- Leslie Horna
Internal Communications: How to Maximize Your Intranet
One of the greatest challenges for internal communicators is the intranet. Oftentimes, employees don’t use it and communicators spend hours creating and updating content on the site to then market the website to employees. An intranet is a point of connectivity and collaboration for employees. When organizations lack employee adoption, it impacts client and employee retention as well as revenue growth.
With a significant portion of the U.S. workforce working remotely, it's incredibly important to maintain connection and engagement with your employees. The company intranet is an important tool in achieving your overall goals. Let’s look into why employees don’t use their intranet and how to make improvements that will increase utilization throughout your organization.
Successful companies have strong relationships with their employees, where leaders seek to empower staff to do a great job. These relationships were built out of trust and transparent communication. Employees expect their company’s leadership to keep them informed through frequent, honest communication, especially in times of crisis. Your intranet is a dedicated internal site serving as a centralized hub of information and activity about the organization. Communicators are often responsible for the management of the intranet, providing employees with crisis updates, company fact sheets, messaging, FAQs, policies, forms, photos, and videos.
To first understand why employees don’t use this great resource, assess your intranet’s design. Older site designs served as document storage, sharing, and collaboration; whereas more modern intranets focus on facilitating employee culture, connection, and communication. Since the site's use case has evolved, has the user experience been updated to reflect that?
The intranet needs to be designed from the perspective of the employee user experience. You want to map out the employee’s journey to ensure the company delivers the right information at the precise moment it’s needed. In journey mapping, you will explore the wants, needs, behaviors, and perspectives of your audience; which in this case, is your own workforce. This personalized approach to employee engagement will demonstrate respect and appreciation for your team, which helps the company earn the trust of the employees. Relationships built on trust put you in a better position to influence and lead.
Workers today interact remotely with clients and coworkers, making it essential to have a cloud-based application that is mobile-friendly. What is the experience you want employees to have and how does this compare to the experience that employees desire? A few things we already know:
- Intranet site should load quickly on all devices
- Easy to understand navigation that aligns with the employee’s journey
- Administration of the site must be easy for editors to use
- Departments/project teams may require specific pages or communities; some of which may require restricted-use/protected areas of the site
- The site must be interactive, featuring ways to engage with content, contribute to the site, and connect with other employees
- Factor the integration of other communications and technology tools into the design of your Intranet
Also related to the intranet user experience, is the frequency of content updates on the site. This could be something as simple as a news feed or carousel featuring new information on the site. Factoring your editing schedule into the site’s design will let employees know where to look for the most current information. You are habituating the intranet experience which nudges employees to use the site as part of their daily workday routine. For this reason, some companies make the intranet the browser homepage or install a shortcut to all company-issued computer desktops. Be sure to consider the number of editors who need access to the site and think through how the intranet will serve you during a crisis (such as COVID-19).
The content on the site is a significant driver of employee adoption. Companies want employees to take interest and find value in the content on the intranet; so much so that employees return again and again based on that alone. Surveying employees on the company news they want to hear, professional development opportunities, social or networking events, community occasions, company milestones, among other topics.
Make office social distancing and remote employee engagement fun with a dynamic intranet.