How to Make Your Company Intranet More Effective

How to Make Your Company Intranet More Effective

Social Media v. Your Company Intranet

Do you ever wonder how employees can spend over two hours per day on social media, like the average user, but miss an important update on the company intranet? You’re not alone.

Internal communications professionals are met with the challenge of strategizing, creating and communicating content that employees respond to and interact with to achieve various outcomes – getting a response, gathering RSVPs, completing paperwork and more broadly, building a culture where Everyone Contributes. Through numerous channels and approaches to messaging, there are both critical updates to share with your people as well as content and practices that can enhance your employee experience and company culture.

While an important part of the communications mix before the pandemic began, it may be even more critical now to leverage a resource that many brush off as antiquated – your company intranet. Given some well-deserved attention, your intranet has the potential to inform, engage and connect your employees. It’s also the single source of truth for your organization and the nucleus of a 365 mindset of communication.

So, how do you engage tens, hundreds or even thousands of employees using the intranet? Make it more like Instagram.

A New Perspective Through Intranet Feedback

Build a community that values the company intranet. Start with the basics: Employee feedback and usage metrics. These two areas of focus will help you understand the perspectives and behaviors of your audience so you can take specific action. Get a benchmark for your intranet usage before you implement changes so you can watch it grow (and share that growth with others).

Ask employees – formally or informally – about the intranet:

  • What do they use most often?
  • What have they never clicked?
  • What drives them crazy?
  • What do they wish the intranet had? 

Analyze the metrics:

  • How many users are accessing the intranet each day?
  • Where are they clicking?
  • When are they using it?
  • What’s the path they follow?

Six Ways to Improve Your Intranet Engagement

Make it Mobile. Flexibility wasn’t just a buzzword for 2021; the desire for flexibility lives on in employees across industries. Users want to access apps and information through their mobile devices because it gives them flexibility. We do a lot of waiting – for a Zoom meeting to start, in line at the pharmacy, in the car at school pick-up, but pass that time by using our phones. When your company intranet is accessible through an app or mobile-optimized, it has more potential to be part of the app-hopping and scrolling routine.

Picture This. There’s a reason Instagram’s engagement metrics are so impressive. The purpose of the platform is to share photos. After all, a picture says a thousand words. An entire platform made from pictures says a lot. Use that strategy to your advantage as you both simplify copy and amplify images. What images? Ones that showcase people – smiling people who work at your organization, the people you impact with your work. Watch out for image sizing so you don’t diminish the experience with extra load time.

Dynamic Content. Managing the intranet is a big job. If you want engagement, prioritize intranet updates and management. Google combs public websites regularly, looking for new content to maximize a search user’s experience with the most relevant content. To be relevant, your content must be new and updated often. While Google isn’t combing your intranet for search results like it is your external-facing website, your people seek the same as Google’s algorithms – new, updated content. If it hasn’t changed in the last month, there’s no incentive to access it, or if it is accessed, it leaves the user wanting more. Dynamic content includes weekly blogs, new hire photos, daily tips, a calendar of events and anything you can think of that must change regularly – maybe weekly supplier features, wellness challenges or other internal campaigns.

There is plenty of content that should exist on your intranet all the time – benefits information, quick links, forms, policies, brand guidelines – and may not feel very dynamic, so consider how you can go above and beyond the regular maintenance of merely updating broken links to refresh it and re-communicate its existence. How can you create campaigns around finding or promoting information on the site?

Internal Influencers. You have outgoing, loyal, energetic, hungry employees in all teams, at all levels and of varying tenures. Who are they? No, really – figure our who they are and leverage them as your internal influencers, people you can employ as messengers, ambassadors and role models to others. They have loud voices, friends at work and the potential to inspire your team to be more engaged. Keep them informed, share your expectations and champion them as they proudly use the intranet and talk about it to others.

React! Communication is a two-way dance. When using the intrant, can your employees let you know what they think? Can they ask a question? Can they contribute a blog post or photo or update? The intranet should be a communication tool, but not just one that gives the organization as an entity a voice. It shouldn’t feel robotic, and employees shouldn’t see it as an HR website. Need a place to start? Consider a submission portal or process for guest blog posts, or launch an event-based engagement opportunity like a photo contest or poll/voting experience.

Intranet Everywhere. The intranet must be part of your organization’s “way” of working. Whenever your organization has the attention of an internal audience, you should reference the intranet. How can your all-company meetings, well-being activities, benefits letters and more weave the intranet in? An easy way to start is to use visiting the intranet as a call to action. For example, “Search the calendar on [intranet name] for the next well-being event.” Or “For more information on how to complete open enrollment, click the Open Enrollment banner on [the intranet].”

Simply put, never stop talking about the intranet.