What it takes to make a great intranet

I still remember the day 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 do our work better. We did try the tool, but soon felt we were already using tools with similar features. Those existing tools felt more comfortable as we were used to them. We felt more productive not spending time on discovering the new tool so we stopped using it. When I left the company, the new marketing tool was just another paid tool that was gathering dust on the shelf.

When it comes to the intranet, a 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 the employees, not just one person or a team. What I want to emphasize here is the importance of employee involvement in an intranet project. Why, when and how to get your employee involved? Read 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 the right to be involved in the process of building it. The first step is to know what your employees’ needs and 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 this survey you can also motivate people to share their ideas on potential solutions. Those responses can be very useful when selecting the right features and capabilities for your intranet.

Tip: After collecting all the 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 food that doesn’t look good. Right? Beside the features, the “look and feel” of the intranet is also very important. Things like the color, theme, the way of structuring content, navigation etc have a big impact on how fast users adopt the intranet. My advice is that the design should reflect the company’s external website and brand so employees easily get familiar with it. Keep it visually appealing, easy to navigate, easy to use and fun to work with. For more tips, read 6 tips to build an intranet that your employees will love to use.

Tip: The Involv ready-to-go intranet is built on the intranet best-practices and makes it easy to create the right “look and feel” thanks to the built-in templates and drag & drop editor.

involv customizable intranetConstantly update the roll-out plan

When will the intranet be launched? How will it solve some of the problems employees face today? Who is in the content creator team and what is their role? Are there new developments? This information should be communicated to all employees. Keep your employees updated on the building process. By doing this, you make them feel that the intranet is really built for them.

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

Provide a customized training program

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


Planning your intranet project

Planning a new intranet project? What steps to take to build an effective intranet? Download our free whitepaper.

Always keep it fresh and up-to-date

How can you make sure employees use the intranet on a daily basis? It requires a fair amount of effort to constantly update the intranet with 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 create interesting content and drive employee engagement.

Tip: Identify one person in each department (or any employee who show an extra interest in the intranet) and bring them into the intranet administrator team. You can train them to become intranet ambassadors who help create engaging content and speed up user adoption. To put it in another way, they are the link to the end users. As they naturally share their enthusiasm, the employees around them will automatically be encouraged to use the platform even more.

It is also essential to continually get feedback from your employees and make changes or adjustments when necessary. By doing this, you show your employees that they have a voice in this system and share the responsibility for a thriving workplace.

Periodically measure the success of the intranet

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

Make sure you can measure these numbers by using either analytics features built into your intranet software, or an external intranet performance analysis tool such as Google Analytics. Thanks to this data you will be able to measure the success of your intranet and know which improvements can be made.

Tip: Involv has some interesting intranet analytics dashboards, make sure to check them out during your free demo.


An intranet is a great tool to move your internal communication and collaboration to the next level. But make sure you start with a well-thought through plan. Creating a great intranet is a team effort so involve your team members from the start. If not, your intranet project might face a silent death just like the marketing tool that my ex-boss launched.

Credit: Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash


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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