How to Make Your Company Intranet Sing

19 June 2020 | Faye Waghorn

Increase Employee Engagement With These Content Ideas

Most of us are familiar with the term ‘build it, and they will come’ but is this truly the case when it comes to company intranets? Not if the content is dull, overwhelming or static.

Employees will only bother to use your intranet if it’s useful and relevant to them. And the best intranets – like the best communicators – aren’t stuck on transmit. They’re a space where your people can have a voice.

If your ambition is to make your intranet a vital, vibrant hub – a place your users enjoy going, read on for ideas and inspiration.

Update Your Content Regularly

If your intranet is news and comms based, update it frequently. Foster a network of reliable and enthusiastic contributors and build a content calendar. A shortlist of suggested topics will come in handy during a dry spell.

To keep your intranet fresh and relevant, consider:

• A weekly (or fortnightly, if it’s more manageable) five-minute video from your MD or CEO.
• News and updates from department heads – post them individually or roll them up in a newsletter.
• ‘How We Are Doing’ metrics – share statistics on your organisation’s health, such as customer satisfaction, sales targets and financial performance.
• Introduce new starters – you might want to thank leavers too.
• A roundup from your marketing team – newly published blogs, upcoming webinars and the like.
• Your canteen’s menu for the week.
• Birthdays, work anniversaries, transfers and promotions.
• Internal job opportunities

And remember the KISS principle: keep it simple, stupid. No one wants to wade through walls of text, acronyms (unless you’re certain everyone knows them) or read things twice to make sense of them. Keep sentences to 20-25 words maximum and break things up with explanatory graphics or engaging imagery.

And here’s a bonus tip: avoid over-configuring non-content areas, moving links or changing well-understood pathways to content. You will frustrate your user-base, and the effect will be the reverse of what you intended.

Ask For Feedback

Solicit people’s views; approach both positive and negative sources and ask for their suggestions. Micro-improvements based on feedback are incredibly positive and will add value to your intranet. And try not to get too discouraged by the naysayers; they can alert you to valuable and necessary changes.

Feedback doesn’t have to be formal or onerous; make a few calls or walk the floor. Minor grumbles or suggestions that your users might view as trivial are unlikely to be emailed or mentioned in surveys.

Praise and Recognition

Create a virtual thank you board, where employees can show their gratitude for a colleague. Recognise and celebrate the champions in your organisation with a weekly or monthly fanfare and build a gallery of winners and runners up.

If you’re using the praise functionality on Microsoft Yammer or Teams, then consider publishing a roundup on your intranet, which could include impactful suggestions or assistance.

Competitions

This kind of functionality can draw criticism from senior managers, who see it as silly or time-wasting. But we’ve worked with several organisations that are driving high traffic to their intranets this way. And a great way of directing traffic around your intranet is to add links to your most visited content.

There’s always the perennial quiz, but after weeks in lockdown, this might be wearing thin. We like 37 alternative ideas for quiz rounds. And they needn’t be time-consuming; at Christmas time we have a simple daily advent quiz.

Run beauty contests and ask people to post photos of their pet, home-grown flowers and veg, or baking. Take votes for the most impressive entry and share the winning picture in your company newsletter.

And to recall Bruce Forsyth from the eighties game show Play Your Cards Right, points make prizes! Add spice with a frivolous or useful gift, and get people looking forward to what might be next. A pair of quality walking socks, an adult colouring book and good pencils, a coffee mug warmer – beats a bland gift voucher!

A Place to Be Heard – and a Safe Space

Establish your intranet as a hub for your employees to voice their opinions and ideas for improvement. Of course, you don’t want to encourage negative feedback about your organisation, but if there is discontent, it’s better you know about it.

If someone has a beef, enable them to post it on a blackboard visible only to your leadership team. Include an anonymous option; research shows that 75% of people are more likely to speak up when their anonymity is assured.

A word of caution though; if people think their feedback is going into a black hole, sooner or later they will stop bothering to give it. Close the loop with ‘You said – we did’ messaging. And if you can’t do something, that’s fine; just say why. You can’t always be popular, but you can always be honest.

Industry Insights and Trends

Help your people stay informed of trends in your industry by putting quality resources at their fingertips in your intranet. Here are some sources to start you off, then you can add useful sector-specific links too.
Gartner
Statista
Business Insider
HubSpot
Harvard Business Review
Visual Capitalist

Social Area

A social area on your intranet can help break down departmental siloes and build a sense of community. Here are two suggestions to get your intranet singing:

• Book and Movie Club
Get people posting about their last Netflix binge or favourite author and generate some conversation!

• Talent Club
Everyone has a hidden talent, from growing veg and baking bread, to photography and carpentry. Perhaps you have some brave souls who would be willing to write a blog with their tops tips or share pictures?

Personalised Content

When it comes to intranets, one-size doesn’t necessarily resonate with all. Tailor your content to match employee demographics or job roles. In this on-demand webinar – The Intranet: Your Crisis Management Tool, our Products Director, David Bowman, shows how straightforward it is to manage this with Fresh:

 

 

 

You might also like this blog: Employee Engagement and the Role of the Intranet in the COVID Crisis and Beyond.

Ideas Hub

Front line employees are a rich seam of information; almost everyone has one idea; perhaps it will delight your customers or iron out an inefficiency.

Give them a place for this in your intranet and offer incentives. Your CEO could announce the best ones in their company update or share them in a newsletter. And to boost engagement, you could run a poll for employees to vote for their favourites.

Benefits Section

There’s nothing quite like the word ‘benefit’ to capture attention. Do you offer birthday leave, or extra holidays for time served? What about a cycle to work scheme or health insurance? Increase traffic to your intranet by advertising the useful stuff.

If you have an existing HR platform which already makes this information available, add deep links to the relevant sections from your intranet, and provide additional context or contact information. At-a-glance, top-level information with related links will be especially useful for new starters.

Learning Zone

Share information on courses or grants, or educational organisations you’re affiliated with. Record your in-house workshops or webinars so that new-starts can watch them on demand and house any training guides you’ve produced.

Include links to world-renowned resources, such as TEDEd and LinkedIn Learning.

Wellbeing Zone

Where can your people go for help and support? Consider a network of volunteers, who can be reached via your intranet for a friendly, off-the-record chat; anonymised if necessary.

List some sources of advice and get your people to contribute ideas, such as books they’ve read, or favourite Ted Talks.

Gamification

You could set micro goals and reward achievements with badges or certificates. Display the results on a leaders’ board in your intranet.

Where to From Here?

We hope you’ve found this blog useful, and if it’s sparked other ideas, do let us know in the comments section! And don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed; Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor will your intranet be. It’s an iterative process, so start now and keep building.

Set yourself realistic targets, and if a weekly update is too much, then fortnightly or even monthly is fine. But do aim for some rhythm and routine, so your employees know when to expect updates – and try not to let them down.

Throughout June, we’re helping organisations kickstart their ‘back to work’ employee engagement with free readiness workshops. Learn more and book your place here: Digital Workspace Workshop. You can also book a demo of our Fresh Intranet here.

Thanks for reading; we’re here when you need us and would be delighted to talk.

 

Christine Ellis

Content Manager, IT Lab Group

Christine joined the IT Lab marketing team in 2017, following the acquisition of cybersecurity specialists Perspective Risk. Her focus is on delivering content that meets the needs of a diverse client base, and that demonstrates the group’s expanding portfolio of solutions and services. Quality and the customer are at the heart of everything she does.

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