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Blog

How Endeavor uses Dashworks to centralize company knowledge

August 22, 2022
Prasad Kawthekar

Endeavor is the global community supporting high-impact entrepreneurs through investments, including 49 unicorns, mentorship networks, and research and thought leadership.

We sat down with Nathan Cohen, Endeavor's Senior Director of People & Product, to hear how he leverages Dashworks to connect and streamline over 500 Endeavor team members worldwide. 

Our conversation topics include: 

  1. How traditional onboarding slows growth and drains resources
  2. The value of a partner who’ll truly build around client needs
  3. Dashworks’ unparalleled search speed and precision
“Dashworks really becomes the brain of your organization. Even as they scale, the team continues to be responsive, and the tools continue to be kickass.

Handling Institutional Knowledge as a Global Operation

With a network of 1,500+ entrepreneurs and 5,000+ mentors spread across 30+ countries, Endeavor Global is an aptly named operation. 

To service these communities, 40+ offices can be found in locations ranging from Northwest Arkansas and Canada to Lebanon and Tunisia to Pakistan and Vietnam. 

Needless to say, the Endeavor team carries a hefty load of institutional knowledge that's been scattered across numerous diverse bases. 

On this front, Nathan faces two huge tasks as their Senior Director of People & Product: 

  1. Building and maintaining software and systems to best serve their global community
  2. Enabling their 500+ staffers to function as efficiently and effectively as possible by being as connected as possible, whether that’s through culture, comms, or tech
“Endeavor includes 40+ offices in 30+ countries, from Indonesia to Kenya to everywhere in between. That leads to a lot of disjointed institutional knowledge.” 
Fig. With a globally distributed team, Endeavor's company know-how is scattered across numerous knowledge bases, time-zones, and languages.

Phase 1: The Pain Points of Decentralized Knowledge

Decentralization has long been a strength for Endeavor to cover as much ground as possible. 

At the same time, it can result in pain points like scattered institutional knowledge and a lack of quality control. This manifests particularly in unstructured onboarding flows. 

Incomplete & Less Effective Onboarding Experiences

Before Dashworks, Nathan would describe onboarding with Endeavor as “very, very simple.” 

Beyond receiving an email with instructions to check out some Google Sites and introduce yourself on Slack, “there actually wasn’t much of anything.” 

There are usually two major markers of the employee life cycle: 

  1. Onboarding — Learning to do your job with loads of structured content and guidance
  2. Settling down — Executing your job with the necessary knowledge, practice, and ease

As such, people tend to overlook the expanse in the middle: when new hires have sat through their 101s and 102s but don't yet have the familiarity to work at full capacity. 

While it’s great to get the lay of the land at Endeavor through a webinar, what happens when it’s time to actually work with an entrepreneur and answer detailed questions like: “Who should I be introducing this startup team to?” “What services can we provide for this founder’s needs?” “Has this person attended this networking event?” 

Inconsistent Onboarding = Wasted Time & Resources

Endeavor team members usually handle two types of onboarding experiences: 

  1. More traditional onboarding and training flows for new hires
  2. Onboarding new entrepreneurs into the Endeavor ecosystem, resource network, etc. 

According to Nathan, the success of either of these experiences can vary sporadically from location to location. In his words: “If they’re at an Endeavor office with highly structured onboarding, it’s seamless. If they’re at another location where there’s no institutional wisdom being passed on, they could get nothing.” 

This decentralization sadly results in inconsistency. And even the account managers working within more structured onboarding systems face roadblocks. 

Without the ability to tap into a centralized source of institutional knowledge, they’re essentially rebuilding the onboarding experience — over and over again. 

It’s time wasted on pointing out this or that resource to new hires and community members, rather than strengthening existing relationships. 

“There is a lot of institutional knowledge required to do your job. And it won’t be found in some giant onboarding webinar designed for 500 people.” 

Phase 2: Implementation in Just a Few Clicks

Endeavor connected with Dashworks soon after we’d launched. As their head of product at the time, Nathan got roped in — and immediately saw the value in our company-wide search function. 

In Nathan's words: “I have always hated searching platforms like Google Drive,” he says. “The UX drives me bonkers, and I can never find what I want. I was just in awe of how easy Dashworks was.” 

In terms of the actual implementation, he emphasizes its simplicity, especially compared to other SaaS tools he's had to muddle through onboarding with. 

As he recalls: “It’s literally two or three clicks. And that’s it.” 

He also highlights our team’s accessibility via Slack and eagerness to make the onboarding process as smooth as possible. “That has been a super impressive and very personal touch.” 

Fig. Endeavor uses Dashworks to centralize knowledge scattered across GSuite, Notion, Slack, Brandfolder, Salesforce, Dropbox, and Asana.

