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The Ultimate Employee Intranet Engagement Strategy

Posted by Sasha Tchulkova on Aug 7, 2017 11:12:59 AM

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One of the most common problems with a corporate employee intranet (re)design is the backlash received from users after the intranet has been implemented. People don’t like change unless they understand the reason for it and how it can benefit them.

A lack of understanding can cause frustration with the intranet adoption process that can prevent users from becoming fully engaged in their employee intranet portal. Low intranet engagement can detrimentally impact an organization's shared knowledge, leading to losses in efficiency, time, money, and more. Moreover, a corporate intranet is meant to foster knowledge sharing, so low user engagement will undermine employee productivity and collaboration. If the purpose of the project is undermined, then it can create distrust and discourage maintenance for the employees who need the intranet the most.

Fortunately, with a proper roll-out strategy, getting your employees to take advantage of your fancy new intranet is no problem.

There are three primary ways an organization can mitigate the risk of low employee intranet engagement, and convey how an intranet benefits their employees day-today:

  1. Managing user expectations and constraints
  2. Keeping the end user in mind throughout the entire implementation process
  3. Requiring the inclusion of key intranet features applicable across industries

If you’re interested in learning how our digital workplace experts can improve your intranet engagement strategy, contact us today

Manage User Expectations: Recognize Your Constraints

Managing your users' expectations is often the best way to deal with intranet adoption issues. This begins during the implementation and design stages, and continues through the deployment process. If an anticipated feature or core process will no longer be available, or perform the way it’s expected, the change and the reasoning behind it needs to be communicated effectively.

When brainstorming ideas for communicating, file-sharing, and process automation, it’s imperative that all parties involved have a clear understanding of the constraints involved with each suggestion. Identifying constraints will help both your team and your solutions provider prioritize the final list of capabilities and features to be ultimately implemented.

Communicating expectations and constraints with end-users is crucial. They’ll undoubtedly have their own assumptions of what their new employee intranet portal will be capable of and how it will affect their day-to-day. Disparities between what’s anticipated and what’s delivered can result in unforeseen difficulties during an intranet rollout, like low morale and low intranet engagement.  Low engagement can lead to employees falling back into inefficient habits. All of this can be fixed through communication and setting expectations.

Looking to improve your existing employee intranet with improved workplace features? Schedule a consultation online, or give us a call at (240) 406-9960.

Keep the End User in Mind: Focus on Functionality

When developing a new corporate employee intranet, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of new discoveries, potential opportunities and ideas for process innovation, while not fully realizing how these ideas will ultimately translate into the end-user experience. If issues surrounding user experience aren’t addressed early on, changing functionalities after implementation can become time consuming and expensive. Two ways to catch these types of problems before your corporate intranet is deployed are through testing and prototyping and extensive trainings.

Testing & Prototyping

The backbone behind a successful employee intranet portal is a strong user experience (UX). Testing and prototyping are great ways to understand UX and predict intranet engagement, showcase different intranet benefits and features, and identify and fix potential problems based off user feedback. A prototype mimics interaction and process design, simulating the actual experience the user will have. If you can, test multiple prototypes at various stages, iterate and improve.       

Training

When structuring trainings, remember that not all users will have the same level of familiarity with the intranet interface. When possible, one-on-one trainings are best, but there are ways to tailor trainings to suit individual needs on a large scale. Segment your users by proficiencies (beginner, intermediate, advanced) with different curriculums and split trainings up into small groups.

Understand Your Employees’ Needs: Must Have Intranet Benefits 

In short, the purpose of an intranet is to allow employees to do their job more efficiently. At the end of the day, if your employee intranet portal doesn’t actually help its users, it’s pointless. Again, keeping end-users in mind, your solution must include the following intranet benefits:

A Search Engine That Works

Knowledge sharing is impossible without an intranet search engine. A good search engine allows users to discover information, even when they’re not sure where that information is stored. The search engine should accommodate both browsers and active searchers. Users should be able to discover, save and share content as they peruse through the intranet and active searchers should be able to see displayed results similar to what they’re used to seeing in Google or Bing.

Clearly Defined Documents & Directories

Many employees complain about the difficulties they encounter when trying to find coworkers contact information as well as essential documentation and forms within their employee intranet.

Directories

The absence of a defined directory results  in missed collaboration and knowledge sharing opportunities. Employees should be able to leverage the skills of one another to quickly troubleshoot and problem solve.    

Documents

Being able to quickly access administrative forms and documents can save hours of valuable time for employees and alleviate frustration. Having an centralized, organized place to house important PDF’s and other documentation is essential in a successful intranet.

Consistency in Branding & Company Culture

Both new hires and existing employees turn to the company intranet to learn about the culture, mission and  values. Your intranet should be a direct reflection of your brand. Consistent design and messaging is important to engagement and should be evident in all areas of the intranet as you navigate through.

Mobile Usability & Social Collaboration

If your intranet isn’t optimized for mobile usability, it will soon be out of date. Employees need anywhere, anytime access to tools, documents, updates and services. They also need to be able to seamlessly communicate and share with each other without having to resort to using email. Users should be able to create and share their own content, find and collaborate with the content of others and discover and discuss new tools and ideas -- in the office, or on the go.

Don’t let a corporate intranet (re)design be a waste of time and money. Communicate clearly with everyone involved in the deployment process, encourage and execute on feedback, and always keep the end-user in mind, because that’s who the employee intranet is ultimately for.

Final Thought

A corporate intranet is a great thing, but it’s vital to keep employees engaged with it. By managing expectations from the start, understanding intranet constraints, and including key benefits in the design, you can create an intuitive and collaborative place for users to get their work done quicker and easier.   

Looking for a turnkey intranet for Microsoft Office 365? Check out our OneWindow digital workplace. Request a Demo online, or give us a call at (240) 406-9960.

Topics: Digital Workplace Trends, Corporate Intranet Tips, Intranet, Employee Engagement, Collaboration