What it takes to make a great intranet

I still remember one day that my ex-boss sent us a link to a new marketing tool. He wanted us to use it without telling us why or how it could help us to work better. When it comes to the intranet, the similar scenario also happens. The intranet is designed to tell employees what the management wants, rather than to provide useful information for the employees themselves. As a result, no one uses it.

As an intranet is built for everyone in the company, it must be owned by all employees, not just a person or a team. What I want to emphasize here is the importance of the employee involvement in an intranet project. Why, when and how to get your employee involved? Read it all about what it takes to make a great intranet for your employees.

Get your employees involved from the planning stage

You are the intranet project owner, but not only you but all employees are its users. Therefore, all the people in the company should have their right to be involved in the process of building it. The first strategy is to know what your employees’ needs and their pain points are. This can be easily done by launching an employee survey or any form of communication to collect the feedback at all levels about everyone’s needs and pain points.

In the survey you can also motivate everyone to give their ideas on potential solutions. Those responses can be very useful toward choosing the right features and capabilities for your intranet.

Tip: After collecting all necessary information, it’s recommended to work with an intranet consultant or expert like Involv to understand how to fit everything together in your company intranet.

Make the design look nice and recognized

You will not want to try the food that doesn’t look good. Right? Beside the features, the “look and feel” of the intranet is also very important. There are things like the color, the theme, the way of structuring the content, the navigation, etc having high impact on how fast the users adopt it. My advice is that the design should reflex the company’s external website and brand so that the employees easily get familiar with it. Keep it visually appealing, easy to navigate, easy to use and fun to work with. For more see 6 tips to build an intranet that your employees will love to use.

Tip: By using the ready-to-go intranet solution like Involv you have an idea of how an intranet with a right “look and feel” looks like.

involv customizable intranetConstantly update the roll-out plan

When will it be launched? How can it help them solve the existing problems? What are their roles and who is in the content creator team? Will be there any change? This information should be communicated to all the employees. They are the intranet users, so they should be aware of what’s going on with it. Keep your employees updated on the building process. By doing this, you also make them feel that the intranet is really built for them.

Tip: A fun way to get people excited about the upcoming intranet, to create some buzz before launching the platform is to make competitions or rewards, for example a contest to choose the intranet name. Don’t let the launching day go by without celebrating it. A small party followed by a walk-through session to educate employees further about the platform is a good way to launch the intranet.

Provide the customized training program

The intranet is built for everyone in the company. To help people get the most out of it, one generic training session is not enough. There are different types of employees, different levels of comfort and skill with digital tools. Some people might take it like a duck to water; others might find the Intranet just as annoying as Facebook. It is important to customize training for different groups of employees, based on job type, skill level.

Keep it always fresh and updated

How to make the employees use the intranet on a daily basis? To make it an everyday need, it requires a fair amount of effort to constantly update new and engaging content. Don’t just launch the intranet and sleep on it. What your company intranet needs after launching is an internal communication plan to drive interesting content and to engage with employees.

Tip: Identify one person in each department or any employee who show the extra interest in the intranet and bring them into the intranet administrator team. You can train them to become intranet ambassadors who help to drive engaging contents, to make user adoption faster. To put it in another way, they are the links to the end users. As they naturally share their enthusiasm, the employees around them will automatically be affected to use the platform even more.

Besides it is essential to continue to get feedback from the employees and make changes or adjustments when necessary. By doing this, you show your employees that they have a voice in this system and are ultimately in charge.

Measure periodically the success of the intranet

The life of your intranet also depends on its ROI. In order to update the new features and capacities for the intranet you will need concrete numbers to show the management team its effectiveness. To do this you must have a list of your intranet KPIs which should be informed and approved by the management team in the planning stage. They can be the number of active users, the number of visits per month, per day, the engagement rate, etc. For more see 6 ways to measure the success of your intranet.

Make sure that you can measure these numbers by using either analytics built into your intranet software, or from an external intranet performance analysis tool, such as Google Analytics, which can be integrated into your system. Once having data backup, you will know which improvements need to be made and measure the success of your intranet.

Involv is launching the intranet analytics dashboard feature soon, stay tuned.

Conclusion:

An intranet, if you make it successful, will be able to move the internal communication and collaboration to the next level, otherwise it could turn the employee experience even worse. My final advice is DO NOT keep it on your own because to creat a great intranet is a team effort.

Credit: Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

Tim

Tim Bogemans

Tim is Collaboration Expert at Involv/Cognit. He builds leading solutions to help people collaborate easier, faster and happier. Connect on LinkedIn.

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