Summary: Meet VERN, Veridian Credit Union’s intranet persona. Learn how they came up with the name, as well as best practices for creating your own.
We often suggest that our customers give their intranet a name and persona to improve employee engagement and user adoption. Choosing a name that resonates with employees and lets them know what type of resources they can find on the intranet is the most effective way to improve overall adoption. That’s why I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk to our customer, Veridian Credit Union, about their intranet persona, VERN.
VERN, standing for Veridian Employee Resource Network, is the perfect example of an intranet persona and name. I loved the concept so much that I wanted to share it with rest of our readers! I had the opportunity to talk to Sarah Mueller, Digital Strategist at Veridian Credit Union, and the brains behind VERN’s namesake, to dig deeper into how VERN was created.
Veridian Credit Union is a fairly new customer, joining the Intranet Connections family in January of this year, with Mueller heavily involved in the intranet naming process. In doing research on intranet best practices, she came across several resources that suggested selecting a clever name and persona for an intranet to ensure it is highly adopted by users. That is when she and a colleague began brainstorming what to call their new intranet.
Mueller began with a list of requirements. The intranet persona had to be fun, include the name “Veridian” and not be the name of a current employee. To do so, she and a colleague jotted down key words that described the intranet, and what they wanted the intranet to portray. Once they compiled a list, they began to put the words together to form an acronym – thus VERN, Veridian Employee Resource Network, was born. They then presented it to some other team members who loved the name, and instantly VERN stuck.
“Being a financial organization, we are quite reserved, so we wanted to come up with something that would be fun, but still simple and professional. VERN is just that and it’s been a great boost for employee morale.” – Sarah Mueller
See below for an example of what VERN looks like:
Initially, the Veridian Credit Union team wanted an intranet that would act as the central hub of information and resources for employees. They also wanted to move employee communications onto the intranet to significantly reduce the number of all staff emails.
To achieve this, Mueller and the Veridian Credit Union Team made all of their documents exclusively available on the intranet, and included a Company News application on the VERN home page so all employees would be updated as soon as they logged on. Anything that was previously sent via email, such as a policy change or company event information, had a new home on the Company News app (updated daily). In addition, employees began to use Discussion Forums and Wall Posts as a means of communication, collaboration and engagement between all staff.
Mueller’s vision when coming up with the VERN concept was that employees would automatically know the intranet was an avenue for them to find resources and connect with each other, hence the words “employee”, “resource” and “network” in the VERN acronym, which were all carefully selected to have meaning.
Since implementing VERN, Mueller says intranet adoption and engagement have skyrocketed. Out of the 600 employees at Veridian Credit Union, she estimates nearly all of them are logging on to the intranet on a daily basis. Not only are they logging on to update themselves on the latest news, or locate resources, they are logging on to see what VERN does next.
“Creating an intranet persona has definitely improved intranet adoption. Staff login to see what funny joke VERN is telling that day, or to see what he is wearing. VERN is actually known for his bowties, so he frequently posts things about bowties. It’s really fun!” – Sarah Mueller
The Veridian Credit Union graphic designer, responsible for bringing VERN to life, often changes VERN’s outfits based on the season. For Halloween, he wore a costume, and with Thanksgiving just around the corner, VERN is sporting a pilgrim hat. Simple updates like this create buzz around the credit union, and keep employees signing on to see what VERN is up to. In addition to that, VERN will post silly jokes that match his quirky personality.
Another great example of an intranet persona is Pima Federal Credit Union’s intranet, Dwight – The Company Know-It-All. Learn more about Dwight.
All of the above elements have made VERN a success. Mueller and her team managed to perfectly create an intranet persona that not only resonates with employees, but really brings VERN to life, putting a face to their intranet.
I had so much fun connecting with Sarah to learn about VERN, and I would love to hear your examples of intranet personas! If you have an intranet persona, share it with me by commenting below.