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How to use your intranet to make culture visible

Person walking past an abstract face piece of graffiti.

How to use your intranet to make culture visible

Leaders often talk about culture and values, and if you’re in an internal communications role it’s typically your remit to tell people about the organisation culture. This can be a bit like someone who tells you that they’re really funny, but doesn’t actually crack any jokes. It’s better to show than tell.

Take a look at the second video (7 minutes), produced by Igloo Software, which may need you to register, taken from a recent webinar I led for them. Browse this series of intranet mini-projects, or read on to learn how to repeatedly amplify your workplace culture.

Video: Amplify your workplace culture.
Video: Amplify your workplace culture.

Get your people to tell the story

You might have campaigns like, ‘make a difference’, ‘great place to work’ or ‘we said, we did’. One of the companies that I’ve worked with was Diageo, and they had a campaign with a hashtag #proudofwhatwedo. People would use the social channels within the digital workplace to tag things they’d done that align or reflect the company values. Diageo directly asked to hear about activities and work, and people submitted short stories and updates. It wasn’t about intranet pages and PowerPoint files, it was about real work and genuine insights.

Another one of our clients is a water company, and a big issue with wastewater processing is disposable wet wipes which don’t actually break down in the sewage system.

It’s not the nicest story but they’ve got this great big pile of disposable wipes that they had to scrape out the pipes because they were blocking them. The result was a man-sized heap that they photographed it and put this on their social network. It was enormously popular, with a message behind it was that this is really bad for the environment, and we as an organisation really care about the environment. You can imagine that every employee became an anti-wet wipe evangelist that month.

Amplify the stories

Once these stories are generated at the social level, the job of the intranet manager is to amplify them by, for example, highlighting them on the internet home page. Even better, you could go and interview the originator of the story and flesh it out to turn it into something which is more editorial, a kind of corporate journalism.

An image bank that avoids stock photography

A bonus tip on this front is around photographs – I’ve stolen this from American Electric and Power from years ago. They really wanted to stop using stock photographs, so they held an annual photography competition for staff (with prizes). The brief was simply to submit photos about their work, customers, and colleagues. Naturally, people had to tick a box releasing the photo for corporate use. Not only did they create an image bank of real people, they engaged employees – photographers and snappers alike. Further, intranet news articles and pages properly reflected the workplace and the workforce.

This is the second topic in a five-part series of intranet mini-projects you can repeatably perform to improve your intranet and employee experience.

Sam Marshall

I'm the director of ClearBox Consulting, advising on intranet and digital workplace strategy, SharePoint and online collaboration. I've specialised in intranets and knowledge Management for over 19 years, working with organisations such as Unilever, Astra Zeneca, Akzo Nobel, Sony, Rio Tinto and Diageo. I was responsible for Unilever’s Global Portal Implementation, overseeing the roll-out of over 700 online communities to 90,000 people and consolidating several thousand intranets into a single system.

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