A successful company intranet system is one that keeps employees engaged and assists them in performing the daily tasks they need to complete their job more efficiently. The problem is, too often intranets do not live up to their potential because employees don’t know how to use it, or don’t have a good reason to. Here are nine tips to help ensure intranet system success in your organization.
An aesthetically pleasing intranet is sure to engage your users and keep them interested in your intranet content. The key to aesthetics is a visually engaging intranet. You should make sure the intranet is aligned with your brand (or has a brand of its own), with your logo in the compact header, consistent color palate and taking advantage of the Storyboard, to visually display the most recent content on your intranet. Involving your employees in feedback on your design, using quick polls or form builder surveys will make them feel as though they are part of the process and increase intranet adoption. Conduct regular polls and small focus groups to identify roadblocks in navigation and usability.
Put the focus on employees by adding employee photos, new hire announcements, and success stories right on the home page. In our blog post, ‘Give your employees the recognition they deserve‘ we provide examples of how IC Thrive and our customers have customized Employee Recognition applications to build an employee recognition-rich culture, and increase intranet adoption. This application also gives employees a reason to log in to the intranet to see who has received a recent “kudos”, or to nominate one of their coworkers for one.
Provide key forms, corporate level documents, and policies only through the intranet. This reduces paperwork, costs, and increases productivity by allowing your employees to retrieve the forms they need easily simply by logging onto the intranet. Our online form builder allows even non-technical administrators to create unique, dynamic forms such as mileage expense forms, vacation request forms, and much more.
Ensure that your Employee Directory is fully populated and easily searchable. Adding photos for everyone in the directory is key to promoting your internal company community and increasing intranet adoption, as users are able to put a face to a name. Our Active Directory (AD) synchronization makes adding and updating content in your directory a breeze. Simply make your changes in AD and they are automatically brought over to your intranet – no need to make changes in two places. Don’t have an Active Directory? No Problem. Use our CSV import tool to pull in employee information using a CSV file which can be added to your scheduled folder and automatically pulled in as well.
When users log on to your intranet, they expect to see the latest and greatest. What use is it to your employees if content from three years ago is featured front and center on your home page?
To optimize your company intranet, always ensure your content is relevant. Make sure all content posted to your intranet is helpful, useful and up-to-date. For example, any time there is a policy change, make sure you update that policy on your intranet and delete any old policies to avoid confusion. However, if you have a mature intranet with a lot of content build-up, doing this manually can seem like a daunting task. To overcome this and save your intranet admin time, you can choose site owners to be responsible for maintaining their designated areas of the site, rather than one person maintaining the entire company intranet.
In addition, there are several tools built-in to your intranet that can help you keep content fresh, such as:
6) Build Intuitive Navigation
One of the biggest pain points intranet providers often hear about is intranet navigation. Users get frustrated with how navigation is set up on their company intranet because they can’t find what they are looking for. An optimal intranet has intuitive navigation, allowing users to find the areas of the site they are looking for in only minutes.
Because your company intranet is a business tool that should assist employees with completing their work tasks, you want to make sure they can easily navigate through the site. A best practice for doing this is making the navigation task-based. For example, labeling one of your top-level navigation bars “Fill out a Form” rather than “Forms”. This makes it clear that if users click that tab, they will be taken to a form they need to fill out. They won’t have to think about what it is they’re doing, it will instead be intuitive.
As intuitive as you make your navigation, there will still be times where your users will rely on enterprise search to locate specific content. A key to optimizing your company intranet is ensuring you have effective enterprise search.
It is important that when your users search for something, the search results are accurate and timely. With the latest Intranet Connections product release, we focused heavily on enterprise search to ensure it achieved this. The release included several new features that maximize productivity, revolutionize enterprise search and ultimately optimize your intranet, such as:
Your intranet home page is the first thing users see when they log on to your company intranet. In order to optimize your intranet, keep the most important, useful and helpful features front and center. For example, share Company News directly on the home page so your users don’t have to dig too deep to find out what’s going on in the company. Also, keep your Storyboard up to date with new images. It’s helpful to include quick links to other important areas of the site so users can get to these areas with just the click of a mouse.
Another way to optimize your home page is by including several interactive widgets and applications. A good example of this is an Event Calendar where you can share company-wide events in one central location.
Perhaps the most important way to optimize your intranet is by keeping the end user in mind throughout your entire intranet implementation. Because your employees will be using it the most, it is imperative to put content on the intranet that is meaningful to them. Include resources and content that better serves employees and helps them get their daily work tasks done. For example, include lots of employee-based information or tasks on your company intranet, such as filling out a time sheet, requesting a vacation or the employee benefits package.
Including these items on your company intranet will ensure that it is optimized for the people who use it. Getting employee feedback every step of the way is the key to making your intranet optimal for the end user. Continuously ask your users what they utilize most on the intranet, as well as pain points. You can do this by setting up an intranet satisfaction survey, or including an online suggestion box on ways to improve the intranet.
Optimizing your company intranet is an ongoing process. The above nine ways will ensure that your intranet is optimized for your users, and it will continue to be used as a business tool. How has your organization optimized its company intranet? I’d love to hear about it, comment below!
Do you have your own intranet system success tips? We would love to hear them! Please leave a comment below.