A successful intranet is responsive, flexible and most importantly engaging. Your internal communications platform has a big job – it has to capture the attention of users at every level of a business and keep them engaged.
With many pressures on your employees’ time and activities, how can you encourage engagement and avoid the risk of your internal communications platform being relegated as simply being seen as ‘HR on-line’.
Engagement by design
Remember, adoption and engagement isn’t a given on ‘go-live’ day. Our previous blog talked about the key elements of successful intranet design and adoption and engagement go hand in hand with that.
An intranet built with the user in mind will aid adoption; that means considering where your audience will be accessing it, through which devices, at what point of their day and for which tasks. However, underpinning all of this must be a system which is easy and intuitive to use.
Go live isn’t the end – it’s just the beginning
Good design is only half the solution. Once you’ve encouraged your audience to connect with the intranet you’ve got to keep them there. When an intranet launches it’s often with an accompanying fanfare and curiosity from staff. There will be a buzz of activity and engagement but as the daily work routine beckons sharing and participation may reduce.
On-going engagement has to be earned, developed and nurtured. It’s more than creating content in a vacuum and hoping it will resonate.
Know your users!
Your audience will fall into three camps – occasional and regular contributors and… lurkers. It’s known as the 1% rule. That is that only 1% of users within an online community will be actively contributing, 9% will contribute a little and the other 90% will be observers.
That’s why focusing on activity isn’t always the best measure of success, because while people may not be overtly active they are still very much consuming information and knowledge. More beneficial is to concentrate on understanding your different audiences. Identify what is motivating your active users and what are the barriers to engagement for others – which could be a lack of familiarity with social media formats and forums, time or when and where an employee has access to the intranet.
Look to develop content which will capture and reflect each of these groups – providing a cross over in places and prompts to different levels of activity and contribution. That may be introducing a simple click-button poll as well as inviting comments and contributions.
Constantly add value…
Root your intranet into business operations so that it is the ‘go to’ for important documents, operational processes, business insights, company information and announcements. In short, your intranet should become your business’ primary internal resource. Encourage all sectors of the business to contribute this. Elements can include regular insight or business outlook articles from the SMT and a training hub which is a home for how-to videos and step-by-step guidelines and a portal for any appraisal process.
Your users will appreciate functions which will save them time and streamline processes, so consider developing a library of essential forms, reusable and editable forms and documents in a ‘one stop’ location.
Build communities – not just one way streets.
To promote engagement ensure your internal communication platform reflects the whole company is not just a ‘top down’ channel.
One way to help embed your intranet into the daily routine of your employees and for it be inclusive is for it to be the home of your employee directory. This can be much more than just a list of telephone numbers and email addresses. Many companies are looking to incorporate directories with data rich profiles which provide information about the expertise, current projects and interests.
Interaction is key – your intranet content cannot appear static or stale. This doesn’t have to be labour intensive. Creating spaces for employees to create and shape their own content will help keep your content fresh and relevant. It will also help develop multi-faceted conversations between managers, employees, divisions and departments.
These features also promote and develop collaboration, networking and knowledge sharing. By providing an online meeting place for ideas, suggestions and even product or operational improvements you can bring people together in new ways which overcome geography or operational structures.
And its ‘value-added’ too, because if you use the intranet to report back and celebrate this activity employees can see the real outputs and benefits to active engagement and so are more encouraged to participate themselves.
It’s not all about the day job…
Engaging intranet combines the professional and the social cultures of the work environment. Users will instinctively engage with personalised content which reflect their wider lives and interests. Success stories are also great talking points so dedicate attention and content to people’s achievements. Keeping the rewards and recognition sections of your intranet fresh and updated will also keep your content relevant and interesting.
To improve how you measure the success of your internal comms, call FIG’s digital team on 01457 857111.
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