As the team at Focus Lab started to scale, they recognized a need for repeatable processes that deliver the same quality of outcome every time, both externally for customers and internally for their team. To do that, they wanted to document processes to avoid communication breakdowns and siloes as their distributed team grew. They also wanted a place to share aspects of their culture as a way to maintain their values and commitments as they scale.
The team documents core processes in Slab so they can provide consistent outcomes. And, as more documentation was added to Slab, the team saw the value of having core aspects of their work written down, further strengthening their knowledge-sharing culture. Now, nothing is official until it's in a Slab post, ensuring everyone has one central place to find and contribute content and eliminating silos.
"By providing everyone with access to the same information about everything that makes Focus Lab the agency it is, we're better able to deliver on our promise to our clients and each other."
Focus Lab, a brand agency focused on B2B technology brands, works with clients across various industries. No matter who they're working with internally or externally, their focus is always on people and experience: "We want everyone to have an exceptional experience working with us, whether it's our customers, partners, or internal team members," explains Shabnam Gideon, the agency's Strategy Director. "We work hard to make sure that we treat people as they deserve to be treated—with respect, humility, and attention."
Shabnam leads Focus Lab's strategists and writers to ensure everything they do is done with intention and strategic purpose. Part of her work is to put repeatable, consistent processes in place—a critical component of delivering the high-quality outputs Focus Lab promises.
Before moving to Slab, much of Focus Lab's institutional knowledge had been in Google Docs or other role-specific tools. This led to siloed information—not the desired repeatable processes and visibility that the agency needed. "The challenge of scaling right is creating repeatable processes that deliver the same quality of service every time," Shabnam explains. "When information is siloed, it prevents teams from adhering to our quality promise."
Moreover, the team acknowledged that the agency's culture is much more impactful when written down—especially as the agency grows—to avoid becoming a big game of telephone. So the team decided to make Slab the place for all institutional knowledge at Focus Lab.
"Our agency has evolved and grown immensely, and it wouldn't have been possible without a dedicated place to document institutional knowledge," says Shabnam. All institutional knowledge that may have been previously tied up in someone's brain is now housed in Slab posts, from the agency's onboarding processes to its guidebook, business operating system, and more.
One of the ways Shabnam and the team ensure the agency grows with consistency and repeatability is by using Slab for onboarding. Every new hire is welcomed to Focus Lab with a series of templated Slab onboarding posts. "Anything someone might need to self-serve and learn on their own when they join Focus Lab is in Slab," explains Shabnam. This starts with a welcome document and includes resources and guidance on what new hires can expect in their first few weeks. They are also given a tailored list of tasks to get set up with tooling and a quick start guide for individual roles.
Directors use the onboarding templates heavily, duplicating and customizing them for each new hire. "Onboarding with Slab is plug and play," says Shabnam. "It's been an awesome addition to our onboarding process because it works so well as a repeatable process and ensures that new hires can see and have access to all the information they might need." Using Slab also takes a load off the hiring manager to spend lots of time with a new hire and reinforces Focus Lab's encouragement of autonomy by building a level of self-service from every hire's first day.
"Slab has been an awesome addition to our onboarding process because it works so well as a repeatable process and ensures that new hires can see and have access to all the information they might need."
For more sensitive information, Shabnam uses permission guards and secret topics to maintain confidentiality and repeatability. For example, when it comes to offboarding employees, she and the leadership team document the process in secret topics—ensuring smooth experiences and consistency while maintaining privacy. Permissions make sure that everyone can see what they need to see and that processes can be easily repeated, no matter who's involved.
Shabnam also relies on the content map in Slab to see the organization at a high level. It gives her a broader picture of the breadth and depth of content in Slab and helps her find orphaned content and address it. Orphaned content, a post that isn't organized into a topic, is hard to discover, rendering it less useful. With the content map Shabnam can easily find and reorganize any orphaned content—making it both searchable and discoverable. Instead of content living solely in one folder, Slab posts can live in multiple topics, making once-orphaned content even easier to discover.
An important aspect of creating consistent outcomes at Focus Lab is documenting institutional knowledge about the agency and core processes. Focus Lab relies on EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) to define how its business operates on multiple levels. The team documents this in Slab with an organizational chart, content for different functional areas, and other relevant information.
The team uses Slab as their company guidebook, including a post on all things culture and how they work at Focus Lab. There are sections for each functional team that touches on key processes and behaviors, like how to act in meetings, create video deliverables, write client messages, or collaborate with other teams.
"As we've grown and our institutional knowledge has spread out across people, it's proven to be really important to have a place to document information so that we can repeat it and maintain our standards," says Shabnam.
Finally, using Slab has encouraged a virtuous cycle of creating more documentation at Focus Lab. "When people began to see how beneficial it is to have things documented, there was a greater push to produce content in Slab," Shabnam explains. "Once folks realize how much it helps them to have a process written down to refer to later, they pay more attention to creating that content."
Knowledge sharing is part of Focus Lab's culture because they want to empower everyone on their team to make good decisions and deliver top-notch outcomes for their peers and customers. While tools like Google Docs can be everything to everybody, Slab has become the primary way of documenting things for their team. And as the breadth and depth of content in Slab has grown, and benefit of easily accessible knowledge, they've felt more empowered to share their knowledge, too.
"Nothing is official until it's in Slab, and when content is put into Slab, it immediately grants the content more attention and respect," says Shabnam. "Slab has created a place for content to become more formalized and looked at as a resource rather than a haphazard document."
In a way, Slab has also become a cultural tool for Focus Lab since it's where they document their culture and processes. It's encouraged their culture of knowledge sharing, which is a core component of how they deliver their services—and their ability to do so.
"Not only does Slab provide us with a place to document our culture, but it's also become part of our culture," Shabnam says. "By providing everyone with access to the same information about everything that makes Focus Lab the agency it is, we're better able to deliver on our promise to our clients and each other."