivators, we split our office of around 30 people between us and had 1:1 meetings with everyone.
This was a great opportunity to apply the knowledge I’d gained building Baot’s successful Technology Blogs Writing program.
The results are amazing. People feel that the company wants them to grow and gives them the opportunity to do so. They realize that their colleagues care about them. They’ve also become better professionals, because the act of writing forces you to check all your facts.
I summarized all the reasons to write below. In the meetings we verified everyone is aware of all the good reasons. We checked if they have any obstacles that we could remove, for instance helping them find time to write at work. Most importantly, we brainstormed and came up with 2–3 ideas for their next posts. We review each other’s posts before publishing, and clap afterwards.
Often when I asked people what they could write about, the answer was “I don’t know, nothing I work on it significant enough to write about”. I’m very familiar with this feeling; I felt it for my first few years as a programmer. Today when I look back I realize I could’ve written about every design decision I made, or every time I learned something new. If I’d have done this then, today I’d have a record of things I have already forgotten. As long as you keep working, you always make new decisions, you always learn new things, and you always have challenges to solve and to write about.
Reasons to write
To learn more about something you already did
Last week we had a pretty standard design decision to make, about creating a new data model. Writing about it helped me verify all the facts and be certain of all our constraints and considerations.
Documenting a process
This week when the question came up again, I was able to explain the decision making process clearly and precisely, and organizing the information in writing helped me a lot.
To motivate you to learn something new
We don’t always have a task, or an awesome side project to motivate us to learn something new. Writing about it can be the reason to research and build (and giving a talk about it at a meet-up is an even bigger motivator).
To realize how much you know
It’s always fun to receive good feedback about a post, or to hear that it helped someone.
To help other developers
When you were just starting as a developer, would this post have been helpful? When you were just starting this task, would this post have been helpful? If so, there’s someone, somewhere who would appreciate this post.
Writing clearly is an important skill that can help you at work: when you write emails, summarize meetings, create documentation or send messages on Slack.
It’s alway good to build relationships. Knowing more people (and having more people know you) will help you make your next career move, help you recruit for your current company, and give you a chance to make new friends.
Make documentation part of your company culture
When people are used to writing, they are more likely to write internal documentation that is crucial to long term knowledge sharing.
Now that everyone is convinced, it’s time for some recommendations:
- Use Medium. Being forced to configure your own blog, choose palettes and so many other things delays publishing, and doesn’t really help you.
- Use these awesome websites for drawing and images: draw.io, canva.com, and unsplash.com.
- Always write in English.
If you use this methodology at work, let me know!