Who does your intranet serve?
Your people of course, but what is the goal of your intranet, when will you know if it is successful?
Take a seat as we cover the common goals of having an intranet.
Who is your intranet owner?
The purpose of your intranet will naturally relate to the goals of the person who owns it, this tends to be one of the following:
- CEO: Driving and sharing the organisation’s goals
- COO: Creating a hub for innovation and business process management
- Internal Communications or HR team members: Creating a trusted source of organisational information
- IT: Providing a stable and accessible platform to enable departments to publish their information
In our experience, the most successful intranets are when all the above come together under a sponsor from a senior level. This creates a platform that works for everyone with engaging content, drives business processes and provides the go-to place for the single version of the truth on organisational information such as policies and procedures.
We’ve expanded on the 6 key purposes and what that means practically. Sharing your purpose both inside the project team and across the organisation helps:
- Keep your intranet project focused
- Helps visitors understand how the intranet can serve them
- Drives the longer-term success beyond the noise of the launch
1: Improve leadership to employee communications
You rely on email and word-of-mouth to understand the direction of the organisation and often this information is one way with no feedback loop.
Your intranet offers a media-rich trusted publishing platform which allows your employees to:
- Have visibility on the future vision of the organisation
- Understand the role they can play to help achieve that vision
- Seek clarity through questioning
To make this successful you need to plan an ongoing stream of news, move away from company-wide emails, and ensure the information from in-person events, such as town hall events, is replicated on your intranet.
2: Improve department level communications
Geographic splits of teams and the natural corporate structure of separate departments can make it difficult for groups to work together, access knowledge and builds barriers to the organisation reaching its goals.
Experience shows that most departments, or teams, are keen to have an intranet presence, or “Shop Window” as we call it – but then they struggle to understand what kind of information they should publish.
To answer this stumbling block, we ask these three questions:
- What is the best way for other teams to engage with you?
- What questions do you most frequently get asked?
- Which are the primary assets that you send out / publish?
By creating relevant content and ensuring that is easily found, you will drive the right outcomes.
3: Provide a trusted single source of the truth
Emailing the owner of a policy or marketing asset is often the easiest way to ensure you have the information in front of you, but you are reliant on the owner being available and not making good use of their time.
A good intranet should give users the confidence that the information published is correct, and that there is no need to go back to the author to validate that “is the current version?”
Key considerations on how this best works in practice:
- Start with common company-wide information such as HR Policies
- Provide a feedback loop for when information is seen to be incorrect or out of date
- Design an information architecture that works both for the content authors and the end-users
4: Drive collaboration
The lines between intranet (publishing) and collaboration (creation) continue to blur. A great example of this is the on-going management of company policies. The creation, review, approval and publishing of policies can occur in the same environment – avoiding word documents managed on a file-share and subsequently being uploaded as a PDF into the intranet – this new approach gives you full version control, workflow approval and a single version of the policy.
In approaching this goal, consider your information architecture and how it can support modern document management. This, for us, covers the full document life-cycle from creation to publishing.
5: Build community & celebrate your culture
Company values often feel like a “one-time event” – a big offsite announcement, posters on the wall – but the energy behind your defined values fades away over time. If they are truly part of your culture, ask what role can intranet play in promoting your values for the longer term?
An intranet can help explain, reinforce and celebrate your values be demonstrated for the longer term.
In approaching this:
- Clearly articulate your values and make them easily accessible via the homepage
- Provide the next level of detail of what your values mean for your people – one organisation’s definition of “open communication” may well be different from another
- Celebrate examples of values being shown though news articles
- Allow staff to nominate their colleagues for demonstrating values – go further and award prizes
6: Share & develop ideas
Many organisations are shifting from top-down management and embracing a culture where everyone can contribute, crowdsourcing ideas through an intranet allows ideas to be shared, expanded upon and feedback on.
- Use an ideas forum to make it easy to capture, categorise and converse
- Ensure senior leadership sponsorship
- Create awareness through celebrating the ideas that made it and encouraging feedback
We've developed intranets for over 15 years
whatever your challenge - we'd like to hear it.