What to do after the launch of your intranet – part 2
Launch is not the end of the journey; it’s just the point in time to shift from a project mind-set to a management mind-set. Now that people have their hands on the intranet, you can support adoption by creating and delivering training. Avoid having people view the intranet as merely a news channel by helping teams adopt the intranet as part of their digital workplace – a place to get things done.
Over three articles, I tackle four streams of activity:
There could be an assumption that if you’ve designed your intranet to be easy to use, then everyone will just get on with things. After all, nobody trains people to use Facebook or Google Docs, do they? Actually, they do. Lots of consultants make a living from training businesses in how to use Facebook better, and Google offer videos and guides for many of their supposedly ‘easy to use’ services.
You can’t train people in how to ‘use the intranet’ in general, instead, you’ll want to offer training in how to get specific things done. People have different needs and different priorities, so an overall training course won’t work, but a suite of courses will let people pick what’s relevant to them.
Several courses should be designed for concurrent launch with your revamped intranet, but further courses should be developed after launch, to meet evolving needs and to complement the intranet improvements you roll-out.
When designing training courses, consider the topic and the delivery medium, and try to match people’s learning preferences. Talk to your L&D colleagues at every step.
Training formats / mediums:
- Video screencast recordings, with our without voiceover
- ‘How to’ guides – intranet pages with guiding text and plenty of screenshots
- Live webinars, sharing your screen as you go though tasks and take questions
- Animated videos – half presentation, half animated screencasts
- News articles to promote new features and ‘how to’ guides
- One-on-one virtual mentoring, via Lync of Skype (screen sharing and chat, etc.)
- Emails to targeted groups, such as content owners, intranet champions, and line managers
- One-to-one mentoring
- Attending team meetings to answer questions and showcase a new feature
- Regular classroom training, co-ordinated through L&D
- Breakfast or lunch sessions, for questions or discussion around a specific topic
- Train the trainer sessions, to up-skill intranet champions across the org.
Try to avoid publishing PowerPoint or Word files, as people will most likely download them – which risks duplication. Your training files should all be online (rather than downloadable), so you can update them easily without worrying about whether people have the old versions.
Creating and delivering training materials is considerable work, so choose the most appropriate topics and formats. As people learn in different ways, and need guidance at different points when using the intranet, offer training modules in a variety of formats. For example, you might explain how to make use of workflows during classroom training and mentoring, as well as in a concise guide (text and screenshots). Such ‘how to’ guides should be linked to from intranet pages that offer workflows – helping people at the point of need.
Videos / screencasts that show how to get specific things done on the intranet could be very useful for people who like to learn by themselves, and could also be a great resource for new starters.
Work with the IT helpdesk
Some people will think of the intranet as ‘your thing’ and call you when it doesn’t do what they expect; other people will think of the intranet as an IT system, and call the IT helpdesk. In the first case, be sure to have the right guidance online to direct people to, and in the second case, work directly with the IT helpdesk advisers to brief them on the new features and ways of working. Your intranet governance may clearly delineate your responsibilities and IT’s, but people will not think about the governance when they come up against a problem.
Ideally, ask the IT helpdesk for a monthly list of intranet concerns people contact them about. The list will help you create and improve your training and guidance topics, which in turn should reduce helpdesk calls. Keep the helpdesk advisors abreast of all new training resources.
Adoption – moving from awareness to action
I’ll leave you with two thoughts around influencing people. You need to take people up the comms escalator – ‘Awareness – Understanding – Support – Involvement – Commitment’ and you need to sell the features as personal benefits and cause action – ‘Awareness – Interest – Desire – Action’.
Or if you prefer, you need to ‘change peoples feelings, thoughts, capabilities, and what is available to them’.
An exciting launch will only raise awareness; for lasting change you’ll need a concerted effort over time to embed the intranet as the ‘place to get things done’.