Benefit #1: Fast & Precise Company-Wide Search

Since onboarding and watching our capacities scale with time, Nathan has been floored by the efficiency, accuracy, and downstream savings driven by Dashworks’ company-wide search. 

Gone are the days of filtering through Slack, Google Drive, emails, etc. As Nathan sums it up: “With Dashworks, I can literally just open up a new tab and quickly find what I’m looking for.” 

He admits this doesn’t sound revolutionary, especially when there are still other universal search tools out there. But Dashworks’ efficiency and effectiveness have felt unmatched. 

As for long-term impacts, he considers how many times per day someone looks up a document, which can be extrapolated across an entire work year with 500+ Endeavor team members. 

All of a sudden, you’re saving multiple weeks — if not months — of productivity. “Those little bits of efficiency go a long, long way.”

Dashworks’ centralization has also sped up cross-team projects for the global org. 

Collaboration was, of course, always possible for Endeavor, but it previously required active efforts to simply plan and lay out resources between offices and across time zones. Today, Endeavor teams operate with a unified knowledge source to quickly coordinate research and due diligence, and to connect and share relevant materials whenever needed.

Fig. Personalized universal search and Pinned Results for canonical company-wide documentation allow team members to find exactly what they need every time.

Precise Search = Ease of Discovery

The accuracy of Dashworks’ search function has also enabled Nathan to discover resources that already exist and would’ve been nearly impossible to locate otherwise. 

He describes the countless times he’s thought, “I’m sure someone must have already created this deck at some point. But I have no idea where I’d start to look for it.” 

And, even if he did, he highlights that the individual platforms themselves are built for product management, biz dev, etc. They’re simply not designed to be precise search experiences. 

As such, it’s been highly valuable to access these essential but buried files by searching Endeavor’s whole stack at once, from Notion to Asana to Salesforce and much more. 

Subsequently, Dashworks becomes a powerful onboarding tool for new hires entering the Endeavor ecosystem with zero idea of what institutional knowledge exists for them. 

“Being able to open a tab, make a search that quick, and get results that precise — it’s just mind-blowing. Everybody can tap into the Endeavor brain like this.”

Benefit #2: Accelerating New Employee Onboarding

Dashworks has been instrumental on the employee onboarding front in two ways: 

  1. New team members have a resource to turn to after official onboarding has concluded
  2. Dashworks provides a hyper-personalized experience, accelerating new hire growth

1. Filling Gaps in the Onboarding Experience

New hires tend to hit an unfamiliar period once structured onboarding (trainings, webinars, etc.) has ended, but they have yet to settle into their daily job functions. 

As Nathan puts it: After they’ve read through the introductory Endeavor Wiki, how can they learn to actually perform their roles when they don’t even know where to seek out resources? 

Here, introducing new team members to Dashworks (“to poke and search around Endeavor’s brain”) as a highly precise yet all-encompassing single source of truth is immensely impactful. 

Fig. New hires at Endeavor can use the Dashworks start page to find information about anything or anyone in Endeavor in one location.

2. Personalized Experiences Accelerate Growth

Resources like an Endeavor Wiki or Notion space are also static, so you either get: 

  1. One non-specific, blanket training experience for every new hire at this global enterprise
  2. Offices and teams wasting time on tailoring their Wikis or Notion pages, outlining and linking to every major resource a new team member might need

In other words: Onboarding is either ineffective or a total resource drain. 

In response, Nathan emphasizes Dashworks’ ability to personalize user experiences, suggesting the most beneficial resources based on past searches, questions asked on Slack, etc. 

All of this has made Dashworks “a really powerful tool for extended onboarding.” Since the rollout, he’s seen the learning curve for new hires accelerate tremendously. 

For instance, someone who’s been at Endeavor for 30 days can quickly evolve to contribute like someone who’s been there for triple the amount of time. 

He attributes this to how Dashworks enables far more knowledge of the landscape and how teams, projects, and day-to-day ops have historically functioned. 

“Dashworks enables these expedited, hyper-personalized experiences. In that sense, it becomes a profoundly impactful and powerful onboarding tool.” 

Benefit #3: A Partner Who Prioritizes Support

Finally, he points to the value of Dashworks' dedication to user support and integrating client feedback into their product roadmap. In his words: “Since onboarding, the team has been so thirsty for customer feedback. … The tool itself is really powerful, but their very responsive team elevates it.” 

Even more, as Endeavor has watched us scale, he highlights that this product quality and level of attention to the end-to-end client experience has barely wavered. 

In all, it's been affirming for Nathan to know users have a say in the direction of this tool, which often becomes vital for their companies. 

“We’ll say, ‘Here are our pain points,’ then watch them take those into account as they plan their roadmap. I just really enjoy working with the Dashworks team.”

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