A new year and a fresh start for your intranet? Twelve clean months stretch out before you and, although each will bring unexpected challenges and changes, having a plan for monthly enhancements can keep you on track.
Here are twelve ideas to take you through 2015.
- Develop a roadmap.
Plan your improvements across the year, and publish the roadmap for all to see. Spacing out enhancements gives employees time to adapt to changes and gives a sense that the intranet is always improving. A roadmap tells people what’s coming so that those impatient for new functionality don’t go off at a tangent with cloud-based services. If you’re on Office 365, keep an eye on Microsoft’s roadmap too.
- Run a photo competition.
Get employees to submit their photographs via the intranet and use the entries throughout the year to show that the intranet is co-created by everyone (hat tip to William Amurgis for this one).
- Coach a prominent team.
One of the best ways to improve adoption is to demonstrate how the intranet can solve a specific problem in your organisation. Find a visible project team and actively help them achieve their goals, all the while promoting the benefits of the intranet. As team members move on to other projects, they’ll spread the awareness and encourage others to use the intranet. For example, if there is a ‘top 100’ leadership event, could you use the intranet to help with the planning and co-ordination? See how Philips used their social platform for an employee values Jam (with a little help from a Michael Bublé lip dub).
- Get better looking images.
Consistent visual styles help people navigate around an intranet and make it look more professional. Make it easy for content contributors and site managers by having an in-house library of icons for common tasks (expenses, travel, meetings etc.) Do the same for thumbnail images for recurring news topics such as jobs, new joiners, IT changes etc. SharePoint users can exploit the asset library feature for this.
- Get better looking colleagues.
One way to get people to add photos to their profiles is to offer a portrait event. Bring in a professional photographer and offer a free makeover, then show people how to add the photo themselves to the employee directory. Odds are they will look better than on their security pass.
- Show the pain.
If you need more funding to improve your intranet, video people attempting common tasks and show it to stakeholders. Sometimes seeing people’s frustration first-hand conveys just why your proposed improvements are so important.
- Set up a scorecard.
Define the ’10 important standards’ necessary to improve consistency. This should be based on the things that really matter in your governance. Sit with site / section owners every 6 months and walk through their section, agreeing red / amber / green on the scorecard. Some companies find it useful to show scores in a league table to their steering groups, others opt for more positive reinforcement such as a ‘quality’ badge.
- Improve findability.
Look at your search logs to see what people frequently type into the search box – identify the top 30 terms. Improving findability need not be about fine-tuning the search engine. Often improvements are a combination of:
- Page structure and headings to help people focus on what is important on the page
- Consistent metadata
- Managing best bets (but be aware of the limitations)
- Revising the navigation for a core reference section such as HR using card sorting or tree tests
- Writing new / better content to meet people’s needs.
- Teach people how to write for the intranet.
Beyond comms professionals, few people receive good guidance on how to present information effectively online (especially considering mobile intranets). Set up pithy webinars / videos covering a single idea, such as use of images or crafting good headlines. Our Creating Intranet Content download can give you some ideas.
- Pilot in the cloud.
There are many collaboration and communication-oriented services out there, such as Trello, Slack and Fingertip. Even if the actual platforms may not suit your IT environment, they can act as a low-cost way to prototype new intranet features and establish business requirements. Just make sure it is a finite pilot with a clear end date, and set out what you want to learn in advance.
- Get your leaders blogging.
Even if you tried it before, have another go with a different executive (or several) and set an expectation that it may take several posts to really take off. See our post on executive blogging – how to get started. Really, it’s not about the blogging; it’s about the message, it’s about the desire to engage with employees.
- Crowd source employee suggestions specifically about the intranet.
What do people want fixed? You don’t need any specific tool – a social network or discussion board will do, though voting features help. Sometimes people assume ‘nobody cares’ about the intranet so they stop asking for things. Use the suggestions for your next year’s resolutions.
What do you resolve to achieve with your intranet this year?
Photo credit: ikewinski